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Dog with Heart Problem - Advice Needed

February 2nd, 2006, 10:03 PM
My 8-year old Golden (I got him at 5 as a rescue) was diagnosed with mitral valve endocardiosis and moderate mitral regurgitation with marked left atrial enlargement 2 years ago. He has been off his meds since March 05 and was doing extremely well. In the last 36 hours, he doesn't want to go out, eat or drink (although will once prodded into it); all he does is lay down and whimper. Eyes are bright but he has that "hang dog" look to him.

I took him to the vet this morning and he turned into a different dog - jumping at the vet, barking, being his extremely normal and high-strung self when at the vet's. He was jumping for cookies from the vet and seemed completely normal - had me totally baffled, since I was convinced he was so ill this morning. Although his heart beat was very irregular (normal for a dog with his condition), the vet did not think it was the problem since his gums were pink and she felt a strong pulse in his back legs. He has no cough and has not been regurgitating anything (common sympton if it was his heart condition). Given his disposition at the vet's, I can understand why she didn't think he was all that ill.

Since his vet visit, he has gone back to his sick ways - not wanting to go out, eat, drink, or get up. I was finally able to get him up tonight and he seemed in great pain in walking less than a foot to me. It looked as though he was walking on tip-toe on his front legs and his back legs were shaking. Since he likes his back legs rubbed, I started to rub them and he turned on me - obviously he is in pain since this was very out of the ordinary for him.

I'll be calling the vet first thing tomorrow but wondered if anyone had any ideas or suggestions. The vet said it was useless to run another battery of x-rays, blood work and ultra-sound tests since we've already done them (at great expense) and we know his problem; all we can do is manage his condition...In fact, she wasn't even sure it was heart-related, but given she pressed and poked him and he didn't seem bothered by any of it, she was thinking it might be a strained or pulled muscle.

She suggested a Bufferin (anti-inflammatory) for the next 3 days in case the adrenaline was masking pain...and then gave a script for Cardizem if there's no change in 3 days.

I can't stand the idea of him being in pain and since I'm now out of work, my finances are limited when it comes to running a ton of tests....If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciate hearing them. I can't understand how this dog could be so energetic (to the point of being obnoxious) at the vet's, and then lie down, not eat, go out, etc., and whimper...

Thanks for any help and sorry the post is so long.


February 3rd, 2006, 11:01 AM
if you haven't seen the vet yet i would make an appointment for her to xray his back to check for arthritis or calcification of the lower spine. as for the heart problem my vet believes you do an xray, ultrasound or cardiogram every 6 months to see if changes occur.

February 5th, 2006, 09:22 PM
if you haven't seen the vet yet i would make an appointment for her to xray his back to check for arthritis or calcification of the lower spine. as for the heart problem my vet believes you do an xray, ultrasound or cardiogram every 6 months to see if changes occur.

I had taken the dog to the vet (see original post) the same day I posted. As for xray, ultrasound or cardiogram every six months, I don't see the reason nor was it suggested by my vet. The dog's heart condition will not improve and I've been told there's nothing that can be done except management.

The day after I posted, Bailey was even worse. After spending all morning on the phone, I finally found a compassionate vet (not mine, who I have been taking my different dogs to for 23 years) who came to the house since I couldn't touch the dog without him turning on me or growling (not his normal behaviour). There was no way I could move a 65 dog on my own when he was in such pain. When the vet showed up, the dog's adrenaline kicked in and he was able to stand. After doing a basic exam, the vet muzzled the dog (at my insistence given his recent reaction to being touched) and checked his hips and back and got a very pained reaction; he then took him back to his practice for xrays.

In addition to his major heart problem, the dog has severe hip dysplasia and about every fifth vertebrae is fused. The vet figured that the dog must have slipped on the ice and hurt his back/hip.

After an injection of a painkiller, followed nightly with oral Medicam, the dog is much better (in fact, keeping him quiet is the tough part). He is now on a series of cartrophen injections and have changed his dog food to Canine j/d.

The absolute worst thing about this whole experience was seeing my dog in such severe pain and not being able to do anything for him. I was desperate to find a vet who would make a house call. Obviously, I'm switching vets, since the vet who came to the house truly had compassion for my dog.

Both my goldens are rescues (Toby at 7 - now 12 years old and Bailey at 5 - now 8), both in good health according to the rescue. Toby starting having epileptic seizures about a month after I adopted him (he also has hip displasia, diagnosed a few years ago), and Bailey has a major heart defect, hip displasia and fused vertebrae...sigh...


February 5th, 2006, 11:09 PM
Such a relief for your poor Bailey(the pain killers). And what a wonderful vet you found!
Good luck with his treatment.

February 5th, 2006, 11:17 PM
Hey catschool, I think it's a sign those dogs crossed your path... maybe you're the one who was able to care for them properly and accept them the way they are... :love: