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We rescued Kern, a Cairn Terrier, from Circle Tail in Dec 2008.  His birthday was Nov 2007.  Kern passed this weekend from heart failure.  I'm trying to find out anything I can about this disease and if it's a common in small dogs.

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I have no personal experience with this but I am so sorry you have lost your beloved boy.

Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie


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Very sorry to read about your loss, and thank you for rescuing what must have been a fine dog. There are many kinds of heart failure. I think this usually means heart enlargement due to age, stress, illness that deprives the heart of oxygen, or just no known reason. The heart enlarges and in extreme cases can become arrhythmic. It is common in cats and so I am thinking it may be common in small dogs. Boston terriers, which are small, are well-known to be highly affected, and I think the related but larger breed of Boxers are also affected to a higher degree than other breeds. Great Danes are also affected, so clearly size is not particularly important in understanding relative risk. Like people, animals can live many years with heart "failure," which just means that the heart is not introducing and disseminating as much oxygen to the body as efficiently as it should (usually because the left atrium is enlarged). Cairns are not listed as a breed with a high incidence of the disease.

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On 2/6/2018 at 2:50 PM, Natalie said:

 I'm trying to find out anything I can about this disease and if it's a common in small dogs.

I am truly sad for your loss of Kern and although I can't shed much light on this disease for you, I can share that after Ruffy was diagnosed with a heart murmur years ago, he developed congestive heart failure last year when he was 9. He takes Vetmedin as prescribed, does not seem to exhibit any signs of weakness, coughing, etc. As far as I know, this is a progressive disease that will probably lead to increased symptoms and increased meds, so I watch him. My vet said for Rufffy to have regular checkups every 3 months. As PK says, size of breed does not seem to be related. Understandably, I was very unhappy to get this diagnosis, but have come to adjust/accept it and continue to enjoy Ruffy and his endearing antics one day at a time, just as he does! 

...This morning was a delight...As soon as we were out the door, He was barking at the newly fallen snow, romping jumping and burrowing into it. He ran for the entire hour we spent outside and he came home with his legs covered with small snowballs!😄

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So sorry you no longer have Kern with you. Without a necropsy it may be quite hard to determine the actual cause of a particular heart failure. Agree size of dog does not seem to be a prime signifyer.

How fortunate Kern and you found each other and you had those good years together.

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