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Old 12-13-2012, 10:10 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Passing out could be a seizure. It doesn't have to be a violent shaking thing to be a seizure.

I hope you get some definitive answers soon! Not knowing is worse sometimes!

Praying for Boss!
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:44 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm sorry your questions weren't answered today.

My old boy Riley did have ARVC. He was diagnosed after he had a fainting spell and had to be admitted to the ER for an overnight stay while they regulated him. I think Riley's case was extreme, much more extreme than what you're dealing with. If you want to read about his process here's my thread from shortly after his diagnosis. http://www.boxerforums.com/health-concerns/56382-rileys-24-hour-holter-results.html

I don't remember the cost of the holter, but want to say it was close to $300. For some reason $279 is sticking in my head. I can pull the paperwork tonight if you really want to know, but seeing as we're in two different countries (you're in Brazil right?) I don't think we could really compare the two. I don't think it's really necessary for him to have a fainting episode while wearing the holter. It would probably be helpful just so they can see what's happening at the exact time that it happens, but the holter will also show the cardiologist how his heart is functioning as a whole over a 24 hour period. They'll be able to see if there are any single abnormal beats or runs of abnormal beats. The cardio dr we went to explained to me that the runs of abnormal beats are what concerns her and Riley had a lot of them in his results. In the thread above I give some details on his holter results.

As for the possible ARVC diagnosis. Well, this condition is known to effect this breed unfortunately. There is no cure, but in some cases medications do great in treating / managing it. Riley was initially put on Sotalol which he responded well too, but eventually it wasn't enough. They then tried him on Mexilitine (not sure if I'm spelling that right) which he did not do well on. From there we went back to Sotalol at a higher dosage, again it wasn't quite enough. The last ditch effort for him was Amiodorone (not sure on spelling again) which he did ok on, but he didn't make it far enough to go in for a recheck to see how his heart was functioning while on it. The cardiologist did tell me a few times that Riley was a "special" case. There were several other drugs they could've tried him on, but based on what they were seeing she felt he wouldn't respond well on some of them, or at least not well enough. So, there may be some medications that may help if it is a heart related issue, but it may take some time to find the right combination. You can also look into adding some fish oil and vitamin E into his diet. I did this with Riley. I'm not sure if it helped at all, but I felt better doing it.

The fact that the ultrasound showed his heart was functioning and appeared to be normal is a good sign though. In Riley's case they could see that one of the valves was slightly enlarged, one side of his heart appeared to be sluggish as it was pumping, and they also spotted what looked like a tumor or mass during one of the echos. Of course we'd have to put him under anesthesia to get it biopsied which was out of the question considering his heart problem. So, it sounds like your boy is much better off than Riley was.

As for your thought on if you should restrict his activity, that's a personal decision. Initially I did with Riley, but then I decided that I just wanted him to be happy. If letting him run and play made him happy I allowed him to. I knew it could cost him his life, but I'd rather he passed doing something he was happy doing as opposed to being forced to lay down all day long. One of my favorite pictures of Riley now is one of him running in our backyard. The quality of the picture isn't that good, but he looks so happy and carefree. It's a hard decision to make I know and once all of this information is absorbed I'm sure you'll figure out what's best for both of you.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:57 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I am sending thoughts and prayers to you. I know this must be frightening and frustrating to not know what is going on with your baby. I have to agree with Mandy that the fact the ultrasound didn't find anything is a good sign. Maybe he has a seizure disorder which can be controlled. One day at a time, but I think since they didn't find anything with the ultrasound, this is a good day. Hang in there and know that you're doing the absolute best for Boss.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Wow you must be in total stress mode right now. I don't have any experience with what you are going through but I do know you will get insight and advise here just like Mandy did talking about her Riley. Hang in there - sending positive vibes
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #25 (permalink)
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All of you messages have brought my tears back on. It is so much easier talking to people who understand the love of your boxer baby.

Mandy- how old was Riley when he started to show symtoms? I have done some research online and have read that usually symptoms start to occur around 5 years of age.. what i don't get is that Boss is only 4months old.. obviously anything is possible.. but from what i have read it is EXTREMELY uncommon for a puppy to have this. Thank you for sharing Riley's story (<3 RIP) - how old was he when he passed and was it due to his heart problems. When i spoke to the cardiologist he told me that if he did have this ARVC that is would have to be severe enough to be put on medication- if it was only minor then there would be nothing that we could give him. Is this true?Don't worry about the price.. I was just curious- thank you though.
My husband and I were talking about exercising and playing restrictions, and like you said.. I would rather him live a happy life (how ever long that may be) than a lonely and cooped up one. We are going to start monitoring him though.. see when he becomes tired/ anything that brings on the episodes and keep a diary. He is on a raw diet and I will introduce fish oil to it ASAP. How does vitamin E benefit them?- I will look into that as well. One other question- if he does have this/heart condition is he not allowed under anesthesia.. I only ask as he was given anesthesia last week for the ''bone removal'' in his butt (sorry for the non-scientific wording lol).
I am being optimistic - especially that his heart did look good today and still praying it is nothing. It is frustrating that I don't have any answers.. but hopefully no answer is better than a bad answer..(i think).
I have looked into epilepsy and I am still skeptical about this -as all of his fainting spells have resulted from intense exercise/play/long walks/excitement.. and i am not sure if this could being on a seizure or not.
One thing I have thought about however is the bumb on his head. (I keep a diary/calendar of things that happen with the puppies- so I know exactly what happens when/what they ate/any vomit/diarreah etc.). So on the 12th of November Boss ran into the glass door going outside - pretty hard .. which i think it what caused his bump on his head (although the bump didnt show until a week or so later). On the 22nd of Nov we took the puppies out for along walk and Boss got extremely tired.. he did not faint, but we did stop half way through the walk to let him rest. It was the weeks that followed that his bump started to swell and the fainting started. Do you think these 2 things could have anything to do with each other? I have read that epilepsy could be brought on by trauma to the head. Possible? Having said all that, he only started going outside on walks around that time too.
One more note... he stretched a lot. Like when he is sleeping or laying down- he stretches out his chest- maybe i am being paranoid now- but wondering if it is his heart that is hurting or something?! Am i going crazy? Sorry.
As always, thank you everyone!
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:53 AM   #26 (permalink)
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ALBA Medical - Holter Monitoring Company

I like Ril-Mas's idea of purchasing your own Holter. I may actually go this route since my Rocco does have ARVC. As I said before, he is being treated with Sotalol which is a beta blocker.

Let me also say I do NOT agree with your vet. While it would be optimal to see what his heart is doing during an episode if he is having enough arrythmias in a 24 hour period to be problematic it will show up on his Holter. The amount of irregular beats deemed excessive is a cause for medication. It is the amount of irregular beats that occur together (called a "run) that causes the syncope (fainting) or unfortunately, sudden death. ARVC over time can contribute to cardiomypathy - thickening of cardiac walls, valve issues etc. If the heart is not beating in a regular ryhthm it puts stress on the muscle causing it to become thick or flabby.

I do not limit Rocco's activity. Most of his irregular beats happen at rest. Yes, I get a little nuts if he runs around too much but honestly, I just want him to be happy and if I limit him and act stressed it can't be good for him either.

It is extremely stressful to have a dog with this medical issue. I pray everyday when I see him laying down that he is just sleeping. But I am doing everything I can and some things are not in my control.

Look into the above link and see if they can get you a monitor asap!

Please feel free to pm me if you need to. I really do know how you feel.

Hang in there - Deb and Rocco

PS - I just read about the bump on the head! Did your vet xray his head? He could have a concussion or some swelling that is putting pressure on the brain and causing him to faint.

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Well, with Riley he did have a fainting episode a couple of years before he was actually diagnosed. I wasn't home at the time so I was relying on second hand information. My father said he had turned around to do something and then he heard a thud and Riley had already gotten back up, but was looking kind of confused. Based on that we all thought maybe he was jumping for a bug or just stumbled on something (he was always very clumbsy). We did take him to the vets, but they only used a stethoscope and said he sounded fine.

In Dec 2010 he had another episode walking into the house. Again I wasn't home, but my father said he looked like he was gone. His tongue was hanging out of his mouth and he did stop breathing. In the process of trying to pick him up we think my father somehow snapped him out of it and he came to again. We rushed him to the vets where they did an X-Ray and an EKG. His X-Ray came back normal, but his EKG was off the charts. They told me we should get him to a cardiologist ASAP. While we were driving home they sent all of his paperwork to the cardiologist in Boston, MA and as we were walking into the door of our house the phone started ringing. They urged us to get him there that night to ER so they could start treatment. Off we went.

He was 8 years and 9 months old when he was officially diagnosed with ARVC. I helped him cross to the Bridge on 10/22/11 - almost a year later. On that day he woke up early at around 5:30am with an upset stomach. It was gurgling very loudly. I did everything I could to try to get him to eat something, but he refused everything. We spent some time cuddling in bed which I now treasure as a memory. Late morning he tried getting up and he staggered on his feet and collapsed so we rushed him to the local ER which has a cardiologist on call. She got there and we hooked him up to the EKG machine. He had a few more episodes while we were there and it turned out that his heart was actually stopping and restarting. I was given my options and decided that he'd had enough. He was exactly 5 months shy of his 10th birthday. Sorry for all the details, I can be long winded at times!

I don't think all dogs with a heart problem are "banned" from going under anesthesia, but it definitely adds to the risks. When they're issues are serious like Riley's was it was a huge risk. A specialist would need to be there and special monitors would need to be used to make sure everything was going as planned. I'm pretty certain that if we had tried to put Riley under for whatever reason he would not have come out of it.

Fish oil can depelete vitamin E so that's why they're usually given together. I wouldn't worry to much about the stretching. Mine are all good stretchers. Abby is especially a HUGE stretcher! Yesterday I had to actually move her away from edge of the bed because she kept stretching and it looked like she'd fall off!

I also think looking into a possible head injury is also worth a try. If he hit that hard it may have caused some kind of injury that needs to be addressed. One other thing I thought of is what your temperatures are there. Is it possible he's over heating since these fainting episodes only happen while he's getting exercise?
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #28 (permalink)
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As mentioned, if he does indeed have ARVC it will be seen on the 24hr Holter. He does not need to have a fainting spell during this test.

I own my own Holter monitor and I purchased it from the link above Alba Medical. The refurbished analog cassette models are great and I strongly recommend you purchase a vest as well. Upfront cost is about $700 US but here in Ontario I would pay $400 for a single reading and since I do 6 dogs annually it made sense to purchase my own unit.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:22 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manydogs View Post
As mentioned, if he does indeed have ARVC it will be seen on the 24hr Holter. He does not need to have a fainting spell during this test.

I own my own Holter monitor and I purchased it from the link above Alba Medical. The refurbished analog cassette models are great and I strongly recommend you purchase a vest as well. Upfront cost is about $700 US but here in Ontario I would pay $400 for a single reading and since I do 6 dogs annually it made sense to purchase my own unit.
Kari - You are awesome. Just wanted to say that! I totally agree with you.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:34 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Please, I LOVE all the details
Your story made me cry.. but I would have done exactly the same thing as you.

When he passes out I am not sure if he is un-concious or not- it all happens so quick! Our vet told me to keep my phone with me so that i can record it when it next happens but i dont think i would even have time.. it is almost like his back legs give out, he flops down and then within seconds he is back up (most of the time it has been when we are on walks and i will carry him home-- in tears).
Also, sometimes after he plays he will just lie down.. not sleep.. just lie there with his eyes open. Is this normal? (here i go again ... I am glad to hear abby is a stretcher like boss Sometimes i think I over think everything.. also I have realized I am comparing my 4month old to my 7month old. I have to tell my self that he is still a young puppy and just because he sleeps more than Buddha doesn't mean there is anything wrong with him- I worry a lot!

I thought about the overheating thing - we are in summer here in Brazil and it is getting hot.. I am in southern brazil so it is not as hot as many other states of the country BUT it does get warm. At the moment during the day it varies from about 70-80 degrees.. but we only walk them early early morning when it is cool and late in the evening. During the day they play in the AC or on the patio which is sheltered from the sun and has lots of fans.

I mentioned that to my vet- and looked online- usually if they pass from heat stroke/exhaustion then their gums become brick red and not white like Boss's. Also this past friday it was actually pretty chilly out in the evening when he fainted.

The vet who saw us for the bump was not our usual vet- I might have them give him an x ray though. They took a sample from it to check to see if it was a tumour, but that was it.

-Thank you for the holter link. I will look into that tonight with my husband. I was quite shocked that the cardiologist did not have the equipment on site (that is Brazil for you). How does it work? You do everything your self at home and then send the company the readings and they give you the results?

I just want to be able to take him on nice long walks.. we have endless hikes, lagoons, lakes, beaches, sand dunes that all allow dogs.

Sorry for so many questions!
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