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Thread: Sudden loss through heart failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Sudden loss through heart failure

    I am new to this forum but felt compelled to post the loss of my beautiful Millie at 9 years 1 week through sudden cardiac arrest after battling MVD & CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) for a number of months. She appeared to be coping really well on all the usual medications but after a day out at the coast she just collapsed and was clearly in distress. We rushed her to the emergency vets where they put her in a oxygen chamber and treated her with diuretics to remove the excess fluid. At no point did they believe that her life was at risk but after a number of hours of trying to remove the fluid she had cardiac arrest at 2.00am and sadly passed away. We are absolutely heartbroken with her loss, as we were totally unprepared to lose her so suddenly and at the moment struggling to cope with the loss. As I write this tears are rolling down my face as I am unable to comprehend that she has left us but part of me is grateful she is no longer in distress. When we look back at the last few months she had deteriorated and was struggling with her breathing & was constantly coughing & had a very high respitory rate. Part of me was in denial to a certain degree, as she was such an integral part of my life & I didn't want to lose her but this is a cruel disease and it appears that the heart can just give up for a multitude of reasons. We do have an older Cavalier who is 13 years old & they had been constant companions for the last 9 years and he clearly seems to be lost at the moment. If anybody out there has experienced this, please give me your stories and advice, as at the moment the grief is overwhelming & the thought of not being able to touch/hold or smell her again is leaves me heartbroken and feelings of great sadness.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    I see there have been a few views but no replies any feedback, thoughts or views would be welcome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Llandrindod Wells


    Anyone who has owned this breed will have some point have dealt with similar circumstances.
    My first "show" Cavalier had a grade 2 murmur at 5 years of age was dead from MVD at only 6 and half. It defines you.
    It's why I'm a fanatic about health ,the only positive to his loss was that he never had any progeny.
    I've had dogs live years (over 6) on medication. I've had others drop dead within days of starting medication.
    Each experience teaches you about the lines and how they react to this condition. It's why long term breeders/owners can be a font of knowledge.
    Bridgette Evans
    Svena CKCS

  4. #4


    It is odd how circumstances colour one's view. My first Cavalier, black and tan, lived to 15 ½: she went to one of the first heart testing sessions run by the southern Club and at age 6 was free of any murmur, she outlived her own daughter who had an audible murmur from age 5 but died after a third “cerebral accident”. We bought a Blenheim dog for my stepdaughter, son of a well-known champion, and he died from MVD at age 6. It is not at all reasonable, but it put me off particolours. At a show here a young man told me he’d ruled out owning wholecolours “because of their health issues” so I asked what issues? It appears that a few people here had bought from a certain British breeder who is no longer “on the scene”, and the dogs had had quite a few problems, especially with eyes. This is a young man who did a lot of research before he bought his first Cavalier and people had been, it seems pretty frank with him.

    This isn’t to say I haven’t lost a young dog to MVD, but a dog I’d bought had fathered puppies and although he died just after age seven, at least two of his offspring lived to over 15 with no heart issues: it’s just the luck of the draw how the genes combine! I do follow the French regulations so the dogs have an ultrasound every 18 months: this is good as it shows up any little anomaly before there is an audible murmur and about 70% of dogs at stade 1 and 30% at stade 2 have no audible murmur. The club allows that dogs at Stade I over the age of two and Stade 2 over the age of three may be used for breeding, but Stades 3 and 4 (the highest) may not. It’s the “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” idea, coupled with the observation that a lot of dogs who develop a slight murmur at a young age have lived to good ages with no great further deterioration of the mitral valve.

    I have the DNA tests for episodic falling and dry eye allied with curly coat and it is a bit surprising that so many dogs are carriers of the former. My own Hula is a carrier – from her father, as her mother was clear so in searching for a stud dog I’ve had to ask and so many people have said “sorry – he’s a carrier”. I’ve heard of so few dogs actually suffering from the problem her that I think people have just been lucky.

    Eyes: No problems with any dog I’ve kept but quite shocked that one I sold had retinal problems at a later age: both parents were tested clear. Ophthalmologists here don’t do litter screening: one explained to me that it is because quite a lot of puppies, any breed, have baby retinal folds which are innocent and it’s impossible to tell which are which. An eye health certificate isn’t valid until the dog is over 12 months.

    One day this week I had no fewer than three phone calls from people looking for a puppy: they’d phoned me because they’d found me on the club website as one of the breeders signed to the Charte de Qualité. I told them that most breeders do have their dogs health tested and suggested that they look on the SCC website, where recent litters are listed, and that if they looked for puppies whose parents are Cotation 3 or higher it indicates that not only have they done well at shows but would have had all the required health tests, plus DNA identification in now obligatory for Cotation 4. I said no responsible breeder would mind being asked to show them the health certificates and it is general that when a bitch is mated the owners of both dog and bitch give each other copies of their animal’s health tests.


  5. #5


    Millie, sorry for your loss.
    I lost my Alfie in 2016 after the Zoetis Versican Plus L4 vaccine destroyed his heart strings. Devastated doesn't describe it - and still riddled with self loathing and guilt.
    I'd been searching for a third cavalier when this tragic event happened. Luckily, I was contacted by someone on Facebook who knew of a cav that needed rehoming. Whilst my other cav Lexie had the recently arrived cat here, I knew that she would need another cavalier for company and help that grieving.
    So we went to Scarborough to bring Katie home.
    All three get on OK, although the cat does have the odd cat moment
    DSCF1485-Me-crowded-Katie-Chili-Lexie-November-4-2016.jpg DSCF1485-Me-crowded-Katie-Chili-Lexie-November-4-2016.jpg IMG_0762-Chili-Lexie-Katie-settee-March-3-2017.jpg

    Personally, it helped me and my grieving greatly to talk about Alfie on the various Facebook groups and on here
    Click this line to see Alfie's Picasa web photo albums

    Click this line to see Alfie's You Tube videos
    Mark, and my Blen - Lexie DOB 7/07/11, and my B/T - Katie DOB 01/12/12

  6. #6


    Hi Millie’s owner

    I like Mark, have lost a dog just after having the lepton vaccine. Vincent was a black and tan, 12 years old and did have quite a strong audible murmur: he was at Stade 4 but, as the vet said, compensated well and had no issues of fluid retention and so was not on any medication. A few days after the vaccine he began to cough and there was blood in the phlegm. I took him straight to the vet and saw a different member of the practice who immediately administered an intravenous diuretic as his chest was extremely congested. I then sat with Vincent with an oxygen mask overhis face while we waited for the oxygen chamber to be free. Vincent spent the night in it and Dr. R phoned the next day to say his condition had improved slightly and I could collect him if I wished. I did, and Vincent now had Cardisur and more diuretics. He wasn’t very bright, but after some persuasion, ate his dinner and I was able to give him his pills. I thought I’d let him sleep my room, but he wanted his old routine and asked to go out and then to go in the kitchen, where he usually slept with Cedric and Maxim. I noticed that he no longer ran down to the bottom of the field with the others, just trotted around, so presumably it hurt him to breathe hard. He was OK for a while, then one of the girls came in season. He got very interested and spent some time sniffing at the bottom of the door to the dog room and crying. I’d shut him in the kitchen with the baby gate closed while I’d gone to feed the girls, and when I opened to door to their room they all spilled out and ran to the sitting room. Too much temptation for Vincent: he climbed over the baby gate and began chasing the one who was in season. She was nowhere near ready to be mated (just as well!) so led him quite a dance around the furniture and it took me a while to catch him. He was breathing very heavily and I told him he was a silly boy. He ate his dinner OK after that and I shut the girls away and had just him and the other two boys in the sitting room. He lay on a big soft bed, breathing too hard, but was keen to go into the kitchen at bed time. The following morning I found him dead. He had been due to go to the vet that day, so I took him. This time my appointment was with Dr. L, who had administered the vaccine. I sat in the waiting room and Dr L came out to call me, did a double take and asked “Where is Vincent?” so I said “In the car” and then went into his surgery to tell him why. I said I would like Vincent cremated, and he suggested I drive the car to the back entrance of the surgery. He took Vincent’ body in and looked in his mouth while I told him the story of him chasing the in-season bitch. His theory was that it was too much strain on Vincent’s heart but said he had probably felt quite happy and may have been anticipating getting to her! I know, anthropomorphism, but it helps us! He had all the details of the treatment on the computer and said that Dr R had already told him the details but neither had thought Vincent would die. When I said that I had heard of other dogs suffering adverse reactions to the lepto 4 vaccine he said he would write a report to the French equivalent of the food and drugs agency. He also added that when manufacturers test vaccines they usually use younger, healthy animals. Certainly, my pups had had their vaccines the same day and had no adverse reactions.

    It was very distressing, and when I got home the other dogs realised something was wrong. I am sure that Cedric and Maxim had realised that Vincent was dead that morning: they were nowhere near him when I went into the kitchen. I’d wrapped him in a towel and put him on the sofa before I took him to the vet, so the girls hadn’t seen him. I had all the girls snuggling up to me on the sofa that night, and gave the boys and girls turns every other evening to be in the sitting room with me. I have noticed that Maxim has got a lot clingier since Vincent died, both with me and with Cedric, who is his great Uncle. I’m not sure that Cedric always appreciates Maxim cuddling up to him, especially when it’s hot, but he puts up with it.

    Logically I should be relatively pleased that Vincent, with a quite strong heart murmur had made it to 12 years and 4 months, but as he’d been doing OK until the vaccine I felt cheated. I suppose it is inevitable, but Maxim is also black and tan and sometimes I inadvertently call him “Vincent”. Maxim takes no notice, but Cedric snaps his head round as if looking to see if Vincent is really there, but he’d lived with Vincent all his 9 years. This is a photo of Vincent doing his "Elvis" impression when he was 11.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Janelise; 08-30-2017 at 12:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Wiltshire. U.K


    So sorry for the loss of your lovely girl, I can understand your grief.

    Having owned and fostered rescue Cavaliers for many years I have had losses with MVD, all very different experiences.
    From sudden collapse and those that have spent months or years on medication it is still very painful when they pass away.
    I have an old girl here on meds and in congestive heart failure that just keeps on surprising the vet and myself. About 18 months ago I was thinking that her time was nearly upon her but dear old Vera is still with me and doing extremely well, she is about 11 yrs old.

    I take extra care with her in the extreme heat/cold and she lives a much pampered life bless her. Vera is a "home and garden" girl as walking outside is a little too much for her now and I conveniently double up as a stair lift and 24 hr service for her!
    Every day is a bonus, I will miss her when it's her time.

    I hope you will soon be feeling brighter, you have had an awful shock. Treasure the lovely memories that you have of Millie and I hope your remaining Cavalier can mend your heart a little x

    Last edited by Cavielove; 08-29-2017 at 04:20 PM.

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