Heart, Liver, Adrenal Issues - Conventional vs Natural

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Heart, Liver, Adrenal Issues - Conventional vs Natural

This is a discussion on Heart, Liver, Adrenal Issues - Conventional vs Natural within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello - First, some info/background... (sorry so long in advance!) I have a wonderful little Pomeranian/Chihuahua cross fur-baby that just turned 9 years old in ...

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Old 08-21-2016, 12:13 PM
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Exclamation Heart, Liver, Adrenal Issues - Conventional vs Natural

Hello -

First, some info/background... (sorry so long in advance!)

I have a wonderful little Pomeranian/Chihuahua cross fur-baby that just turned 9 years old in May. His name is "Iggy". He was diagnosed with a heart murmur (Grade 2) a few years ago, but the vet at the time said it was common and nothing to worry about... nothing needed to be done.

He recently developed coughing fits whenever he tried to run and play, so I took him to the vet (a different one than the one we saw before). It was determined that he still had a Grade 2 heart murmur, and the vet didn't hear any fluid or congestion when she listened to him. So, the vet and I both initially thought he had a collapsing trachea since he never coughs any other time except when he gets excited and is active. So, we tried a drug called Cerenia to see if it would help with his cough. Well, it didn't make any difference and didn't work at all.

So, I took him back to the vet and asked if she could just go ahead and do some x-rays of his heart to see if maybe it WAS his heart causing the cough.

Unfortunately, she did find his heart to be enlarged and noticed that he DOES have a little fluid in his lungs (pulmonary edema). It appears he is in the early stages of Congestive Heart Failure.

So, the vet prescribed Vetmedin, Lasix and Benazepril and I have been giving him those drugs exactly as prescribed.

We also had a cardiologist take a look at Iggy via ultrasound to see exactly what was happening. They decided to check his abdomen for fluid during the ultrasound, and that's when they ALSO found his liver is enlarged and it appears he may have a tumor on one of his adrenals. (They said there is a 50/50 chance of the tumor being cancerous). Therefore, based on other indicators in his bloodwork, he likely has Cushing's Disease too.

They don't know what to do about the Cushing's Disease since removing the tumor on his adrenal is all they could do to resolve it. However, it would be too risky to do that with his heart situation. (They aren't sure why his liver is enlarged.)

Firstly - I hate continuing to give him these RX heart drugs because I'm fearful of them causing other issues with his kidneys and liver... but, for now, I've been giving them to him.

With the vet's permission, I've been supplementing his RX medication with CoQ10 drops as well as a supplement called "Formula CV" that is often recommended by holistic vets for heart disease/failure. I also give him Ark Naturals Heart Healthy treats (2 per day - I wrap 2 of his RX meds inside them).

As for his diet, he eats freeze-dried raw food (Primal and SoJo's Grain Free).

I want to add some things to help with his liver and the adrenal tumor as well. I have heard that turmeric has been shown to shrink tumors, so I'd like to try it (in the form of Golden Paste). I'd also like to try Milk Thistle and Dandelion to help support his liver.

But, my struggle - where I need some guidance - is regarding how to manage, and even possibly reverse, his health issues without giving him ANY of the heart meds from the vet.

We contacted a holistic vet locally, but it's WAY too expensive for us to see her. (We have already spent over $1000 on x-rays, ultrasounds and meds at the regular vet).

So, here is what I would LIKE to do:

- Take him off of the Vetmedin, Lasix and Benazepril
- Place him on a natural treatment plan to include all of the following:
----- For his heart failure - Formula CV and CoQ10
----- For his enlarged liver - Milk Thistle and Dandelion ("Liver Defense")
----- For his adrenal tumor - Golden Paste (Turmeric, Black Pepper and Coconut Oil)


1 - Does anyone know if any of the above would counteract one another or interact negatively with one another?

2 - Has anyone had any experience managing heart failure with liver and adrenal issues all at the same time with any success WITHOUT conventional vet-prescribed meds?

3 - If I continue his conventional vet-prescribed heart meds, does anyone know if I could ALSO give him all of the above supplements with the conventional meds without having any negative interactions?

My goal is to try to IMPROVE his health so that he may still have a full, high quality life. I want him to feel good and continue running, jumping and playing the way he loves to without going into coughing fits. I feel like the RX heart meds the vet prescribed are simply managing symptoms versus any attempt to IMPROVE his situation.

In the early stages of heart failure in dogs, I've read that it can sometimes be reversed with proper diet and supplementation.

Thanks for any experience and guidance anyone may be able to share.

~ JewlzieTX

Last edited by JewlzieTX; 08-21-2016 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Removing image that was too large.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:29 PM
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You really need to discuss these issues with a vet and not on an online forum.
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Old 08-21-2016, 03:53 PM
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These are all things that need to be discussed with a vet. Your pup has quite a few serious health issues that need to be managed correctly. Changing medications or dosages could potentially be deadly. And unfortunately many of his health issues can only be managed and not reversed. If you are not confident in your current vet, or they are not able to explain your pets health issues in detail with you then I would seek the advice of a different vet.

After reading that your vet gave Cerenia for a potential collapsing trachea, I was going to suggest getting a second opinion. Cerenia is an anti nausea drug, so it wouldn't do a whole lot for a colaspsing trachea other than help prevent aspiration, which still wouldn't be all that beneficial since it's not recommended to give Cerenia for more than a 4 day duration. Unless you decided against doing xrays, they should have been offered as a diagnostic option to you on that first visit. And again when you said they went straight to the Vetmedin, Lasix, and Benazapril after X-rays showed an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs it seemed to me like they were just grabbing everything they could as if they were on a sinking ship. Now all 3 of those meds are heart meds, that help with different heart issues, but a further work up beyond an X-ray is typically recommended to be sure exactly what's going on with heart. Lasix is the only med there where the pulmonary edema is a confirmation get that it's needed. Did the Cardiologist say anything about the heart meds and if he recommends your pup stay on them? And do any of the meds your pup is on seem to be helping?

Personally I would get a second opinion from a different vet hospital. I would get copies of the xrays, bloodwork, and ultrasound results and let the receptionist at the new vet know that your seeking a second opinion and that your pet has multiple major health issues that need to be discussed and worked up so they can set aside enough time. I would expect them to want to start over from square one and rerun some of the previous bloodwork and xrays to confirm the previous diagnosis.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:08 PM
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Of course, I already discussed these things with our vet and she didn't know. A conventional vet won't know how to do anything but prescribe drugs to treat symptoms... just like conventional doctors for humans. (... and yes Cerenia is an anti-nausea med, but it has also been successful off label to control coughing.)

I haven't changed anything with regard to what our vet has approved at this time.

Like I said, I contacted the one holistic vet in our area, but after learning about the costs, we can't afford to spend thousands more right now.

I've also been trying to find an affordable online holistic vet who might answer my questions.

Forums are excellent places where people share knowledge and experiences.

I love my dog so much and am simply trying as many avenues as possible in an attempt to gather and analyze information before doing anything different. Obviously, I'm not going to risk his life doing things I don't have solid information about.

So, I thought there might be someone here who has worked with a holistic vet before for one or more of the same issues. Not to mention, sometimes in forums you find people who happen to have just the right training to offer valuable tidbits.

Anyway, thanks so much for the responses. I appreciate your time.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:12 PM
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Oh... and yes... after the cardiologist did the ultrasound, he said to keep Iggy on the meds the vet recommended. :-/ Nothing has helped with the coughing fits that he gets when he gets excited, so the gave us some Hydrocodone to try. I just hate giving him all of these unnatural chemicals.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:33 PM
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Not sure why you think 'natural' chemicals are better than 'unnatural' chemicals or even what that means. I have treated hundreds if not thousands of cases of heart failure in dogs, and those three standard drugs are just that- standard. The only one of those three that seems to have any long term negative effects is the lasix which can be hard on the kidneys and deplete a pet's potassium as well... but needed if there is any significant pulmonary edema. Vetmedin is incredibly safe with very few if any short or long term side effects (other than expense), and benazepril is an excellent drug for many reasons- not just to help the heart not have to work so hard but to also combat hypertension (a common complication with heart disease) as well as early kidney problems. I personally would NOT discontinue any of those medications, though use the lasix as conservatively as you can as pulmonary edema worsens or improves.

As for adrenal tumors, even if malignant, they are generally slow to progress (most do not cause a malignancy-related problem within the average dog's lifetime), but the Cushings may need to be treated if symptomatic (NOT all Cushings has to be treated... it's more of a quality of life issue).

The liver enlargement is extremely common with Cushings, so if your pet has Cushings, that would explain that right there. Large livers are very common in older dogs and often go undiagnosed and many cases never seem to end up being a problem. I am not saying to ignore it, but it may not be that big a deal... really need to just monitor that one.

Can't comment much on the holistic end of things as I don't know much about that... but I do work with a lot of vets that do both eastern and western medicine. Not seen too many tumors shrink with holistic treatments, though some lymphomas respond to all sorts of drugs/herbs. But when it comes to heart disease, I would be very nervous about messing around with that- dogs on 'standard' heart meds for heart failure often live many many years and often die of something unrelated. I would not want to tempt fate and try something much less likely to work well.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:26 AM
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Lzrddr... thank you so much for your response. It was very helpful and made me feel better about keeping him on what was prescribed. I personally have chronic health issues and have to take medications that can cause other serious issues like cancer. So, I was just fearful of potentially putting my pup in the same situation if there were safer options. But now I have a better comfort level about the safety of the meds I'm giving him. I'll see if I can have another xray done to look at how well the Lasix has worked. Maybe he doesn't need it on a daily basis at this point. Thanks again! :-)
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