Best Dog Enlarged Heart Medications?

by Lori
(Franklin, Wisconsin)

My 14 year old Chihuahua was recently diagnosed with an enlarged heart. She is 8.3 pounds (she gained weight due twisting her back and being put on steroids years ago). She has been unable to loose the weight.

She was put on Terbutaline BID. This dog heart medication works initially, but does not last the duration on 12 hours. I did get a 2nd opinion and was told that more than likely she is in stage 2 rather than 3. The tests that have been done are the following: CBC, chest x-ray, Ecko, serum porfile, EKG all blood work is in WNL's.

Do you think that this is the best medication that she could be on right now? The vet with the 2nd opinion is thinking that she may need more testing and more than likely be put on a different med. What is your opinion??

Thank-you very much!


Editor Suggestion - Dog Heart Medication

Hi Lori,

The correct medications for your dog depend on why her heart is enlarged and what her symptoms are. For the sake of this discussion, I’ll assume that she has valvular disease (probably the most common cause of a canine enlarged heart and a murmur in an older Chihuahua).

If she has no symptoms (e.g., cough, tiring more easily, difficulty breathing, etc.) but has an enlarged heart, some veterinarians will start treatment but others do not; the research is not clear as to which approach is best.

If she does have some of the aforementioned symptoms and they are caused by her heart disease, most veterinarians would prescribe some combination of furosemide, pimobendan and an ACE inhibitor like enalapril. Is it possible that the terbutaline is being used to treat another problem like a collapsing trachea?

I hope that helps.

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Jun 11, 2012
enlarged heart with seizures
by: Anonymous

my dog is a mix 115lb male.On phenabarbital for seizures which started after elective surgery 8 mons.ago.Now has enlarged heart.dr.not familar with.Yogi breaths extremely heavy,lets us know when its starting,lyes down or looks for help from us.I give him phenabarbital an it helps slow heart pace.This was elective surgery for fatty tumors,benign,that caused problems after.bad operation,never had problems.can't walk far,have to keep house cold,eats fine,all else fine, just the seizures which meds are controlling an the heart which we don't know what to do or give him.dr.can't help, no knowledge.My dog is gonna have a heart attack,its evident.Young dog turned 100 yrs old from operation.dr who did said he'd be fine.not.please respond.what can I do to help him?been to 3 drs.nothing.

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