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Left mitral valve disease

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Ben has a heart murmur - grade 3 going on 4. He doesn't cough and he is full of energy but he does seem to get out of breath easily if he has been chasing the ball - so I curtail those activities a little. Anyway we have just started a trial of Vetmedin/Pimobendan. I'm hoping this will extend his life or improve the quality or both.

The vet doesn't think he needs diuretics at this point. Just wondered if anyone has experience of the condition or the drug thanks.

PS he is around 8 years old.

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My sainted Pete developed a heart murmur later in life - I think he was around 12. He was on low-dose enalapril to lower his blood pressure and lessen the strain on his heart until his death from unrelated causes at 14 1/2. I didn't notice a real change in his activity levels or overall physical condition.

 

Good luck with Ben!

 

Amy

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Thanks

It seems as if some heart murmurs don't develop much and others progress in the blink of an eye.

He's been with me under a year. Initially he was mostly on the leash till I could trust him running free. Even then it took a while for me to realise that he is really good at fetch (even though he can't see things). So it's been difficult to monitor changes in that time frame but now I am keeping note.

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My Missy had mitral valve diseases. She was on enalapril from 9 y/o to 12 y/o when she died of cancer. Ultrasounds showed that the progression of the disease was stabilized after starting the enalapril

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Hi,

I've had two Borders with Mitral valve insufficiency. The first one, Cass, developed a murmur at 10 years of age. I had an ultrasound done and she was put on enalapril. She had ultrasounds done after that (every 6 months, then yearly) and never had any significant change. She died suddenly of a brain issue within a month of her 13th birthday.

I was very upset when my vet heard a murmur on Ziva at 7 years of age. We went to the cardiologist and both the mitral valve and the tricuspid valve have an insufficiency. Since the heart chambers are of normal size, he said no meds at this time. I was upset at her having a murmur so young but the cardiologist said that 7 is the average age for a murmur due to valvular insufficiency. When the chamber size starts to enlarge the first medication that they put them on now is Pimobendan. It is a newer drug and what I find annoying is that since it is newer there isn't a generic form so it is pricey compared to enalapril.

At some point if the heart disease continues to progress then they add enalapril, and later on lasix if there is fluid. Hopefully, it never comes to that. Ziva is due for her recheck in February. If I didn't listen to her heart and hear the murmur (3/6) I'd never know she has a problem.

Her cardiologist recommends taking a resting breathing rate at least monthly. 30 breaths or less per minute is normal.

Good luck with Ben.

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Yes it is expensive here too. Getting it from the vet would cost me around £70 per month - though fortunately you can get it for half that online. I'm a bit worried now as we haven't had an ultrasound done to check the size of the heart. But the vet and I thought there had been some functional deterioration. Plus of course I've read scare stories on the net about possible effects including long term liver damage and the dangers of giving it too soon.. I've seen no difference in him so far. If anything, he is sitting down with his ball earlier. It has been less than a week but I am tempted to chicken out. :(

Good tip about the breathing rate. I'll start monitoring!

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My Sage started to really struggle while working at 7 years old. He was diagnosed with mitral valve disease via an echo done by a cardiologist. He is 11.5 years old now and takes enalapril and Vetmedin. While he is a happy, active pet, he has been retired since he was first diagnosed.

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Thanks folks. I've taken Ben off that med till I get his heart imaged. Also - I might be imagining it but it seemed that when on it, he was a little less lively at home, though walks were no different.

I'm afraid cardiologists are out of my remit however. We have no insurance. I wish dog rescue organisations here would help with that when you take an older dog with pre-existing conditions, but you still even have to pay them a fee. .

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Rescues everywhere operate on razor thin margins and adoption fees rarely cover even basic operational expenses. I know with the rescue I volunteer with, we raise funds to cover even some very costly medical expenses with dogs in our care and we absolutely disclose all known health information to prospective adopters, but once a dog's adopted and is technically owned by the adopter, we're no longer able to help with medical costs. In fact, here in the US, offering financial assistance for privately owned dogs can result is a rescue's losing its not-for-profit status, something the really can't afford to do.

 

Wishing you & Ben the best.

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