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Thread: Heart Disease in GSD

  1. #1
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    Heart Disease in GSD

    Has anyone else experienced the misfortune of a dog dying due to heart disease? :-(
    It seemed to happen very quickly, or I maybe just didnt notice. Its not easy forgetting that grunting sound with each breathe. What symptoms have other people noticed?

  2. #2
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    My family and I all came home one cold night in February of 1996 to find my beloved Whitney, an eight year old standard poodle, dead on the sofa. She died in an upright position looking at the front door (I assume waiting for us to come home). In fact my daughter was the first to arrive home and couldn't imagine why she didn't run over to greet her. That's how "normal" she looked. We called the vet and took her over (as we could not bury her in our frozen back yard). He said he felt it was a heart attack. She had always had excellent care, good food and never missed a vet appointment. He said sometimes it happens that way. He assured us that he had never found any abnormality in any of her exams and said that even if she had come in that morning for a routine visit he may very well have not been able to detect it. What you are describing is heart wrenching....to hear your dog suffer and wonder when the end will come. We never heard or saw anything amiss so the shock for all of us was incredible. According to my vet, Whitney did not suffer and so I guess my case was easier to go through although something like that is never easy. I would be curious, too, to hear of other dogs with heart disease and if it is specific to one breed or another.

  3. #3
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    The most common signs of heart disease are lethargy, poor ability to excersise, coughing after a period of lying down (cardiac cough), blueness of the gums and fainting. Many dogs carry a heart deformity with no sign that anything is wrong until the day the heart fails.

  4. #4
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    We had a Norfolk who died at the
    age of 12. (the vet feels that it was her heart.)
    She had a heart murmer, and the night
    before she died my husband said
    she had a slight on and off cough.

    I was out of town, and my hubby
    said she jumped off of our bed and
    went to sleep in the living room.
    That morning he found her with her eyes
    open laying in her bed.
    She is burried in our backyard with
    a stepping stone as a marker.

  5. #5
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    Carrie now that you mention it, we did see a couple of little foamy spots on the carpet that could have indicated she was doing some coughing before she died and just sort of coughed up some foam. I guess this may support our vet's diagnosis of heart attack, although I don't remember if we even mentioned that to him because we were in quite a "state" that night. How I wish I had been home that day.

  6. #6
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    Pam, sadly there was nothing you could do. Take comfort in the fact that she didn't suffer and she had a full and happy life with you.

  7. #7
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    Sorry to hear about your losses also. We all wish that we could have prevented our dog's death but we know it isnt possible.I do remember Moutro being a little flat that weekend. It was Easter weekend so I didnt spend as much time with him as usual. I know that feeling Pam of wishing we were there!!! But as Carrie said, we shouldnt think that. I wish I had found this Forum back in May 2000. When Moutro died I wanted to talk about it anonymously so people couldnt see me cry :-) (even though people did anyway). But the trek continues, given that we are dog lovers we move on and committ to another fury canine. Not forgetten the prior ones of course!!!!!!

  8. #8
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    Mayissa I guess you were not home either at the time Moutro died. I know that there is probably nothing that we would have been able to do for our babies, but I somehow think my presence may have been comforting to Whitney. Here it is 4 years later and it still hurts me to think about it. You loss is so much more recent than mine and I am glad that now at least you have found this wonderful Forum where others do understand what it means to lose a pet. I got a few sympathy cards from friends (specially designed for the death of a pet) and found these very touching. Even my vet mailed me a card. People who have never owned and loved a pet have no ability to understand what a loss it is.

  9. #9
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    Our Kaycee, a cocker spaniel, was 11 when she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It started with a seizure that never occured again, and apparently had nothing to do with the heart problem. I rushed her to the emergency clinic on a Sunday morning where she acted perfectly normal, but the vet did determine that something was wrong with her heart. We visited with our vet the next day and he started her on a regime of diuretics and heart medication. For eleven months, we medicated, she would get a little better, then digress again. He would give her a shot, increase her medication and it became a viscious cycle. I wanted to do anything to save her, as long as her quality of life was good. The coughing was horrible and she even took cough syrup with codine to quiet it. Finally, the end came when she dramatically lost about 14 pounds in a short period of time, started bleeding from her colon and could not control her bladder or bowels. He could not operate or anesthetize her to determine the source of the bleeding because of the heart issue. I made the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep. I left her overnight while I made my decision and so she could be observed by my vet. He called the next morning to let me know what I already knew...it was time to end her misery. I went there, alone, and they had bathed her and she was so sweet. I stayed with her and held her the whole time, which is something I never thought I could do. I shed my share of tears, but I am so grateful for the loving care of my vet and his assistants in helping me through it. I still miss Kaycee tremendously, but I knew I had done everything I could to extend her life.
    Sorry this is so long, but it is my "heart" story, from my heart. My heart is with you all in your sad stories too.

  10. #10
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    When my big, beautiful, large-boned German Shepherd Dog, Wolf, died (in 1984-and it still hurts), the vet said it was his heart. He didn't show any signs of heart problems. He died peacefully in his sleep, next to our bed that night. He was only 10 years old. Shortly afterward, his brother, Pal (my parents owned him) died of a heart-attack while going for a car ride. He never showed any signs of ill health either. Still hurts, so sad.


    ------------------
    ***Save a life, ADOPT***

  11. #11
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    These stories are so sad. A great many dogs are born with slight congenital heart defects that never show any symptoms. In fact it is one of the most common causes of sudden death in dogs. Please remember that all the care and love in the world would not prevent your dogs becoming ill or dying and it is sadly one of the things in life you had no control over. Remember your dogs were happy and lucky to have homes where they were loved and treasured.

  12. #12
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    Please accept my condolences for all your loses. Each story touched me so incredibly. I could not finish one without stopping to step away. I will give all my kids extra hugs tonight. Thank you all for having the courage to share your loving yet painfilled stories with us and further confirming my belief that animal love and devotion is almost beyond compare, and timeless. The love as well as the pain.

  13. #13
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    Oh KYS how I understand how you must have felt! It does seem then that the cough is indeed a symptom of heart disease, although I am sure not every dog that coughs has a heart problem. Probably all of our Pet Talk friends will now worry excessively every time their dog coughs. The unconditional love that our pets give us is something that is hard to understand, and when they are ill or have died it is extremely hard to get over. They truly are our "children." Thanks everyone for understanding!

  14. #14
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    These stories have all been so beautiful even in the midst of the sadness. I just want to thank you all for sharing. It opened some old wounds but our little furry friends were wonderful and it is a fitting tribute for all of them!!

  15. #15
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    A cough is not a total diagnosis to any illness or disease, merely one symptom that may be displayed, so anyone who is worried, please don't. Let your vet check out the reason for any coughing that lasts more than a couple of hours unless you are sure of the reason.

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