Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Heart Health

Yesterday I took Ike in to see the vet. After 3 crashes in a row at agility class, with no physical indications of an issue, I wanted to have his eyes checked. He also has a lump that has changed slightly, so I wanted to have that aspirated.

The good news is his eyes are fine. There are some normal signs of aging, but nothing that would affect his jumping. NO signs of PRA. Hooray!

We will get the news back about the lump on Thursday. Hopefully that is nothing.

The interesting news is he has a Stage 1 mitral murmur (he is a lean and active 9 years old). Heart murmurs are rated on a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the worst.

The vet suggested I consider an echo in 6 months to a year. I am not 100% sure I am going to do that for a Stage 1 mitral murmur.

I posted about it on the Performance Schnauzer list, to see what people’s experiences with murmurs have been. Most individuals that responded had a dog that was diagnosed with a murmur, stages 1 – 3. An echo was never suggested to these individuals and the dog did not pass of Congestive Heart Failure. A long time breeder said she was told rating heart murmurs in an extremely subjective thing. One individual had a Standard with a heart issue and saw a huge improvement when they started using the Vetriscience product CardioStrength.

I am strongly considering the Cardiostrength. It contains Folic Acid, among other things, which kept coming up in my google search as an important heart health supplement.

Edit: In case anyone is interested, my agility instructor informed me last night that Standard Process also has a cardio health supplement.

I would be very curious if any of my readers have had dogs with murmurs and whether you chose to add any supplements as a result? Ike and I thank you in advance!


Joanna said...

My only comment is that grade 1 murmurs are very subjective indeed. In my experience heart specialists are convinced they hear them in every single dog! I once had three Danes echoed in a single day, because the cardio vet I took them to for their OFA heart clearance heard "something" in each one, which freaked me out like crazy because they'd JUST been cleared by my vet. On echo every single one was perfect, zero flow issues. $1100 later I had the same three healthy dogs I walked in with! I like Tufts for echoes, though, if you decide to go that way.

Jules said...

Thanks, Joanna! Based on what the Schnauzer people have said, and what you have said, I do not think I will waste the money with an echo at this time. I might go ahead with the Cardiostrength though - that's still up in the air.

My vet errs on the side of caution, which I appreciate, but can be costly!

Spyrock Cardigans said...

I have a JRT that was diagnosed with a murmur in Feb 2009. It was just noticable at the time. His murmur is now a grade 4. He started on meds about a year or year and half ago (I would have to look back through his record), when he got to the point where he was drinking so much water he was hardly hungry and wouldn't eat much and dropped weight. The first med he started on worked great. The brand name of it was Enacard. A little while later he broke out in a Rash and we discovered he was allergic to it. He now take Vetmedin and it works good for him. He's at a very healthy weight and is a very happy dog. If I had thought about a supplement I most likely would have tried one.

Also when he was diagonised we did take an xray of his heart and lungs to have something to compare to in the future.

Not sure if this helps, but I know where you are coming from.

Blue said...

My roommate had her Dr tell her that she might have a heart murmur and she went for an echo. The echo showed that everything was completely normal, and the cardiologist told her that basically she was too healthy. With no fat on her chest, the first Dr could hear every little sound her heart was making, which is what suggested the murmur (also her mom has a heart murmur, so that's partly why the first Dr was being cautious).

Joya said...

hello Jules! Your blog post is awesome. Really enjoyed to read your blog post. Cheers!

Best Tests

Jenn said...

FWIW - When I first got Logan (gosh almost 14 years ago) I was told by her vet that she had a heart murmur. When I moved from RI back to MA I think maybe the first vet I saw here thought maybe she heard something. But ever since then none of the vets I have seen have heard anything that suggests a heart murmur. I've gone thru periods where she gets various supplements like CoQ10 and folic acid .... but nothing has changed. (Thank goodness!)

I find the comment about the water drinking interesting since Logan will drink gallons at a time if I let her.

Jules said...

Thanks all for these comments - it is so helpful to have the feedback.

Missy, I will make sure we keep an eye on it annually, in case it does change. And I will pay attention to water intake.

Blue, another Schnauzer person mentioned the same thing (as it applied to dogs, not humans :D)!

Blue said...

I'm sure your dogs are "skinny" compared to most of the pet dogs a vet sees in a day, so that's what made me think of it!

Meant to say, glad to hear that Ike has no signs of PRA. :)

Jules said...

Jenn - What you say also supports me not being too worried about it, and just keeping an eye on things.

Blue - YES!!!! No PRA! :D