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toothpaste and heart murmurs

My vet heard a heart murmer and said he will start coughing (which he has just started) has anyone had this problem and how to deal with it?

Also are there alternatives to dog toothpaste? human toothpaste? any suggestions?

many thanks
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Avatar universal
As a substitute for doggie toothpaste, you can use an old-fashioned mixture of baking soda and salt.  Dogs usually like the doggie toothpaste better.    

As for the heart murmur, the treatment depends on exactly what type of heart defect is causing the murmur.  Since your vet predicted that the dog would start coughing, and the dog has in fact started coughing, I take it that it is not a benign murmur.  In my nonprofessional opinion, most likely the murmur is due to valve disease, and the cough is a symptom of congestive heart failure.  You will have to check that out with the doctor and see if I am right, because only a vet who examines your dog can tell you that for sure.  Heartworm disease also comes to mind, but I take it the vet would have done a heartworm test, and since you don't mention heartworms, I guess that wasn't it.

In humans, valvular disease with secondary congestive heart failure would be treated with open-heart surgery to repair or replace the valve, but that that is very rarely done in dogs.  In fact, valve replacement can't be in dogs at all, as far as I know.  In very rare circumstances, valve repair can be done, IF it is the mitral valve that is the problem and IF everything else is right for a repair job.  You would have to go to a very advanced veterinary center (in the US it would be one of just a few veterinary schools), the surgery would be horrendously expensive, and there would be no guarantees as to the outcome.  

I do know one person who had her dog's mitral valve repaired as a puppy,  The surgery was done at Texas A&M Veterinary College and cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.  The dog lived to be 7 years old and ultimately died of cardiac complications but was healthy and happy for about six years out of the 7. At the time he died, the repaired valve was still functioning well, but scar tissue from the old surgery eventually caused serious problems with heart rhythm, and the dog died from that.  

If open-heart surgery is not an option, which in the vast majority of situations it is not, then I would ask my vet what can be done to keep the dog comfortable for as long as possible.  Sometimes diuretics like Lasix can be used to extend a dog's life and to help maintain quality of life.

I have to ask, what did the vet say about the murmur, besides, "He will start coughing."  
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Avatar universal
Well, I'm only guessing about what might be wrong.  But I can't imagine doing any kind of surgery on a 17 year-old dog, much less heart surgery.  There would be too great a chance that the dog might not even make it through the operation.
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Avatar universal
thank you, that was informative.  My vet seemed to be implying that  an operation may  be too hard on my pooch (he is 17 and basically healthy but for the occasional coughing).  I think I would agree with him.  Aside from the cost with an elderly dog a positive outcome diminishes with age.  I appreciate your information
many thanks
P
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Avatar universal
many thanks for you comments, I didn't think of it but internet may be a good place to search (ie Craigs list etc)
thanks again
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675347 tn?1365460645
COMMUNITY LEADER
No you can't use human toothpaste for dogs. I think there's something in it which is toxic for dogs. The best toothpaste I've found is "Virbac" I think it's made in Germany, and is available where I live in England. It doesn't need rinsing, which so I've heard, some of them do. It contains enzymes which work on plaque bacteria and keep the gums healthy. I don't know if you can get that where you live? Unfortunately it's not very cheap, but a tube does last a long time. It's poultry flavour and my dog loves it.
Sometimes you can find this toothpaste for sale on ebay, which can be cheaper than buying it at the vet's.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about the heart problem. Has your vet suggested any treatment for when the coughing starts?
Hopefully someone who has experience of this will post.
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