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Old 02-12-2013, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cardio myopathy and possible congestive heart failure

Hello all,

Im new to this and unfortunately my first post. Im a boxer lover like all of you and I have 2 boys. The other day I took my two boys to the dog park. Ziggy is just turning 4 years old so he is a young boxer brindle. He played in the park for about 30 mins and then we decided to take him home. Halfway home he simply sat down in the middle of the road for no reason. I said hey buddy lets go and he just sat there. So my wife stayed with him and I ran home to get the car. I took him to the vet immediately and they ran a ECG. He had an arrythmia that came up and it was 2 down ones in a row, then about 50 good ones, and then 2 down ones again for anyone who knows about them. She suggested I take him to a cardiologist to check him out. The cardiologist yesterday ran a 45 min ecg and he came out and said he does have an arrythmia and it was one down one and then 30 good ones or so. Never 2 back to back like the day he sat down. He then said he felt his heart was enlarged and was in early stages of congestive heart failure. The only symptom he ever has shown ws sitting down. nothing before, nothing since. He is still the same pup as always. He has a heart disease history in his family also. So we were given three meds, something like sotanol or somethng like that, and another i forget the name, and then lastly VETMEDIN. That was very pricey but from what I read it says its a miracle drug. Anyway the vet told us once he shows more symptoms he will have about 6 months to live. I cant deal with this. He is just a baby boy ! Anyone have any advice, or suggestions ? I will do ANYTHING , i dont care what it costs to help my boy live a longer life. My wife and I are devastated and need some help. I cant live life normally now because every little thing he does Im scared its a sign. I keep thinking is this the day he passes? I need some assurance my guy can live ! Did anyone else you know go through this and their puppy still live a few years ? Or even a full life ? If Ziggy was 8 + years old I could deal a little better with it, but he isnt and I want to help him get to 8 !!
All the best and please Advice !!

John
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to hear about Ziggy. Cardiomyopathy is commonly found in boxers unfortunately. I lost my heart dog Riley to it in 2011. He was 9 years and 7 months. He was diagnosed after being rushed to the vets after he collapsed one day.

My questions to you is how does the vet know that Ziggy's heart is enlarged? Did they only do the ECG? I could be wrong, but I didn't think an ECG would tell them if the heart is enlarged or not. With Riley he had an echo done which actually gives them a live picture of the heart as it's pumping. In Riley's case, his heart wasn't enlarged, but he had several runs of abnormal beats which was his big problem. Did your vet suggest doing a 24 hour holter on Ziggy? That would give them a bigger picture of what his heart is doing over a 24 hour period.

As for the medication, you were probably given Sotalol. That's the drug Riley was on. It worked great with him initially, but we did have to play around with the dosage. He started on 80mg and was at 120mg when he passed. I don't know about the other medication you mentioned so I can't help there.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ziggy is on 80 mg Sotalol, 5MG Vetmedin x 4 a day, and Enalapril 1.5 a day x 15MG.

What you wrote is exactly what I was thinking ! How can they tell he has an enlarged heart or this disease ? I know they can tell about the arrythmias because the test shows his irregular beats. Ziggy shows no signs of anything wrong with him at all ! The testing at the vet was $587.00 and I know they took him on the back for 45 minutes. They gave him meds and said a 2 week follow up where he will then get a holter for an overnight. I was hoping maybe we found this early and the meds will help ?
This is exactly what the report says :

BASED ON TODAYS EVALUATION WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT ZIGGYS HEARTH. HE DOES HAVE AN ENLARGED HEART, AND HIS CARDIAC FUNCTION IS LESS THAN WE WOULD EXPECT. GIVEN THESE FINDINGS WE ARE CONCERNED HE MAY BE IN EARLY STAGES TYPE III ARVC. THE EPISODE HE HAD OF SITTING DOWN IS UNLIKELY RELATED TO THE ARRYTHMIA, BUT RATHER A MANIFESTATION OF FATIGUE DUE TO LOW CARDIAC OUTPUT. FOR NOW WE WOULD RECOMMEND MEDICAL THERAPY IN AN EFFORT TO SLOW THE DISEASE PROGRESSION WHICH TYPICALLY INCLUDES AN ACE INHIBITOR (ENAPRIL) AND AN INOTROPIC AGENT ( VETMEDIN). ALTHOUGH WE DO NOT FEEL THE ARRYTHMIA IS RELATED TO THE CLINICAL SIGNS, IT MAY BE REASONABLE TO CONSIER ADING AN ANTIARRYTHMIC ( SOTALOL ) GIVEN HIS BREED, SEVERITY OF THE DISEASE, AND POSSIBILITY OF SUDDEN DEATH. WE WOULD LIKE THE FOLLOWING MEDS ( ONES I LISTED ABOVE )

IN TWO WEEKS WE WILL CHECK HIS BLOOD PRESSURE AND KIDNEY FUNCTIONS . IN ONE MONTH WE WILL DO AN ECHO AND A HOLTER TO MONITOR HIS HEART.

THATS ALL !
The only tests Ziggy had done on him were an Echocardiogram, and Blood pressure ( 100mmhg / # 5 cuff

So my questions to everyone is did they do enough to guarantee my boy has congestive heart failure already ? I know he has the arrythmia, but hoping the meds can mange it since his wasnt all that bad. The heart disease worries me more. I dont want to see him get sick. I want my boy to grow old and pass after living a good life
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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btw im on facebook everyone @ johnadesalvo@aol.com. My profile pic is of me and my baby boy Ziggy.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am so sorry you are going thru this... Laney will be 6yr old in march and she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy when she was 2 1/2yr old. She does very well on her meds. She takes lasix 40mg twice per day and vasotec 10mg once a day. Her heart seemed to be enlarged also at the diagnosis also. I, too, was heartbroken. My vet told me she should be around a long time. So, please don't give up hope. You just need to learn to live with this disease. She still plays with her toys and we go for nice 45min walks every day. She eats home-cooked meals I prepare for her. Yes, it is a terrible disease for all of us boxer lovers and I know how you feel about watching Ziggy's every move. I still do that too. Oh, I forgot Laney also gets one 81mg baby aspirin a day. I wish all of you the best in dealing with this.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Does Laney have type 3 like Ziggy also ? I was told there are two types of heart issues. Electrical and plumbing so to speak. Ziggy has both unfortunately. He has one or two arrythmias every 30 seconds, and he also has the congestive heart failure. Does your pup have congestive heart failure also ? That is the one im worried about more than anything. Thanks so much for writing to me. Im so sad for Ziggy :{
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My Rocoo was diagnosed with AVRC in June. He is on Sotalol 80mg which he tolerates well. I think it may make him a little sleepy which is not necessarily a bad thing! He is still and active, loving 3 year old boy.

Electrical problems eventually lead to other problems because the heart muscle is working harder to keep up with the demands of the irregular beating.

I would ask for the holter to be done sooner. The holter is going to give you a better idea of what and how many irregular beats there are and a repeat holter will tell you if the meds are working.

I am really sorry you are going through this. I am a little stressed every day wondering "is this the day?" But you do manage and some things are not in our control.

PM me any time with questions or concerns. We are all here for you.

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Old 02-13-2013, 09:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Im worried because my boy also has early stages of congestive heart failure. He is only 4 !! Just turned 4 last week. Im so sad I hear the electrical is manageable with medicine, but its his enlarged heart that isnt pumping so well that Im worried about. Does anyone have any experience with this ?
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) - Boxer

This is a very good site which may help you understand what you are dealing with. Most likely your dog was having arrhythmias for quite awhile and now the heart is being compromised. With that said, your vet needs to do an echocardiogram and a holter to really know what you are dealing with. If possible, go to a veterinary cardiologist or research veterinarians who are well-versed in BCM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Has anyone had experience with Congestive Heart failure in their pups ? I know Ziggys is early so im doing the best I can ! I am hoping someone has a success story to share of their baby living a few years and not what Im hearing from the vet. Im holding on to any and all hope I can ! He has shown no signs of anything wrong yet other than the echocardiogram showing an enlarged heart thats not pumping well. Thanks to everyone for your care and concern. It means so much to my wife and I . Ziggy appreciates it also
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