Congestive heart failure.
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Thread: Congestive heart failure.

  1. #1
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    Congestive heart failure.

    Hi guys, I am new to dog forums

    I was wondering if anyone has had any dogs of their own with CHF?
    My own Catahula, Zac received a very poor prognosis from the vet last night.
    He is 9years old, and has been with me since he was 2 and was diagnosed with CHF early last year after having passed out and he has been on expensive medication since but a few days ago his abdomen started swelling and the vet has told me it is now only a matter of time until his heart gives up completely. You can see his heart pounding in his chest from across the room and his respiration per minute is in the 40's.

    I am torn on what to do, as the vet was telling me to start thinking about euthanasia... But he is still eating on his own, able to toilet on his own without incontinence and is able to exercise late at night when it's cool. He still appears to be ok, but the vet saying the above has put doubt in my mind.

    Any advice from owners who have been through this would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member SydTheSpaniel's Avatar
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    I've never been through a situation like this before, but if your vet thinks his time is coming soon and you don't want to euthanize because he doesn't appear to be suffering, then I would just keep him as comfortable and happy as possible until he either starts showing signs of suffering, or his time comes on its own! I am sorry for such awful news, but he sounds like he's lived quite the long and happy life with you.

  4. #3
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I lost my chow when he was 9 to CHF. His came on all of a sudden though. He swelled out like a baloon-about 10 lbs of extra fluid on him. Lasix didn't do anything for him and I had to put him to sleep within a week of diagnosis. As long as your dog is eating fine and is able to walk to do his business I'd just practice watchful waiting. In Teddy's case, I knew it was time because he couldn't even get himself up to eat or pee. Big dogs tend to go downhill faster than little ones do with CHF. It sounds like you take good care of your dog and you will probably instinctively know when it's time. It was very difficult when I had to let Teddy go, but I knew it was the right decision.

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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    I'm so sorry you are going through this with Zac. I had an older Pom mix that was diagnosed with CHF when she was 12; she did very well on Vetmedin, with the occasional addition of Lasix. About a year after she was diagnosed, I took her in because she was struggling to breathe, she was coughing, and just looked miserable; the vet, who did not have much of a bedside manner, told me "she's old", which really made me angry. I knew she was old, but she was also sick!

    I changed vets, and Gidget had a good quality of life for three more years; she would tire easily, and you could see her enlarged heart beating against her ribs, but she enjoyed herself, had a good appetite, was the first one to the door to greet a visitor or go for a car ride.

    I had to let her go when she stopped eating, her heart failure had affected her kidneys, and she would get nauseated from the toxins building up in her system; we tried IV fluids and diuretics, meds for nausea, but she had lost her appetite, and I knew it was time to give her peace.

    I had to wait until I was confident that she wouldn't respond to treatment; she had looked so sick so many times, but had always rebounded, but the last time she just seemed tired.

    That is a tough call to make, but you know Zac the same way I knew Gidget, and he will tell you when the best and most loving thing to do is to let him go.

  6. #5
    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    I had a cocker like that. Vet started draining fluid off the abdomen weekly. Dog would be energetic, happy and eat afterwards. By the end of the week would start ballooning up again. So it would get drained again. Gave her an extra 6 months. Eventually, her abdomen didn't swell, but the lungs started to fill with fluid. I put her down the day she would not eat even scrambled eggs/bacon.

    Whatever you do, either get his abdomen drained, or put him down if he seems to have trouble breathing, starts coughing (with a wet spray type cough), or if he won't eat his favorites. Don't wait until his lungs fill with fluid and he drowns/suffocates. That is a terrible way to go.
    Spay or neuter your pet! Founding President Of Thread Killers Anonymous.

  7. #6
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    my sammy cross was diagnosed at 13, he had started to bloat and his belly skin turned a deep purple. I started him on COQ10 30mg daily (he was 65lbs) and then increased to 60mg after two weeks,, it did help to take down the bloating, and returned his skin color back to pinkish within 6 months many many more years with him. Sending good thoughts to you little one for my elderly gsds that were 90lbs I give them up to 90 to 120mgs just depending on the dog.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    On average, senior dogs seem to live about 2 years after CHF diagnosis. Most frequent cause seems to be a bad valve. The end is not pretty, b/c fluid builds in the heart, then the lungs, putting more pressure on the heart, and other organs. Typically, the Vet gives 3 different meds to alleviate the symptoms. As Spotted Nikes said, "Don't wait until his lungs fill with fluid and he drowns/suffocates. That is a terrible way to go."

    I believe that the Vet was telling you to be prepared, not to euth right now.The vet might do some drainage manually as the congestion begins to overwhelm the drugs. You might sit with the Vet to ask about palliative methods, costs, and what it looks like when it's time. You might also ask the Vet what he would do in your situation... Understand that Vets don't like to euth either, and they don't like pets to suffer. Sorry...

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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Congestive heart failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by SydTheSpaniel View Post
    I've never been through a situation like this before, but if your vet thinks his time is coming soon and you don't want to euthanize because he doesn't appear to be suffering, then I would just keep him as comfortable and happy as possible until he either starts showing signs of suffering, or his time comes on its own! I am sorry for such awful news, but he sounds like he's lived quite the long and happy life with you.
    Pretty much what I was going to say. Make him as comfortable as you can. I've never really lost a pet (I was out of the country when our family cat was PTS), but everyone I know who has lost a beloved pet has told me that our furry friends let you know when it is their time.

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