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Maltese with heart failure

Postby Rachel » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:48 am

I have an 11 year old Maltese, Ellie, who has just been diagnosed with heart failure. The progression of the disease has been really fast. She was hospitalised in November 2008, and had reconstructions done on both knees. At the time her heart was fine. Last week the vet told me she has developed a heart murmur, and further tests revealed she had heart failure affecting both sides of her heart. Her enlarged heart is pushing up her windpipe, causing her to cough. She also has fluid in her lungs, abdomen, and liver. She is taking heart tablets, and diuretics to get rid of the fluid.
It has been 4 days since diagnosis, and I can't sleep - I'm terrified I will wake up to find that she has "gone".
I lost my other Maltese, Nelson last year to a brain tumour - he was 13, and I still really miss him :(
Can anyone offer any advice on anything I can do at home to help her, or what I should feed her ? I've just switched to a dog food that is 0.02% salt, as it was the lowest sodium content I could find. Is that percentage low enough ?

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Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby MyMalteseKid » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:56 pm

CHF is a battle and you are giving Ellie the proper meds needed for CHF. Also with her low salt diet. Also try to keep her from running and hard exercise. Our little had stopped eating and I start giving him jarred baby food with a syringe...water also this way. Our vet at that time told me to give him roast chicken to see if he would eat it. He told me not to be concerned about the salt because he had to eat. He didn't even want the chicken. He was in the final stage of CHF. He did faint/pass out and it really scared me where I gave him mouth to mouth. They said if this happens most times they do come around by themselves. I know you are terrified of waking up and Ellie will be gone. Please know that if this ever happens it will be peaceful for Ellie. We had to make the decision of releasing our little one. I will keep Ellie in my thoughts. Please let us know how she is doing. I am sorry that Nelson had to leave for the Rainbow Bridge. I know how much you still miss Nelson.

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Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby doggyluver4 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:52 am

I just recently lost my shih tzu due to congestive heart failure at 14 1/2 yrs. They initially diagnosed him as having epilepsy as he had a seizure. He was put on meds for that but he still would have a seizure at least once a month. One day he "died" during a seizure. I brought him back with CPR and when I took him to the vet they said he'd had a heart murmer for a few years but now it was a significant problem. So they put him on vetmedin and fortekor for the heart. They told me he would probably live no more than 14 month at the very outside. Well, he stayed with me for about 17 months. A few months after he was diagnosed with CHF I was reading on this forum about a dog that had had a seizure and it was because of CHF. Coincidentally Charley had not had a seizure since he went on the heart meds. I questioned the vets and they said he may not have epilepsy, that it could be from the CHF. What tipped me off was that he never had any more seizures after I started him on the heart meds. The vets told me he would have come out of his epileptic seizure himself and pooh poohed my story of him dying. I am sure he did die and it was because it was because of his heart problems. He had lots of fluid before he went on the heart meds and in no time at all he was much improved and was fairly good until the last few months considering his age. One thing about this diagnosis is that it does give you some time to prepare for the inevitable, if anything can, and they just seem to slowly fade away. Make sure though, at the end that you recognize the end is there as he will start to cough and have trouble breathing. At that time he IS suffering so do him the biggest service of his life and let him go the easy way. I'm crying as I type this but I know I did the right thing, absolutely.

I fed the food that the vet recommended to Charley till he chose not to eat it anymore. At that point I started feeding him anything he wanted as he was not going to get better and I didn't want to take away the enjoyment of his meals. If this was a disease that could be cured or even retarded I would have stuck to the vet's recommendation. As the end was inevitable I let him do anything he wanted and took him with me everywhere at the end as I didn't want him to pass on alone either. A note about this is that the vet said he'd not had any dog in his practice last longer than 14 month and Charley stayed with me for 17 months so I feel I did the right thing as he was happy till the end......Joyce


Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby carriegene » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:46 am

I had a dog who was diagnosed at 9 years. He was overweight and was placed on digoxin. He took it for five years and he did well until the end when he seemed to tire more. He then came to me one night gasping for air. I took him in during rush hour traffic that morning and then waited in the vet's front office for 10 minutes. I finally handed him over but strongly suspect they never got the meds in him to euthanize. I think he was in full cardiovascular collapse. In hindsight, I believe it would have been kinder to bring him in before he got that bad. But we all want so badly to wait just one more day.


Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby lydial » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:11 am

We too lost our Maltese (Pepper--12yr, male) this past Dec. 2008 from CHF. He was diagnosed w/a murmur in Feb 2006 and the Vets told me he would probably make it for about two yrs......their estimation was close. Pepper was on the diuretics as well as Enalapril. In addition, he was diagnosed w/Cushings Disease the yr. before his death, but it was the CHF that ultimately took him. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, take the advice of a previous post about recognizing the signs of the "End". Pepper had many episodes of coughing (during his last six months) and always seemed to pull through. I didn't recognize that his last episode was going to be the "End". It was a weekend w/o any Vets in our area on call and my biggest regret is not having him put down before hand (he had an episode about a month prior). I could have saved him needless suffering.

Unfortunately, this is an incurable disease and your best hope is to make your pet as comfortable as possible. Trust your instincts. When you feel his quality of life is no longer outweighing the effects of the disease....

It breaks my heart to think of Pepper's last day and I hope I can save another pet from the same.

My heart is breaking

Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby My heart is breaking » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:12 am

My 10 yr old Maltese emmitt was diagnose with heart failure on nov 5th 2012. Which was he 10 th birthday I thought it was a cough. I'm am so scared, he's on the 2 heart failure meds and lasix and cough meds. He has times when he can't even catch his breath. My heart is breaking. I don't know what to do other than give as much love as I can. I lost my other Maltese Dallas almost 2 yrs ago to cancer. I Still haven't accepted that. And now my other baby can go at any moment. I noticed he is very weak and can't seem to get comfortable at times. I don't want he to live me. I live him so much I'm a wreak I'm scared I'm going try around or leave the room and come back to only find him gone will just kill me. Can anyone give some advice to see if I could do anything else to help him. :(

My heart is breaking

Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby My heart is breaking » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:54 pm

I just want to say sorry my mid spelled words. My mind was going quicker than I could write. Thought this morning he was going to pass. He's legs we're weak and lost his balance a few times later he perk up a little and was good to see my baby emmitt acting like him self It didn't last long. And here I sit watching every more he makes. The thought of losing him is killing me. He goes back to dr. On Wednesday ! I wish this whole thing was a nightmare. But I know I'm going to lose him. Please say a pray for sweet baby!!!

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Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby weezeo65 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:03 pm

I just lost my baby to. Daisy to heart failure January 7, 2013 my sweet Maltese I'm not handing it very well.

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Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby Gucci » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:14 pm

On Sat. Oct. 3/15 my sweet girl, Gucci, passed away only hours after I had picked her up from the groomers. On the way home she insisted on lying in my arms, resting her head on my neck as we drove home and seemed to be taking min naps as I drove. I carried her into the house and gave her a lunch of homemade chicken, carrots & rice - which she gobbled up, then went into her crate in my bedroom to have another nap. ( she always had a long nap after coming home from the groomers so nothing seemed unusual about that) At dinner time I called her for dinner along with the other dogs but she kept on sleeping. I waited until about 5:45 and touched her head to wake her up and she did not respond . I knew this was the end. I picked her up and her eyes were open but looked vacant, Her heart was still beating but very lightly - I wrapped her in her blanket and held her until her heart stopped beating and she slipped away ever so gently. She did not make a sound or even move. She simply left her body and was gone. I thank God, or fate, for the fact that even though she had CHF and was in the last stage for the past 3 months, she did not suffer. The 3 medications she had been taking since July, I believe helped in keeping her comfortable and still able to enjoy her life almost as much as before. She was the precious Maltese that I waited for 30 years to finally have in my life and although her short 10 years was not enough for me, she will forever be in my heart, loved and missed by me and my daughter Christina.

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Re: Maltese with heart failure

Postby sharon nunn » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:14 am

I do not know much about heart failure in Maltese however, I do know this....My darling is now 12 and for the least 6 months or so has had this terrible cough. It comes on at any time, rest, playing or sleep. She sounds like she is going to puke and some times if the coughing is exceptionally bad, will have a little chuck of white frothy stuff. She will now be going to the vet asap for a check up on this. Is it not bad enough that she is mostly deaf and half blind and now she has to get some thing else wrong to hurt her. It is not fair on her.

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