Babyteddysmom
Hi everyone, I have a 12 year old poodle, Smokey with a heart murmur. I have an appointment for him tomrrow. My original vet was very lax about it all, and now that my other dog Teddy has passed, I'm super concerned. His heart murmur is pretty severe. His appetite and attitude is great, but he does cough a lot especially at night. Has anyone experienced this? I'm just trying to prepare myself for what might come. Thank you. ❤️🐶
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Monty13
Hi Teddysmom, My dog did have a heart murmur and the vet said it was at about a 4. I asked what that meant and she said there is a range from 1-6 so she thought We might want to take Monty to a vet cardiologist. My parents decided not to as long as was comfortable. I hope that's some help to you. I'm really sorry you lost Teddy. Good luck with Smokeys appointment!
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Babyteddysmom
Thank you for the info! It does help... I know surgery is out of the question. I read that heart surgieries and 5-6 hours. That blew my mind. Smokey is 6 pounds.. I don't think his little body could even handle it. Hopefully they have a medication to help with the cough. Xoxox
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Susie_Squillions
I had a cat who was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) in 1988 At that point in time, the diagnosis was grim, but I knew that Bingo wanted to stay with us, so after several weeks of hospitalization, I took him home to care for him. We ended up having five full years of bonus time with him! Surviving that long with the diagnosis was unheard of at the time.

Fast forward to now, when I have another cat with CHF and Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. She was diagnosed in February of 2015. She has been on medication since then and is doing extremely well. 

I work in veterinary medicine (in the administrative side) and we see many patients every week who have heart murmurs. It's usually due to heart valve disease which is not uncommon in dogs and cats. My current cardiac cat was diagnosed just a few months after I had emergency open heart surgery for aortic valve replacement. It's funny, because I have always told people that Gidget is my daughter, and with her diagnosis, I learned that we have the same congenital heart disease. 

Veterinary treatment for heart murmurs and various kinds of heart disease has come a long, long way since 1988. Just remember that it is extremely important to follow your veterinarian's instructions for the doses and times of medications. As a heart patient myself, I can tell you that missing doses can cause the patient (human or animal) to become symptomatic pretty quickly, so always follow the directions the best you can. One missed dose is one thing, but missing them regularly, or missing more than one in a 24 hour period can cause some symptoms to return, causing setbacks in recovery.

These medications will likely be enalapril (bp medication), furosemide (lasix, to rid the body of excess/retained fluid, which is what causes the coughing), and possibly Vetmedin/pimobendan (to help the heart to pump efficiently). Do not stop using any of these meds without your veterinarian's knowledge. They must be refilled and continued. I stress this, because we had a case a few months ago in which a man brought his dog in because of her breathing. He had misunderstood his vet and thought he just had to give the medication until the prescription was finished, so the poor girl hadn't had her medication in a few weeks, and she was not doing well. After some TLC from our medical staff and IV meds in the hospital, she was breathing much better and went home with her medications again. The owner promised to get refills from his regular vet, and he thanked us repeatedly for taking the time to work with him and explain the importance of continuing the medications. It was a close call for that sweet little dog. Did your vet prescribe any of these medications? if not, you need to get that cardiac consult so that you can start Smokey on them ASAP. Coughing is a major symptom, and it is because Smokey is retaining too much fluid and his body is trying to normalize. If he is coughing, he is not as comfortable as he could be. Again, I am speaking from my own position of having had a very rare form of heart attack that was brought on by congenital valve disease alone (no coronary artery disease).

Gidget's heart murmur is a IV of VI (4 of 6). Thanks to her cardiologist, she has handled this like a trooper, and even improved significantly enough to be able to have a much needed surgery last year. I absolutely recommend taking Smokey to the cardiologist if that is what your vet recommended. I know from experience that if Smokey is left without treatment, there will, at some point, be significant suffering from struggling to breathe and congestion and pressure in the chest. I know. I almost died from my condition, so my surgery was done on an emergency basis. My condition is now controlled with just two medications, and I am doing extremely well according to my cardiologist whom I just saw on Monday. He was very impressed with my progress and that gave me peace of mind and confidence.

Dogs and cats with heart disease can often be managed (for the most part) with help from their regular veterinarians. If your vet prescribed medications to manage the condition, remember to continue giving them as prescribed, and to make sure you have enough on hand to last through weekends and holidays when your vet's office might be closed. Diet can help a lot, too. A renal (kidney) diet is usually lower in sodium than other foods, and it's important to get pets to (or close to) their ideal body weight and keep them there. That's when they are happiest and healthiest. 

Good luck! You got this!

P.S. Yes, my open heart surgery was about 6 hours. That's a long time to be on the heart-lung machine with your body temp cooled to 82.4–89.6ºF!
In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
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A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Susie_Squillions

Here's a link to a great article that explains what each drug does, and why they are so important to managing heart disease. And it does it using layman's terminology.

Furosemide, Enalapril, and Pimobendan, Oh My!

 

In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Babyteddysmom
Thank you Susie!!! Couldn't have asked for better information! How many medications is your cat on? I'm hoping they don't prescribe several. I don't want to overload my senior 6 pound dog.
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Susie_Squillions
Gidget only has to take two medications, and she takes them together, so it's super easy. Right now she is on furosemide and enalapril. Cats can't take Vetmedin, so that would most likely be the only one added for a dog. I have to quarter the smallest dose of both tablets for her, so the doses aren't always exactly even, but she does get them daily. It's a daunting thing at first, and it's normal to be petrified, thinking that you can help or harm them, but truthfully, the do really well as long as they get their daily doses.  You can absolutely do this. You will probably panic and call the vet more often than you ever have before, but that's O.K., too. I can tell you that we front desk ladies (and men) understand your concerns, and we'll be gentle with you. :-)
xoxo

In one of the stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. -- The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All tears are healing tears.  They help to wash away our sorrow and allow the first buds of happiness to blossom in our hearts. -- Susie "Squillions"

.T.J.'S RESIDENCY: http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm
.BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY: http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM
.KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY: http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm
.
A fresh start after 947 posts. March 7th, 2011. I've been coming to this wonderful site since April 6, 2004.
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Lillymylove
My dog Lilly had one all her life which was 15.5 years without any problems.
David 
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Babyteddysmom
Hi Lillymylove, do you know what level murmur she had? Did she have a cough?
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Chinadoll
Our dog Nicky was diagnosed with CHF June of last year. He was 16 years old, 15 lbs. The vet put him on Lasix and Vetmedin, his condition improved dramatically over the next month. He was a difficult one to give meds to but I got creative, it was a continual battle to get them in him, but we persevered. He lived for 10 more months, to the age of 17 1/2. We finally had to let him go, but there were other issues at the time. The medicine definitely improved his quality of life, he rested so much easier, would sleep for long periods breathing comfortably. Blessings to you and prayers.
Charlie
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