Heart Issues

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Heart Issues

Postby sagehound » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:35 pm

We haven't been by WW for awhile but I know where to find excellent advice. We have missed you all for sure, but full time work and grandchildren have kept us so busy that we have followed Facebook for snatches of information.

So where do I come when I need good information? Whippet World, of course. :)

Flynn is almost 13. A few years ago, after his last dental, he developed a heart murmur, even though the vet was used to being careful with anesthesia and hounds. That wasn't a problem until November when we stayed in a hotel that had used a "natural room freshener" aka organic pesticide to "freshen up" aka kill fleas and ticks that might be in the rooms where pets are allowed to stay. It had a very strong smell and I suspect that it hadn't been mixed at the right concentration or was oversprayed or spilled. (Yes, we have talked with the hotel)

The day after we returned Flynn crashed and has had a premature heartbeat and a very heavy murmur since. A couple of months ago after barking during a walk, he collapsed and returned home dazed and lethargic. Tests showed increasing heart problems and fluid in the lungs and the vet put him on Enalapril, Vetmedin and a cardiac heart support supplement. He improved until we added two doses of Lasix, at which point he lost his appetite and became lethargic again. At that point we removed the Lasix and hoped that the other meds would help the heart enough for the fluid to dissipate

Well, his coughing increased, so we tried the Lasix again, this time just once a day and it has seemed to help. I give it to him at night when he will be sleeping anyway. He has little appetite until midday, and eats about 1/2 to 2/3 of his regular quantity, preferring wet to kibbles. From time to time I add cream cheese and last night doused his kibbles in chicken broth, which he enjoyed. He has lost at least 3-4 pounds and looks bony for him.

When he is resting, I can see his heart pounding and pounding and of course his energy level is down. He does agree to walks in the cooler mornings from 1/4 to 1/2 mile at a time. The weather has been very hot here so we don't try an evening walk.

Our vet is one who will allow the owner to guide the treatment...nothing is too much for a pet and he has even operated on a goldfish at one time. When I ask about a timeline he says it is all relative to the dog. I love our faithful hound but I don't want to have him in pain or with daily distress just to have him around for our benefit.

Thankfully, we have not had heart issues in our family so I know little of heart disease and have been reading up. Any insights into heart disease? His next appointment is Thursday and I know that WW friends have always been of help.

Kathy and Flynn
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby PAWhippets » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:11 pm

Nice to see you here, Kathy! Glad good things have been keeping you busy, but sorry to hear Flynn is struggling. Our first Whippet, Tigger, had some heart issues. We knew he had a murmur for a number of years, but at around age 13 he had some episodes of suddenly collapsing. He also had pretty significant mitral valve disease, as well as Lyme disease, which can have all sorts of effects on the body. We took him to a local University vet hospital and had a full workup done and he was put on Benazepril (which they thought would be better for his kidneys, which were also affected, than Enalapril), and some other medications that I am blanking on at the moment. He was also on thyroid meds as he had been found to have extremely low thyroid values, even by Whippet standards, years earlier. Anyway, all of this was a number of years ago, but he had a year and a half of good-quality life on the meds but then went into kidney failure, at which time our vets told us there was nothing that could be done to help him and that we would have to let him go :cry: I know I hear a lot about older Whippets surviving for quite a long time with heart disease, and I hope others will chime in with information. Hugs to you and Flynn!

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby sagehound » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:53 pm

Thanks, Lois. Now that I am back online, I realize how much I have missed those who are active on the board.

I remember hearing about Tigger. and from what you said, it would be wise to have frequent UA's and blood tests as this progresses. It was sad to say goodbye to that sweet hound.

With Flynn, it seemed that he was so lethargic that we would have only a short time, but today around noon after last night's Lasix wore off, he was hungry and then wanted an ear chew (walking over to the cabinet and looking at the drawer) With this behavior looks like he will be in the land of the living for a bit yet.

Looks like there is a change from day to day, back and forth at this point. At times he looks confused but today knew just what he wanted and spent a few minutes melting in the sun on the grass.

Thank you so much for walking this new road with me. I surely am not requesting actual medical advice, but we all know that medical issues in Whippets can be a bit different than the mainstream dog.

Many thanks!

Kathy and Flynn
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby cathyj » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:50 am

I am going through this also with my soon to be 15 yr old. I know she has had a good long life and have promised her I won't go overboard. She is on the Benazapril and I am wondering if this is why she doesn't seem that interested in food. Best wishes.
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby Stickdogs » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:02 pm

So sorry sweet Flynn is having heart issues.

I've had two that had CHF. Shelbie lived for 6 years with it, Shane just a few months. Each dog is different in how medications are tolerated. Shelbie was on enalapril, furosemide (Lasix), Vetmedin, Pepcid A/D and for a very short time digoxin (this made her very sick). Shane was enalapril, Vetmedin and Pepcid A/D.

Talk with your vet whenever your dog is on medication and loses their appetite. I'm anal retentive in I keep a daily log whenever mine are sick and/or on medication so I can keep track of how they are doing or if I see a trend, good or bad. Just a quick date, time, medications given, mealtime input, output, activity level. It makes it easier to show the vet instead of trying to remember when something started to change.

There is no cure for CHF but there is treatment. Hoping Flynn feels better soon. Keep us posted.

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby sagehound » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:02 pm

An update......
Flynn was on C-Spironolactone not Lasix for a few days (sorry, so spacey here) and that is what I had discontinued. He still was listless, wouldn't eat and had diarrhea. I was beginning to think it was time for the "last vet visit". I made an appointment for Thursday.

Our vet suggested a vitamin injection to stimulate the appetite. During those 2 days between the appointments, Flynn had serious diarrhea that I used ProPectalin for as it was easy to administer to the roof of his mouth and has worked before. He continued on Vetmedin, Enalapril and any ForteFlora I could mix with the minimal amount of food he was taking.

I thought that Saturday might be his" last" vet visit and I would change it from an injection of vitamins to an injection of the sad kind. He just didn't seem to be improving and wasn't interested in any of the things that make his life happy. He had stopped losing weight, but was coughing again, indicating fluid in the lungs. So, I put on his special Martingale collar that Auntie Patience had made.....the collar filled with all that Whippet Servant love.... when he first joined our family at age 4 1/2 and prayed for insight if there was anything else that would help.

As it turned out, the vet tech was the one to give the injection and we decided to go ahead as one last try to get him to eat. In addition, I reread all your posts and had realized that Pepcid was one thing we weren't using that you were....and suggested it to the tech. She agreed that it might be a good idea and cleared it with the vet on duty. We brainstormed and also decided to continue the ProPectalin 3x day to get the diarrhea stopped (he wouldn't eat even pumpkin or anything). A flicker of hope emerged...... She also noted that in Flynn's records, she saw "fish oil with high DHA" and suggested that too.

Prayer and Auntie Patience's love-filled collar brought us an answer.....and hope. We are adding these (no fish oil until we get the d stopped though) and watching Flynn perk up enough to eat yesterday.... and even eat twice! No eating yet today, but we took a short slow walk at his favorite park and by slowly ambling toward a tree caused a squirrel rant from up above. Honestly, I think I would have even let him chase one if he wanted to, but it was up above and unavailable.

Thank you for listening as we progress through this time. WW humans and hounds rock!

Kathy and Flynn
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby PAWhippets » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:50 pm

That is wonderful news, Kathy! So glad you have found some things that are helping, and hoping for more good days ahead. Please keep us posted when you can. Holding you and Flynn in our thoughts :romance-grouphug:

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby Stickdogs » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:28 pm

Good boy, Flynn! Keep trying to eat! :pray:

Diarrhea for too long can be stripping to the system. Loosing too much fluid (from the diuretic and from the diarrhea) can make the tummy sour causing loss of appetite. It takes awhile to get the fluids and electrolytes in the body back in balance. Pro Pectalin should help absorb the excess moisture in the gut. Make sure Flynn has all the fresh water he wants.

When mine didn't feel like eating, I fed them cut up, boiled boneless, skinless white chicken breast with warm white rice. Sometimes chicken or lamb baby food. It came to a point that it was better to eat something, anything even though I knew that being heart patients, consuming too much sodium can cause a build up too much fluid but not eating can be worse especially when taking heart medications like Vetmedin, which needed to be taken with food. It's hard.

Here's a pretty good website with CHF in dogs. You may have already seen it but if not:
http://www.2ndchance.info/conghtfaildog.htm

Praying Flynn continues to try. :pray: Keep us posted.

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby sagehound » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:03 am

You all have been so kind. Thank you again, Lois.

Krystal that is exactly what I have been trying to feed him and he turned up his little nose at it. I made another "last" appointment for Thursday the 20th. I made it Wednesday morning and couldn't go in until Thursday.

Well, Wednesday night he was up every hour to go outside It appears that he needed to get rid of a lot of something as the next day he was calmer though the heartbeat was still the same. He ate the rice and chicken I presented him and the Forteflora and the ProPectalin like a good dog. (a little turkey around his pills and they were downed as well.)

Vet appointment was changed to a blood draw and exam and the blood work came out near normal. A week of Metronidazole was prescribed just in case there was a bug of some kind..... and he is progressing nicely. No problem with fluid in the lungs and weight coming back on. Drinking his water regularly and I am not taking him out in the hot (90's and a 100 degree day today) weather.

He definitely is what Auntie Patience would refer to as "A Very Old Dog" as he is more hesitant in his balance and wants to stay near. No zoomies yet, but precious enough without them.

Thank you Krystal for your info as it confirms what is working. There may be some special prayers being answered as well.

Much love to you all and Flynn sends his appreciation, though he wants to know when the kibbles are coming back. I tell him just to be thankful he still gets a cheese stick at night. (smile)

Kathy and Flynn
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby whipgrace6 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:41 pm

Aw, Kathy. I'm sorry to hear about Flynn's heart problems. Alf will be 13 at the end of Oct., and he has really slowed down. Gracie turned 11 last April. I retired 2 years ago, so I have been busy with other things and haven't been on here at all lately. I hope Flynn continues to improve, and you can keep him with you for awhile yet.

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby MarciaInNM » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:10 am

I've got no experience with heart disease, but lots of sympathy for Flynn and for you!
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby cathyj » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:19 am

My Chloe has been on Benazapril since January. We had a trip to the vet last week for the runs and not wanting to eat. She has been doing ok but starting to be a picky eater. The vet put her on Metrodiazanol (spelling?). Also added another medicine for her heart - Vetmedin, a pill to increase her appetite and powder to put on her food. It took a day or so but she is eating much better. Not like I would like but better than before. She is going to be 15 in January and I don't want to keep her going with no quality of life. She has degenerative valve disease. I feel your pain about exactly what to do. When this starts affecting her kidneys, I think that will be it. She is a very good girl and I love her dearly. Wish you the best with your situation.

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Re: Heart Issues

Postby akimbo » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:12 am

My heart goes out to you. My 14 year old boy, Henry, has been on benazapril (?sp) for about 2 years now for a heart murmur. He seems to be doing fine and the vet has said recently that she can barely hear a murmur. We have the Rx filled at a human pharmacy and it's much cheaper that way. Thankfully the vet's office doesn't mind doing that.
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby sagehound » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:01 pm

Thank you Marcia, Cathy and akimbo for your input. I will start another thread with our latest information but I wanted to thank you for commenting and extending your concern about our Flynn

Kathy
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Re: Heart Issues

Postby djrhorn » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:23 pm

I just discovered this forum and am already so appreciative of the many posts I have read from thoughtful whippet owners. My 11yo whippet, Darcy, was just diagnosed with mitral valve disease and I am trying to determine the very best plan for moving forward. Fortunately, the cardiologist said areas of his heart hadn't increased in size enought to necessitate medication at this time, but that we would review every six months. I have noticed in a few responses that some have tried cardiac support supplements and other dietary and holistic measures (particularly, Taurine, L-Carnitine, COQ10, Omega 3, etc.). Has anyone had any success with such supplements. I really appreciate any responses (in advance) and am completely open to advice from owners who have dealt with this issue. I was unaware how many of our precious whippets face heart issues.
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