Thu, 23 Oct 14 19:57:20 -0500
I have a 13 1/2 year old Rat Terrier who has had a heart murmur that was discovered at about 2 years old. At that time, her murmur was a grade 2 (some vets said 3). She stayed at 3 most of her life, until the past year the murmur has progressed to a 4 or "almost a 5" as one vet said. None of our vets ever prescribed anything for her, but often told us we should bring her to a cardiologist for a full workup....which we could not afford. She has no symptoms - she is not as active as she was years ago...but I always attributed it to her age (nearly 14 is no spring chicken! ), but she still loves to run through grassy fields and play "chase." She gets tired quickly, but rarely does she cough. Over the past 6 months, she has begun to develop a slight cough that affects her whenever she wakes after sleeping for an hour or more. The cough only lasts about 10 seconds or so, only two or three episodes where it seemed she was gagging and couldn't catch her breath. I took her to a new vet last night (very young and very inexperienced) who was extremely concerned with the sound of her heart and wanted to do xrays. The xrays show an extremely enlarged heart (touching the sternum) and some pressure on the trachea, and some fluid in the lungs. He put her on the lowest doses of Lasix, Vetmedin and Enalapril, but that night when I gave her the very first dose of the three, she became extremely lethargic, dizzy, could not walk and seemed to have pain when her chest touched anything. I thought she was dying, but after about 8 hours, the meds began wearing off and she began acting normally. I didn't give her the next dose, and I am seeing another vet tomorrow for a second opinion. Tonight I gave her the Lasix and Vetmedin, but not the Enalapril, as I feel it lowered her blood pressure into a dangerously low level last night.
I am curious to know if I can add supplements for her, or is it simply too late. I know her age is working against her, but she is so incredibly healthy otherwise...if I had never been told of the murmur or enlarged heart, I would never assume their was a problem. No panting, no rapid breathing...just the minor cough upon waking.
After being through the ringer on conventional kibbles (we've battled allergies over the years) we've finally switch her to a raw diet (most often Stella & Chewy's frozen medallions) in the morning, and either scrambled eggs or cottage cheese mixed with just a few spoons of Taste of the Wild kibble in the evenings (I simply can't afford a full diet of Stella & Chewys). Her only treats are carrots sliced into chips, and the occasional slice of apple. She takes Denamarin (silymarin-milk thistle) to supplement her liver and Glucosamine with MSM for her joints.
Any advice would be most appreciated. I know she can't live forever, but if there is anything I can do to keep her healthy as long as possible, I am sure willing to try it....especially if there is a way to strengthen her heart and reduce it's size.
Wishbone is 19 1/2 pounds and will be 14 years old in January, 2015. I am praying that she makes it to her next birthday -- the vets have sounded so dire that I am afraid I could lose her any day. So hard to believe, as she is so active and healthy.
A million thanks in advance!!