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Dog has heart failure.

Species: Dog
Breed: Cockapoo
Age: 2-5 years
Hello,

I am considering adopting a special needs dog. He is 3 and has a grade 3 heart murmur. He came in to the shelter with congestive heart failure. He has been on furosemide and enalapril since April, and I have his chest x-rays that I am sharing with my vet next week. I am told he is playful and energetic--have not met him bc he is several hundred miles away. Does heart failure get bette? Or only worse?

I can handle his medication, and x-rays 2-4 times a year, vitamins and food. But am trying to grasp the cost of this, as well as how long he might be around. Many have expressed concern and don't want me to adopt him.

I would like to give the dog a chance and a good life, even if it is short. However if it is going to be a downhill road and very very expensive I probably won't adopt him.

thank you for helping me weigh this decision.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there. Thanks for considering adopting this little dog. This is going to be a hard decision for you.

Normally, I'm not too concerned about a Grade 3 murmur in a little dog. However, if this little guy has been in heart failure then this is not good news.

When I have a patient in heart failure, if I can get the dog stabilized and feeling well with medication then I usually see them live about an average of another year. I have seen dogs live longer, but the longest I can remember would be two years.

The main focus of treatment in a situation like this is controlling his symptoms. The most common symptom is coughing. So, the goal of the medication will be to do all we can to help him to not cough. This will likely mean diuretics like furosemide (lasix) and also medicines to strengthen the heart. The vet may want to periodically take xrays to see how much fluid is in the chest. Although, in my cases I won't usually take xrays unless the dog is doing unwell.

My biggest concern in dealing with a dog with serious heart disease is that at any time he may progress into respiratory distress. If the heart starts to fail it can be a very traumatic situation. Often it can happen at night time, so you may have to be prepared to visit an emergency clinic after hours.

I think adopting this little one is a good idea as long as you have reasonable expectations that he may only have a short life left. But, if we can make that time as happy as possible that would be a wonderful thing!

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much, that was a good reality check. The murmur didn't scare me so much as the heart failure. I don't think I can deal with that unfortunately, I live in a city and would be boarding him if we went on trips and it would not be fair to him to be alone if he was in distress.

I think what I am going to do is donate some money for his care, that way his foster mom can continue to care for him during his time, and maybe send him a holiday gift. So sad.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

That is really nice of you to donate. I think that's a wonderful idea.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.