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My 11 year old Havanese (Bolt) was diagnosed with heart disease (Mitral Valve dysfunction). He is on 3 meds taking them twice per day. I'm just wondering how common this heart disease is for other Havanese dogs? I love the breed so much, and am thinking about whether I want to get another.
Thank you!
Jeri
 

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My 11 year old Havanese (Bolt) was diagnosed with heart disease (Mitral Valve dysfunction). He is on 3 meds taking them twice per day. I'm just wondering how common this heart disease is for other Havanese dogs? I love the breed so much, and am thinking about whether I want to get another.
Thank you!
Jeri
So sorry to hear about the diagnosis 😞 Our Charlie had a murmur detected just after his 8th birthday, and was diagnosed with early mitral valve disorder in an echocardiogram soon after. He will need them yearly to determine if there’s any effects- so far, his first follow up didn’t show any enlargement which is great, and his lungs are fine. If we do see enlargement, there is a med they can give to delay Congestive Heart Failure… our hope is of course that the progress will be slow enough to where the CHF never becomes a problem for him. My understanding is that it’s not uncommon in Havanese, but I’m not sure about prevalence compared to other breeds. I do know that a lot of breeders do cardiac testing on their dogs, and can probably tell you if any of the dogs in their lines have had CHF, though one of the breeders on here probably knows much more about the level to which genetics play in!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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It is not as common as in some breeds, but unfortunately, it HAS become more common in recent years. Still NOTHING like we see in, for instance, Cavaliers.
 

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I think valvular disease is common in some toy breeds but not necessarily Havanese. Boo is nearly 19 years old, and has no signs of heart, kidney or lung disease. However, my toy poodle had a Stage V heart murmur as well valvular disease. He treated with a cardiologist for a number of years. Still, he lived until 17, and his cause of death was kidney disease not heart disease.
 

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My 11 year old Havanese (Bolt) was diagnosed with heart disease (Mitral Valve dysfunction). He is on 3 meds taking them twice per day. I'm just wondering how common this heart disease is for other Havanese dogs? I love the breed so much, and am thinking about whether I want to get another.
Thank you!
Jeri
My 14 yo Havanese died of CHF in February and I had a Bichon die of it years ago at 15. It’s great you are aware of this early and can now treat and monitor him. I’m curious if Bolt (love the name) was on a grain free diet? I keep reading about a possible connection. I fed our Havanese grain free for a short time when he was young. The reports scared me so I switched to a grain diet. I guess I’ll never know the cause.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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My 14 yo Havanese died of CHF in February and I had a Bichon die of it years ago at 15. It’s great you are aware of this early and can now treat and monitor him. I’m curious if Bolt (love the name) was on a grain free diet? I keep reading about a possible connection. I fed our Havanese grain free for a short time when he was young. The reports scared me so I switched to a grain diet. I guess I’ll never know the cause.
Grain free diets are not implicated in mitral valve problems. They have been implicated in dilated cardiomyopathy. They are not related problems.
 
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This is the most recent information from the FDA regarding grain free. FDA FAQ’s

The grain/grain-free issue has been controversial because the FDA never recommended grain free diets be discontinued or said that they were dangerous, and there wasn’t any data to warrant the recommendations against either. They said they needed to study where the increase in DCM cases were coming from. The original warnings against grain free did not come from the FDA, they came from a random group of vets based on anecdotal evidence and a flawed review of data that has since been disproven. We still regularly hear about vets recommending against it, mostly citing heart risk or not giving a specific reason. The FDA has since stated that because of the enormous misinterpretation of their previous statements they will only be updating when there is significant research to share.

If a vet recommends against a specific ingredient, that is likely a credible recommendation. A vet recommending against “grain free” is too general and I would want more information. However, I do not see this issue by itself as an indication of a good or bad vet. Their answer means less to me than how they discuss it, which says a lot.

whether to feed grain or not is really not as important as other considerations, such as the quality of the food. Most brands formulate both.
 

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So grain-free diets are bad? I heard a "natural" raw food diet is better and not feeding dry kibble.
The FDA study was based on a few large breed dogs and don't necessarily apply to toy breed dogs like a Havanese.

What you feed your dog should be based on your personal research (including Havanese Forum) to generate questions that you should ask and discuss with your Vet.
 

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So grain-free diets are bad? I heard a "natural" raw food diet is better and not feeding dry kibble.
Some people feel that they might be FOR CERTAIN DOGS (probably not our breed) However, the initial study was quite small and flawed. Since then, more studies have made it look like it is not “grain free” that is the problem, but the replacing of grains with large amounts of legumes, predominantly pea proteins and soy.
 
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