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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

    Thanks. She seems a bit better on the lasix, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because it means she's breathing better and there's less strain on her heart. It's a bad thing because it's more equivocal to being CHF than anything else (pneumonia, funga infection, bronchitis, etc.). I was told I'd have more time before seeing clinical signs of CHF. I'm pretty disheartened to say the least. There isn't enough time in the world and now I have less of it. But we'll see what the bloodwork and x-rays look like on thursday.

    She's still very happy, still wants to play (though she's clearly slowed down), obviously still a food hound and still goes on her therapy visits. We're not giving up the fight, especially since right now it's pretty clear she doesn't even know she's fighting a losing battle. More medication and more cuddle time will likely be prescribed, but as long as she's happy I don't care about anything else.

    It's so weird. From the outside she looks like an athletic, beautiful, healthy dog. Some days I wish I didn't know what was going on on the inside, but then I would feel guilty for not trying to do everything I could to stop the inevitable progression. But there are days I wish I could just let her run and play and do everything she used to love doing, there are times when I wish I didn't know.

    This has been the worst roller coaster ride of my life. But she's worth it.

    I'll know more on thursday.
  2. JoeBingo

    JoeBingo Banned

    Off topic, but did you ever post photoshoot pics of Lilly that Kady did ?? I saw one (1) on FB of your beautiful and beloved Lilly and would like to see more :)
  3. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

  4. JoeBingo

    JoeBingo Banned

    Thank you LL :)
  5. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    So we actually did not get bad news today. There isn't any change on the lasix. We're going to wean her off the lasix and try a round of baytril for 2 weeks and then recheck and x-ray a week after finishing treatment.

    Here are the x-rays from today:


    And here is the last lateral x-ray compared to today's x-ray:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Bottom line, the cardiologist does not think this is the beginning of CHF. Why she has these strange interstitial patterns, well, we'll see if the antibiotics do the trick, if not, we'll have to diagnose further.
  6. SemasMom

    SemasMom Big Dog

    I really hope this works for you guys!
  7. ashanaberger

    ashanaberger Puppy

    Re: Boxer Mom - Diagnosed with Dialated Cardiomyopathy

    Hi there,

    I came across your post doing some searches on cardiomyothapy. My husband and I are parents to a very sweet little boxer named Pebbles. She'll be 4 in August. After two weeks of fainting episodes and an emergency visit last night we discovered she has an enlarged heart and was diagnosed with dialated cardiomyopathy. She's staying at the animal hospital until Monday (she went in Friday night) to continue her heart monitoring and to try and get her out of the woods with regards to heart failure. Through discussions with the cardiologist and internet searches, we know the prognosis is not good. I'd appreciate if you could tell me a little about your experience, what treatement options you took, how your dog reacted and her prognosis.

    More than anything, I'm just looking for anyone who may have been through this and also just emotional support. My husband and I got married at the end of April and had some other friend's weddings and vacations and more than anything we both just feel an extreme amount of guilt not spending every second with her the last couple of months. I know we shouldn't but it's hard not to think like that right now. I don't know how to go on living a normal life. I'm terrified to come home to something and don't know if I can do things like go to the gym after work or spend time with friends because all I want to do is spend every precious moment with her. I know it's inevitable but I want to be there for her as much as I can. Any of your thoughts, experiences and suggestions is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


  8. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    DCM is a pretty shitty disease. If your dog is already fainting, it is likely that he is already sufferingb from heart failure. Depending on his level of CHF, he can have weeks to months. The majority of dogs diagnosed with DCM that exhibit signs of CHF typically have a poor prognosis.

    Unfortunately, DCM is very common in boxers. I really hope you can get some better news. I know I'm dreading the day Lily goes into CHF. Luckily for me, we did what almost never happens, which is catch the DCM before any clinical signs of CHF.

    Good luck. Let us know what the doctors say.
  9. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    As far as treatment, what Lily and I are doing is going to be different from you, but right now she's on 3 heart meds: pimobendin (to help her heart contract), benazepril (to open up her vessels and help push more blood put), and sotalol (to contol her arrhythmia). She's also on florinef for an adrenal disease. She's also on taurine, vitamin b-50 complex, and fish oil. She gets serial echocardiograms, ECGs, blood pressures, and x-rays. It is very expensive; I've put around $3k into her since her diagnosis in March (and I get most things at cost or 50% off) and total costs over $8k over the past year (for someone who barely makes that in a year). But I have to do what I have to do, and I'll do anything for her.

    She's an amazing dog and has tolerated everything very well. She gets excited for her meds and is an angel at the vet. Unfortunately, you're going to get very familiar with your vet. Bring treats and make sure every is as excited to see your boy as you want him to be! I tell Lily before we go "are we going to go see your friends?" and she gets excited. Good luck, I know it sucks, hopefully you can make him comfortable and be able to provide him with a good quality of life.
  10. Cofla

    Cofla Big Dog

    LilianaLove, I understand all your efforts for the better of Lilly, not only time and research but all the money strugle that lies ahead with Lily treatments, we went through that with Ella (RIP) for 14 month with her Limphoma, not special price and at one of the best or the best Vet Hospital around Montreal, you know that is a lot of money, and it was never a question of not doing it, some friends were flipping out, all that money..''you guys could go holidays to Europe, Brazil and Thailand and still money left over'', we rather do holidays in our backyard but give every possible chance to our dog.
    All that to tell you that if the situation gets too tight I would not hesitate to help you a little bit if we set and aid thing here at PBC to help with treatments for Lily.

    Just a thought, sending good vibes for both of you, no matter what Love always wins, better suffer in life for the loss of a Loved one and have known Love, that not have known ''That Love ''in one's life.

  11. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Hey all. Sorry for not posting earlier, I've been crazy busy and things are finally starting to settle down (though it's really a calm before the storm).

    Lily had her 6 month recheck on 9/20, and things are better than anyone could have expected.

    Here are her comparable values:

    The EF (ejection fraction) and FS (fractional shortening) are the biggest indicators of improvement, with the fractional shortening being more important. A normal FS% is between 25-45%. Lily's is now 22.8% (up from 17.1%). This is HUGE. This is NOT clinically insignificant. It is indicative of improvement, which is pretty incredible for a degenerative, terminal disease.

    Her LV (left ventricle) dimensions are also decreased. Remember, DCM causes continual ventricular dilation (enlargement). So, a decrease in ventricular dilation is basically unheard of.

    Her mitral valve regurgitation is also decreased (due to the increased LV output).

    Here are some picture comparisons, which, after seeing, you'll understand why her improvement is actually pretty dramatic:

    1) This is a measure of her contractility (how well her heart muscle contracts). Imagine each peak/trough to be a heart beat, with larger peaks/troughs as better contractility. The first picture is from when she went to the cardiologist 9/17/12 when she had her atrial tachycardia. It is basically normal, though slightly depressed (sorry for the bad quality). The second is from 3/20/13, when she was diagnosed with DCM. It's pretty clear to see the difference and SEVERE depression clinically associated with a diagnosis of DCM. The third is from 9/20/13 (her last echo) and shows the improvement in contractility noted by the above number indicators (a 33% improvement).
    Pic 1- 9/17/12

    Pic 2- 3/20/13

    Pic 3- 9/20/13

    2) This is her measure of mitral valve regurgitation (the colors are the regurgitation).
    Pic 1- 3/20/13

    Pic 2- 9/20/13

    3) This is her left ventricle (you can see it's a bit more rounded in the first picture).
    Pic 1- 3/20/13

    Pic 2- 9/20/13

    Anyway, bottom line is this was completely unexpected (in a good way!). We're not really sure where to go from here, but we're going to hope for either continued improvement or a stabilization of the degeneration.

    For anyone interested, here are her current medications and supplements:
    Pimobendin 5mg 1 every 12 hours
    Sotalol 80mg 1/8 every 12 hours
    Benazepril 10mg 1 every 12 hours
    Florinef 0.1mg 1/2 AM, 1/4 PM
    Taurine 500mg 1 every 12 hours
    Vitamin B-50 Complex 1 every 24 hours
    CoQ10 30mg 1 every 24 hours
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids: EPA 750mg, DHA 500mg every 24 hours
  12. ~Missy~

    ~Missy~ Snaptastic

    So happy to hear that things are improving!
  13. kady05

    kady05 Krypto Super Dog

    I'm so glad that she's improved! Let's hope it stays that way :)
  14. phillysmom

    phillysmom Good Dog

    Yay for Lily!! It's nice to hear some encouraging news. :grin:
  15. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Thanks for the support everyone :). I'm still a bit perplexed, and part of me wonders what really caused all of this. I don't know if I'll ever know, but, to my knowledge, DCM doesn't typically improve. I'm going to try to contact some other people, researchers at other veterinary schools, who can maybe offer some insight. Maybe there's still a piece to this puzzle that we're missing.

    What caused all of this to start? Why did she have subclinical a-tach? Did the atropine cause the v-tach and sinus arrest? Was the DCM caused by this stress? Or was all of this caused by the DCM? I wish someone would take her DNA and profile it but right now she's not the right breed for any current research.
  16. Jazzy

    Jazzy GRCH Dog

    Hey LL,

    I did not get any of the technical stuff...but I am SO happy to hear that Lily is improving! I have been thinking about you both.
  17. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    In laymen's terms- her heart was very inefficiently pumping blood, and now it is pumping more efficiently. It's not quite 'normal', but it is much more conducive to life than before. And, for a disease that is typically terminal and deteriorative, this is very, very good news. I was very cautiously optimistic until I talked to the second cardiologist (at Penn), who confirmed that this is actual improvement. No one has been able to give me any type of prognosis, so we're taking this one day at a time.

    She goes for another recheck in December. I'm really trying not to get too excited, as things can very easily turn right around. But after everything we've been through, the heartache, the time, the emotional expense, I'm counting this as a win. We have not won the war but, for now, we've won this battle. Keep on truckin' Lily, DCM ain't dealing with nothing but a bulldog here. She's not going down without a fight, and neither am I.
  18. arcouillard

    arcouillard Puppy

    I just read back over some of this thread, and wanted to say that I am so sorry about your girl! This hits home for me (and I understand a lot of that scientific heart talk!) I lost my 18 month old puppy (the one in my picture) to a severe heart defect (aortic stenosis) in July. He literally just dropped without warning while playing, and there wasn't even time to get to the vet. It was awful. He had a severe form and a really loud murmur. I sincerely hope you have many more years with your girl, because I know how terrible I felt and still feel! It's just not fair, especially when they're so young and healthy in every other way. Savor every day and every sweet moment :)

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
  19. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    I cherish every second I have with her and don't let myself forget for a minute how much I love her. She is an incredibly special dog, and she's just quietly snoring next to me, completely unaware of how amazing she is.
  20. lp187

    lp187 Little Dog

    excited that things are looking up, even a little. hoping for more good news in december for you guys.

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