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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, new to this forum
I do not know what to think now, we thought our little Mitsy had conjestive heart failure but turns out that her main problem right now is her right lung.
I would like your input as what you think
We have an 11 year old (in november) female chihuahua that's been the perfect picture of health all of her life other than a slightly colapsed trachea due to her previous owner (of 6 months time) using a colar.
In the last year, she's developped coughing in the morning, or evening, restlessness. We went to our vet and he told us she had a heart murmur (which we knew of but it was not severe until just recently). We did an ultrasound at the local general vet practice and xrays and the vet put our Mitsy on vetmedin and lasix. The lasix helped the coughing but her breathing rate has dramatically increased in the last month. enough for us to feel alarmed. The vet increased the lasix, no more coughing but yet, she still struggles for air. she has lost appetite and last night she kept her head up in the air. We went to emerg and lasix shot was given and we then drove her to a vet hospital in Ottawa. She was on oxygen. She saw the cardiologist and he did chest xrays, echocardiogram, blood pressure, bloodwork and urinalysis. His diadnosis today was: Severe mitral regurgitation at risk for congestive heart failure. Right lung consolidation, possibly bronchopneumonia or mucus entrapment.

The cardiologist also looked at the original xrays taken one year ago from our vet and is very uncomfortable with Mitsy being on Lasix, he says she isn't into congestive heart failure. Her valve is diseasy, there is a severe murmur but not congestive heart failure. I wish we had gone to him in the first place. He says Mitsy does have severe heart disease, very leaky valve but did not see fluid around her heart but did see mucous in her lungs. So he says she is not in heart failure yet.
Now, I was wondering why if Mitsy was on lasix, the cough would go away, but yet, she was still breathing really fast and sometimes hard.
Also, she has NO trouble sleeping on her side or her stomach, that's never been an issue. Her coughing is not the weezing type, more like a dry ackkkk gag type that stops when done. She does cough after excitement and running or hot humid weather (we control that now).
Meds for Mitsy (8 lbs) now:
Fortekor ACE inhibitor
Norvasc calcium channel blocker for high blood pressure
spiroton diuretic
vemedin
theo bronchodilator
clavamox antibiotics
flovent
salbutamol

After giving meds last night for the first time, a couple hours passed then she started panting heavyly and that lasted about 1 hour or so. Her heart rate is also high at around 180 and so is her breathing rate but we hope that goes down with the medication she is on now.
Reading about the meds, the inhalor and the Theo can cause exhitment and shakyness as well as rapid heart rate. Nervous about giving her meds again tonight. This morning went well, other than just trembling, no heavy panting. The evening meds are more, they are a once a day dose. Anyone has idea??
 

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1. It sounds like your Vet did what he thought was right. Unfortunately, a more detailed examine was needed, resulting in a more detailed diagnosis... This happens with human physicians all the time ... assume the more common problem and treat it, if that doesn't work, then explore differential diagnoses to account for the new information.

2. I believe that part of the cough may be due to the trachea irritation. The pneumonia can cause many of the other breathing issues.

3. In addition, the valve issues can cause heartbeat problems that can irritate the lungs to cause some of the coughing.

The trachea and valve problems, alone, can "rub" the lungs the wrong way - like someone thumping the base of your throat - and cause the cough. The pneumonia adds a different cough, and makes breathing difficult, as does the valve problems.

I'm not a Vet, so I don't know why Lasix affected the coughing. It is a diuretic that reduces fluids, may increase peeing, may reduce swelling, and may reduce high blood pressure. The reduced swelling may have helped coughing.

I am confident that if you write down a list of Mitsy's symptoms that the cardiologist or your main Vet can explain things in more detail ... Just keep saying "I don't understand" if they use medical terms, rather than understandable terms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for this explanation
yes, it makes sense and sure hope the medications help her soon. Her appetite is next to nil but she is starting to show some interrest. I just fed her 3 little green beans, a slice of raw potatoe, a few dog treats. she doesn't want anything like meat even so have to find the little bit she will eat (more like nibble).
I am concerned about the heavy panting she had for an hour after the meds last night, probably a side effect of the ventolin or salbutamol of Theo. Makes me want to not give her the Theo until I can talk to the vet again but I am not a doctor, I don't know what makes her pant like that
 

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My 13 year old Border Collie died of heart failure a year ago. She never showed any symptoms until about 5 days before her death. She lost her appetite and became very thin quickly. She would eat, but only if it was something REALLY tasty. She then started having fast breathing for about the last three days (not panting, but rather through her nose). I left her at the vets office one night so they could do some tests and they called me the next morning and told me she had died.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry about your loss Bostonluvr :(
Mitsy is breathing that way, thru her nose. The breathing goes down when sleeping. This morning it was between 28 and 36 bpm which is good. But awake, it stays between 70 and 80.
She did the panting thing again after her meds last night but it did bot last. She was having difficulty breathing before meds(holding head up) thougt I would have to bring her back to emerg but after meds, she got a bit better.
She is treated for pneumonia cardiologist says she isn't in heart failure (yes severe valve leakage but not heart failure).
Wish she would eat a bit
 

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Sorry about your loss Bostonluvr :(
Mitsy is breathing that way, thru her nose. The breathing goes down when sleeping. This morning it was between 28 and 36 bpm which is good. But awake, it stays between 70 and 80.
I counted Nikki's as high as 96 bpm the last night she was home. It's not easy hearing them breath like that I know. She slept beside my bed, so I listened to it all night.

The only thing I could get her to eat was canned stew type food with the gravy in it. She loved the canned food by Merrick, like "Cowboy cookout" or "Grammy's Pot Pie", those were her sick foods when she wouldn't eat anything else. It's expensive, but when my babies don't feel well I give them what they want.
 

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Various smells may encourage her to eat:
1. A little ketchup mixed with water, spooned over food.
2. Chicken or beef broth, or gravy spooned over food.
3. Liver treats or smelly cheese
4. shark liver oil

Again, you're not feeding these to her, you adding them as a smell condiment to enhance appetite. Sometimes a dog will eat things that she sees and smells you eating. Normally, I discourage feeding a dog when you're eating, but I don't expect this to become an unmanageable bad habit in your individual case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the tips! we ended up getting a metrazapine prescription, worked great! no longer required, she is eating again, just being fussy now but that's ok. She loves peas again, so makes for a nice snack, as well as yogourt. I am happy to see she is eating cheese and chicken, right now not concerned with dog food, as long as she eats.
She is doing much better, breating not normal yet but getting there slowly. She seems a lot more comfortable, playing and happy again. Cardiologist saved her. We would have lost her if we hadn't gone to him.
 
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