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Lily Was Diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Discussion in 'Emotional Support' started by LilianaLove, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    So we got some really bad news from the cardiologist today.

    Lily was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. It's almost never seen in this breed or dogs her size, especially at such a young age. They're thinking her episode of severe atrial tachycardia was an early sign. She had mild left ventricle enlargement and mild mitral valve regurgitation, but they thought it was due to a) the stress from everything and b) the inability of the heart to complete contract due to such a high heart rate.

    Here are the notes from the cardiologist:
    - Moderate dilated cardiomyopathy- ruleout idiopathic vs. taurine-responsive
    - Mild to moderate, progressive mitral valve regurgitation as cause of heart murmur
    - Trace, stable tricuspid valve regurgitation
    - Normal left atrial chamber dimensions
    - Progressive, moderate left ventricular chamber dilation
    - Severe decrease in contractility/heart muscle function

    So yea. This was pretty devastating. Her contractility is down 20% from where it was 6 months ago, and is much lower than it should be.

    She's staying on the sotalol and florinef. She's being started on pimobendin and benazepril. As soon as I heard 'pimobendin' my heart just sank. She'll also be starting taurine in a couple weeks and possibly increasing her omega-3 intake.

    This is a really really shitty disease. There are cases of dogs just dropping dead out of nowhere from it.

    The cardiologist says she can keep doing agility at this point, but obviously no flyball or lure coursing. Basically it's about quality of life, and being a couch potato is not what makes this dog happy. Obviously we have to keep an eye out for signs of CHF- coughing, fluid build-up, things like that. She's already huffing a little after hard exercise.

    I just don't even know what to do right now. She's only 3.5 years old. I'm literally just going to sit here and hug her for the rest of the day and then go from there. I really can't do anything else right now.

    This is not what I was expecting to come out of today's visit with.

    I don't usually ask for any emotional support, especially as far as health issues go. But I'm devastated right now. The worst (best?) part is she doesn't even know she's sick. She thinks she's completely fine and wants to run and play and be a happy dog. So I'm going to let her play as long as her body lets her. It's the only thing I can think of to do for her.
  2. Team Peanut

    Team Peanut GRCH Dog

    i am so sorry to hear that. we are here for you. i will keep her in my thoughts.
  3. ~Missy~

    ~Missy~ Snaptastic

    I'm so sorry. I will keep you both in my prayers.
  4. JoeBingo

    JoeBingo Banned

    I understand NONE of that LL, except that it's not good. Not what I wanted to hear about your beloved Lilly ... not at all. Hang in there guys !!! So very very sorry. It's never fair and we can only do what we can do. I KNOW you'll do all you can. Wishing only the very best of luck for you both.
  5. MJJean

    MJJean GRCH Dog

    I'm so sorry. At least she is happy and has no idea. That would comfort me. We could all take a lesson from the Lily here. Live life like everything is fine and enjoy it to the fullest. None of us know how much time we have.
  6. Beret

    Beret Bullyflop

    I'm so sorry. My heart is with you right now. I can't imagine what you're going through.

    I really know next to nothing about these conditions, but the fact that she isnt in pain is amazing. Despite the awful news, I'm so happy to hear that.

    At the very least, although you have to cut back on favorite activities, you two have done amazing things together and will always have those memories and experiences.

    All my best wishes go out to you and Lily. Stay strong, you two.
  7. Blau

    Blau Big Dog

    I'm so sorry, Lily is the absolute sweetest girl... Sending good thoughts and vibes your way.
  8. BlueBaloo

    BlueBaloo Big Dog

    Oh this is not the best news. It doesn't cause her much pain, right? I'm guessing they don't quite have the mitral valve prolapse options for dogs as they do for humans.

    I'm so sorry.
  9. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Thanks all.

    I'm not sure about options other than medications. She's being treated by probably the best cardiologists in the country, I trust their opinion. There are a lot of things we're ahead of human medicine on, but hearts isn't one of them.

    She shouldn't be in any pain. When it progresses to congestive heart failure, she'll start to have some respiratory difficulties, but, as far as my experience shows, most dogs continue to push themselves and really don't know anything's wrong.

    She's a strong girl, she's gotten through a lot, this is just another test. She surely doesn't know anything's wrong, and we're going to try to keep it that way. She's still going to get to play agility and have fun and hang out with all her agility people friends. She's still going to come to flyball and see all her flyball friends and teammates. Nothing's going to change.

    We're going to fight through this as much as we can.

    And here's a cute picture of her waiting for her bestest friend the doctor to come see her:
  10. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Actually to better answer your question, the cardiologist said that the enlargement of the ventricle is what is increasing the spacing between the two sides of the mitral valve. Because of this, it's weakening. The only way to stop it is the medications. Pimobendine will strengthen the ventricle and help it push out more blood, and benazepril will help open up the aorta and help more blood flow out of the ventricle. This will hopefully delay the progression of the ventricular dilation.
  11. Julie k

    Julie k Little Dog

    Heartbreaking, I'm so sorry.

    Julie K
  12. phillysmom

    phillysmom Good Dog

    This is so sad. Just look at that sweetie in the pic! I can see why you would be devastated, I know she means the world to you. At least she is living a good life with you, as I know you always insure that she gets the best care. Positive thoughts sent to the both of you.
  13. BlueBaloo

    BlueBaloo Big Dog

    So is the primary cause a decrease in the elasticity of the ventricular wall? Do they do stem cell therapy for dogs? I know they inject heart stem cells into a human heart to repair the walls of a ventricle for certain diseases but if the underlying cause is cell deformation that's causing the decreased elasticity, I guess that wouldn't really work. Do these medicines address the underlying problem? Or simply make the blood flow easier?

    I guess I could just Google the disease, huh.
  14. adjecyca

    adjecyca Good Dog

    She is such a beautiful dog i wish the both of you the best
  15. Purpledomino

    Purpledomino Good Dog

    Wow what a heartbreaker. Nothing I can say is going to make your situation any better, but I'm sure that I speak for everyone in saying that news like this strikes close to home as many have gotten bad news about their beloved pets. Just from reading your posts I can tell how important Lily is to you, and how well versed you are in the medical field so I'm sure she's in the best hands.

    Personally I'm dealing with a dog right now that is at the end stages of his life, and we are monitoring his quality of life. I guess all you can do is try to be strong, and do the right thing...because they will all worry us to death and break our hearts in the end.

    Wishing you and Lily all the best.
  16. bringbackup

    bringbackup Big Dog

    I couldn't imagine what you are going through. Poor Lily. I agree, I would definitely seek comfort in the fact that she isn't suffering. Make this time with her count, and the best of luck.
  17. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    They are still researching stem cell therapy in dogs unfortunately.

    There is typically no underlying problem, unless it's a taurine deficiency, hence the diagnosis of 'idiopathic'.
  18. monkeys23

    monkeys23 GRCH Dog

    Crap you guys just can't win huh. :( I'm so sorry and I hope her quality of life stays great for the forseeable future. At least you being so on the ball and keeping her in such good shape can only help her! Lots of good health vibes for you and your Lily!
  19. E Diggy

    E Diggy Big Dog

    Terribly Sorry. Deepest Condolences.
  20. xdogs

    xdogs Good Dog

    So sad to read this. I don't know how I would react, or what I would do, either. She is active in so many things, that it would be hard to take it away from her. Since she doesn't know that she is sick, she would probably be bummed to be confined to couch life from here on.

    Wishing you the wisdom to give her the best options possible.

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