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Experience of heart muscle disease - dilated cardiomyopathy

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A Brock

Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:11 am    Post subject: Experience of heart muscle disease - dilated cardiomyopathy Reply with quote

I took my 4-year old welfare boy Stanley to the vets earlier this week as I was concerned that he was slightly lethargic, sometimes has to be coaxed off his bed for walks, his gums were very pale and muzzle quite cold and he generally really wasn't behaving as a 4-year old dally should. To cut a long story short, he was diagnosed with a mild heart murmur and following an ECG/ultrasound we were told yesterday that the vets suspect a disease of the heart muscle - as his heart was seen to be not contracting and expanding as you would expect. He has just started a course of diuretics and is having x-rays next week to look at the size and general shape of the heart. If this confirms their suspicions, there is other medication he can be given to increase the strength of the contractions but even with this, the vet has said his maximum life expectancy is 2 years. I am struggling to accept that we may lose our handsome boy, who we've only has just over a year, so soon and wondered if anyone else had experience of a dog living with this condition? We have also been given the option of referral to a specialist cardiologist who could conduct further tests to measure the width of the heart muscle wall. He is insured and at the moment I'm inclined to do this for a second opinion as I don't want to believe the vet. Can anyone help please? Thank you, Alison
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Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:55 pm    Post subject: cardiomyopathy Reply with quote

Dear Alison,
I have not been on this forum at all during all the years we had our most recent dalmatian , Sol. With previous dogs I went on it a lot but just didn't feel the need with Sol somehow. However, we lost him last week at the youngish age of 8 and I have somehow ended up on it this afternoon and saw your post.
How is Stanley now? I hope he is keeping well and his meds are doing their job. Sadly, we lost Sol because of cardiomyopathy. He was a fit healthy dog used to a lovely (Spoilt of course) life with us. We live in the countryside in Scotland with wonderful walks on our doorstep. That plus a big motorhome bought pretty much purely so that he could come on holidays with us, and three grown up children who are frequently home and adored him meant he led a very cosseted life indeed. The one thing he did have was problems with a dodgy cruciate ligament in his back right leg which put a stop to hill walking about two years ago. In April this year after two lovely days of walking , he started to cough badly one evening as if trying to bring something back up. After a couple of visits to the vet and some antibiotics , our lovely vet who has a specific interest in cardiology suggested a chest x ray as she had seen problems with enlarged hearts in large dogs and said the vet community are starting to see it in dalmatians are many are larger than they used to be. Sadly it showed that his heard was severely enlarged. He was put on vetmedin and frucemide diuretics.He was fine for a month but one night coughed and panted all night. The next day she upped his meds and recommended we see the cardiologist. At that visit, scans, bloods etc were taken and Sol was discovered to have now only 20% of his heart working. Another type of diuretic was added (Modiuretic) to his daily dose and we sadly we were told that at most he might have 18 months. We were devastated. However the meds were fantastic and for the next 6 months you would not have known he had anything wrong. We saw the cardiologist twice more and he was pleased with Sol. We didn't really notice (or I didn't want to see it) but probably Sol was slowing down in the last six weeks or so. However he had a great time away with us in October in the Peak District. Sadly he caught a bronchial infection but the antibiotics seemed to cure it. However the week before last just before his antibiotics finished , he caught a mouth infection somehow. Clearly his immune system was compromised and by now he was on an awful lot of medication. Over three days he just lost interest and focus and wouldn't really eat at all. In the end there was only one thing we could do for him and we all took him on his last journey to the vet last Saturday. He was the best of dogs and we miss him with all our hearts. However, he had 7 months after the cardiologist told us that at his advanced stage of the disease the average is 6 months so we have to comfort ourselves with that. One thing our cardiologist suggest we try was Taurine which you buy in the shop or online from Holland and Barrett. He said there is no clinical evidence but a lot of dogs with this condition have shown that it seems to help keep the heart muscle working. Sol was in great shape and everytime we saw the vet or cardiologist they were very pleased he had no deterioration heart wise and that his pulses were strong and temperature good. It was unlucky that he caught the bronchitis was what they said. It sounds like Stanely's is not as advanced as Sol's was when it manifested so I hope he has many more years of health albeit on medication. It has kind of made me afraid to have another dalmatian although they are the only breed I have ever owned bar one short lived cocker when I was little . All the very best to you and Stanely. Aileen
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