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How to let a BC with heart murmure live life.


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We are a big time dog sports family. When my youngest daughter turned 10 she wanted her own dog. We went to a highly recommend breeder and she picked out a puppy. So for 10 weeks she visited the pup, built a bed for her pup and fell in love. On the way to pick up the pup breeder calls me says pup has heart murmure. Emily started crying and said sh don't care puppy needs a home and she loves her.

Now after the cardiac evaluation and testing the pup has hole between bottom two chambers and a bad aortic valve. They say nothing can be done and she is already at 16 weeks showing enlargement.

 

My delema is this dog rocks, she knows so many tricks, she wants to run and play constantly. She lives to please and also never sits down....like a border collie should. Cardiologist says keep her confined at times only a couple passes at fetch and no really running just take her for walks. This is the kind of BC that is hyper and athletic she needs to get her ya yas out. She is crushed when not allowed to play (we have another BC, a duck toller and a pappilon) so you can see she is going stir crazy. What would you do, let her run, play and enjoy life going out with her boots on, or confine and take her joy away and live a bit longer. Vet gives her a year to 18 mos.

 

I looked at the cardiologist and said I think she should live to her ability, she definatly didn't like it. Am I wrong?

 

By the was she said did not appear to be a hereditary defect.

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Dear Ms. Mewchat,

 

sorry to hear it.

 

I've buried six Border Collies with bad (genetic) mitral valves though they didn't appear until my dogs were five and seem to be less severe than your pup's. We didn't treat them any differently than the sound dogs. When they started to fail they did less. None of them told us they "might have been".

 

Donald McCaig

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My one and only Shetland Sheepdog had patent ductus arteriosus. He was 12 weeks old when he became symptomatic. I had him put down. He was in distress, and there was no good outlook.

 

It sounds like your dog is not in pain, so I would probably wait and see how things went. The child in the picture makes it tough. How to explain? And what if the explanation is understood but not accepted? I feel for you, your daughter and the dog. Sending mojo.

 

:(

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The only thing that concerns me is your daughter and the fact that she is likely to not only lose her friend early but also it may not be a pleasant situation for her to see happen. I understand that we never know when we will lose a pet, but I feel that if we do know what the likely future is, it is predictable as to what will happen as she suffers from heart failure, I would strongly urge you to consider finding a different pup for your daughter, one that has a better chance of living to a normal old age.

 

Last year I was at a seminar where a vet spoke about the heartbreak that a client of his suffered with a dog going through heart failure due to a bad murmur. Even though the family knew that the dog was not likely to live a long time, he said it was all the more painful when there was nothing they could do to help the dog and extend it's life once the inevitable set in. He actually strongly discouraged placing pups with more then a grade 2 murmur feeling that it wasn't fair to the future owner even though the owner knows what they are signing up for when they buy the pup.

 

It's a tough situation, for all, buyer, breeder, vet...child....I don't envy anyone.

 

Since your committed, let her live, enjoy her.

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I think you know the answer. I feel for your daughter but if you are going to stop the pup from enjoying what life she has you might as well have her put to sleep now.

 

Sometimes the medical professions don't look beyond extending life, irrespective of quality.

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Let her live a fun life. Short and fun is much better than short and sad. I'm dealing with much the same issue with one of my cats and quality of life is always more important to me than quantity.

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Man, this sucks.

 

My heart breaks for all of you. I also agree with mum24dog, this pup only has so long, let her live.

 

I will warn you, losing a young dog is very different from losing an old one. Both are equally painful, but there's something just sickening about watching a young dog fade away. We lost a BC at just shy of 18 months of age this year, and I think it was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever watched. We didn't know he had a terminal genetic illness, but I still had the gut feeling that his life would be short. Having experienced that, my advice is this:

 

Let your pup's life be a flourish of joy and energy. Fit in every possible piece of happiness you can. But, don't hope that things will change. I mean this as a positive. Cherish her life as being brief, instead of trying to drag out her death. Let her life be a celebration! And don't be afraid of letting her go before she experiences pain. I recognize that having a 10 year old child in the situation makes it more difficult, but I encourage you to coach her on making her dog's short life be a good one. This will be hard on your daughter, but if approached right, I think you could turn the experience into a largely positive one. This will be unbearably sad at times, but your pup doesn't need to know it.

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OK, I am a party pooper. I think that the breeder should not have sold the pup. (Or did she give the pup to you once she found out his condition?) Some PDAs can improve, and she should have waited to find out which way things would progress before she placed the pup.

 

Having said that, I am in agreement with the majority opinion. Let her live a good life. I would try to do more trick training to engage and tire the mind without stressing the body. BCs don't have to run to get the ya-yas out.

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I don't think the breeder should have sold the pup either. Different if you decided you wanted her anyway and gave her to you, but certainly no money should have been involved.

 

I'm with the rest. If there's nothing that can reasonably be done to help her, let her live what life she has as well as she can live it and help her end it peacefully when there's no quality left.

 

With Jovi too on trick training and mental stimulation to tire her out rather than physical (beyond what you can't stop her from doing by her own choice) if it's contraindicated.

 

Sucks that you and your daughter will have such a short time with her and perhaps difficult choices to make soon.

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Thank you all, I just wanted an affirmation I was doing the right thing. I have kept my daughter up on what is happening and what will happen. She has been to every vet appointment. The cardiologist allowed her in for the procedure. My girl is tough and there has been tears but still lots of hugs and love.

I had never dealt in all my years with a dog with heart murmure so I took the breeders word that it was not so bad, my fault. We were given 400.00 off to have the cardiologist visit. The breeder says she'll give her another puppy when Frisbee passes. I think I will pass her offer and get one before that time comes.

Buy the way we are really working hard on tricks. Right now Emily is sure she can get her to pick up toys and laundry clean up.

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Here is a pic of Em and her Frisbee getting a bath.

post-15718-0-01881900-1457509615_thumb.jpg

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Thank you all, I just wanted an affirmation I was doing the right thing. I have kept my daughter up on what is happening and what will happen. She has been to every vet appointment. The cardiologist allowed her in for the procedure. My girl is tough and there has been tears but still lots of hugs and love.

I had never dealt in all my years with a dog with heart murmure so I took the breeders word that it was not so bad, my fault. We were given 400.00 off to have the cardiologist visit. The breeder says she'll give her another puppy when Frisbee passes. I think I will pass her offer and get one before that time comes.

Buy the way we are really working hard on tricks. Right now Emily is sure she can get her to pick up toys and laundry clean up.

Sounds like you are handling it just right. Never underestimate children.

 

Imagine how long she would have been wondering what had happened to her pup if you hadn't taken her home. At least this way you are giving your daughter control over her pup's happiness if not about the length of her life.

 

It's a hard life experience to have to go through so young but she sounds very kind, responsible and mature.

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Sadly heart murmurs are far more common in the breed than many would acknowledge. I once bought a pup only to discover it had a large murmur. I gave the pup to a friend who had fallen in love (at first sight). She collected money to have surgery done. This bitch was spayed and loved til the end of her life. I've known others with slight murmurs that lived out long healthy lives. When a working/trials dog it will show earlier-usually in heat tolerance and stamina, being less than a 'normal' dog.

 

I have a feeling this may be one of the next 'big problems' in the breed if people don't let information flow freely

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We will see how it plays out, hopefully longer than we think. Actually the tough thing is the pap is mine, the bc is my other daughter's and the duck toller is dads. Everyone has a dog that they have and train. We are doing obedience with Fris with her instead of more intense types.

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I know it's going to be very hard for all of you when the end comes, but I think it will turn out to be valuable for your daughter even if no one would wish it on her. Frisbee is hers, and even in the face of pain and loss she's going to love and care for her dog. She knows already and is going to experience that we don't give up on animals -- or people -- just because the end will hurt more than we anticipated. I'm sure it will serve her well the rest of her life.

 

I was a few years older than her when my horse died. He'd become lame and despite the best efforts of the vet and farrier there was nothing we could do for him. It hurt. A lot. He was only 8, and we should have had years ahead of us. I was training him with the help of my instructor and he was going to be the horse I did everything with. He had so much potential, and he died at 8 -- very young for a horse. And we'd only had him for a year or two. I hated it. Looking back, though, I can see the personal growth that came out of the experience. If I could go back and change the ending I would, but I wouldn't go back and prevent us from getting him. Also, my parents decided to have him put down while I was at school as they felt it would be too hard for me to be there. I knew when it would be happening and they called and had the office send me a note when it was done, so it wasn't behind my back, but I still wish I'd been there. (Ironically, a couple years later I was home alone with another of our horses who colicked and died, so in the end I wasn't spared the experience of seeing one of our horses die... and be willing to bet the one I saw was a harder death. I know as parents we want to protect our children, but I think sometimes we have to trust them to handle the hard things in life.)

 

Maybe you could start preemptively looking into some resources to help her prepare for and deal with the grief.

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It is tough for everyone but I too say let her be as active as she wants to be.

I have been around dogs that have a poor prognosis for the future and do everything they want to do and lived far beyond what was expected. I know of others who die suddenly so we all need to live in the moment more.

 

I agree no money should have been taken for the dog. Not all vets are as good at picking up or hearing heart murmur so the breeder may have indeed been told it was minor while the cardiologist has much more experience in the area. I would send a copy of the specialists finding to the owner and their vet and go from there. If indeed it is a breeder who is interested in breeding working dogs and forwarding the breed then I would think they would contact you after reading the report.

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I was really lucky when I was young 19 ish I had the honor of working and being mentored about dogs by this great lady who owned a kennel. She worked her way up the ranks of the kennel herself to one day own her own and breed some great dogs. She taught me grooming, breeding, training and gave me first dog I ever titled.

The one thing she taught me is you stay and comfort your baby when it's time to let one of your babies go. I can still remember when I put my first dog down...I brought him to the vet and laid a quilt on the floor and just layer next to him an pet and cuddled till I told them it was time. My vet got down on the floor with us and it was so calm and sad but I know Frankie felt loved and was in a better place.

 

I have told my daughter this story and told her Frisbee might just slip away in her sleep or she may get weaker and weaker and one day you may have to make the decision it's time. I told her I would help her decide but it will be her call. I also told her dogs have a way of letting you know its time, you will know. Hopefully our vet will be able to come to our house if needed. She understands, and I also told her it's not all doom and gloom, one of the very best dogs I ever owned died when she was 15 months. We never got to compete together. She was sick alot at the end. (Cancer) but we packed more into that time than any other dog I've ever owned. We were unseperable and we just had alot of fun together being best friends. Gracie will forever be in my heart and even though the whole ordeal was tough I wouldn't have traded our time together for anything.

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You're a good parent. The things we experience around your daughter's age really shape the way we see the world for the rest of our lives. I hope with this dog she'll learn that how long an experience lasts isn't what dictates how happy or wonderful it is. That knowing you'll let go of something someday doesn't mean you should enjoy it in the present any less. Most people take decades to learn that lesson - or never do. Make the most of this dog (and it sounds like you are). Let her life be all the more vibrant for its brevity. Good luck, you guys.

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I agree with "let her live."

 

My first dog got sick when I had just turned 14. (A bit older than your daughter, but still very sensitive!) My father let me come to the vet when we were told he was terminal, and I have always been happy for that. Kids go through so much, even when we try to protect them, and I generally think adults underestimate them.

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