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I’m feeling a little helpless right now…. I have two 9 year old Shih Tzu litter mates; Paris and Nicky. (the Hilton sisters) We went out of town last week to visit my parents. They live in rural north east Louisiana. During the night Paris woke me up standing on my chest. She was gasping and coughing. I wasn’t sure what it was so I tried to comfort her but after a few minutes I knew that something serious was happening. The only emergency vet was a little over an hour away so I quickly got up and got on the road. I’ve heard enough about little dogs and congestive heart failure, but it broke my heart when the vet had to tell me. They kept Paris in an oxygen box that day and overnight, and the following morning I took her to a vet close to where my parents live. My parent’s vet put her on Enalapril, Lasix and Vetmedin and asked us to come back in 2 weeks. The first day/night home (Monday) I didn’t think she would make it. She wouldn’t eat, or drink and was breathing so fast. She slept next to me all night but I kept waking up to make sure she was still with us. The following morning she did drink water and she went outside and urinated. My mother and I had to force the pills down her but she continued to drink but still no eating. I didn’t want to stress her out with a 5 hour car ride (she hates riding in the car) and since I had to get back to work in Dallas, I left her with my mother. Mom and I talk multiple times a day, she is giving Paris pedialyte with a dropper and offering her all sorts of food, but other than a few tiny bites of turkey she hasn’t eaten. Today is Friday so she hasn’t really eaten anything significant in 5 days. The vet suggested my mother try a variety of foods but no luck. I’ve overnighted a couple tubes of Nutri-cal and I’m hoping she finds that appealing. I have a follow-up vet appointment with my parent’s vet in about a week and a half then I’m bringing her back home to Dallas for a cardiologist appointment on Nov. 12th. It’s killing me that I don’t have my baby with me! It’s a 5 hour trip over and tomorrow is Saturday, I’m thinking about driving over to at least spend the day to see if I can get her to eat something. I’m afraid if she won’t eat she won’t be strong enough to fight. Is this a side effect of the drug or is my baby ready to go? I have her sister at home with me but now every time she drinks water too fast and sort of coughs I’m petrified she’s got CHF too! (I’ll be having the cardiologist have a listen when we take her sister in) I know, and have read about dogs living years with CHF, I don’t know why I’m feeling so afraid. Paris was the runt of the litter and they’re already tiny (imperial shih tzus are about 8.5 lbs) she’s gone from 7.5 to 6.8lbs in about a month (the last time we were at the vet for a regular visit) I’m afraid she’s just going to starve down to nothing if she doesn’t get her appetite back soon. The pedialyte is great but it has no nutritional value. I can push pills down her little throat but how to I make her eat? I guess I"m just looking for support/advice, like I said at the beginning, I feel so completely helpless right now.
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this. Is she allowed to have some boiled chicken breast (no fat!) .... maybe that would be of interest and a little bit of nourishment. It always worked for my Boys when they were not feeling good.

My Boys are littermates ... I understand the feeling. I always worry Blu Boy is going to die from the same disease his Brother did. Leeo was also the runt. It is scary for sure! The best you can do is try and be positive. Remember ... our dogs can sense our emotions. I know I had to be brave when I had to visit Leeo in the hospital ... it was tough.

I wish there was more I could say to help ... but I am not familiar with CHF. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and in my prayers.
 

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Warm up any food you give her. Try canned dog food first, then any type of poultry (boneless/skinless), scrambled eggs and cheese, baby food (meat flavored). Worst case try Green Tripe. Most dogs love it and it is high calorie. Plain yogurt might appeal to her.

If she won't eat, rub Karo Syrup on her gums to keep her blood sugar up. Small dogs can get hypoglycemic if they don't eat. The Karo syrup can be absorbed through the mucosa (gums) in the mouth.
 

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We actually live in southern rural Louisiana...how strange! But I am sorry to hear of the diagnosis... I remember it was a confusing time for me. its hard, but stay positive. We didnt have the ability to see a cardiologist, but are in the loving hands of a very good vet. Basically, what I learned this week from my ordeal with Bandit, is the appetite wanes when the fluid in the lungs/chest builds up. In Bandit's case, his heart beat was so fast it couldn't pump the fluid out. My vet added vetmedin to his regimen and at around 48 hours he began to improve. Vetmedin slows the heart down so that it is able to fill up, and pump out, if that makes sense. Since he is so small, he is already at the max dose of furosemide he can take. If the vetmedin had not worked, that would have meant another heart issue was occuring. Since he had success with the vetmedin, From there, the vet added a second diuretic to piggy back the furosemide and he is slowly stabilizing. His breathing has slowed, he only pants when super exerted. Lemme tell ya, its not hard to excite a 10 year old, 10 pound chihuahua! Bandit right now is on a trip where he will only eat things he can lick up. He also is milking the hand feeding... I put his normal portion of blue buffalo lamb and rice canned formula in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and he laps it up out of the bowl or my hand. Give that a try, a little patience and a quiet room does wonders for a weirded out stomach.

A other poster told me pedialyte isn't nutritious but if she isn't drinking on her own definitely try to keep giving her the fluids with a dropper. Heart meds are strange, one gets rid of the fluid, the other makes them thirsty... So make sure she is staying hydrated. As long as her breathing begins to stabilize, you are on the right track. The vet may have to tweak the medications here and there, but dogs can live a comfortable life on these meds. I push Bandit's pills into one of those carry out treats that look like a little steak and are squishy. When he wouldn't eat anything else, he would eat that and at least I knew he was getting his meds. I thought I was close to losing my boy this week, and we hung in there. Some of the medications take time to begin working. But that vetmedin is truly good stuff. His new regimen includes: furosemide, enalapril, digoxin, vetmedin, a second diuretic, and an arthritis medication. Right now his arthritis is more worrisome than the chf. It just takes time, and i know its hard when it seems like there isnt much left. At the very last second Bandit showed marked improvement. I hope some of this was helpful or comforting to you...Keep the faith and hang in there! Big Hugs...
 

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I appreciate everyone's suggestions and support. I took the road trip to see my baby today. I'm glad I did. She does not look good at all. I stopped and got baby food, nutri-cal, karo syrup, yogurt. She won't have anything to do with any of it. It's been almost a week since she has eaten so i used a dropper to get her to take some baby food. her eyes don't even stay focused and she has a glazed look. She wasn't responsive to me or her sister. This isn't my Paris. I think I am going to have to let her go.
 

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I appreciate everyone's suggestions and support. I took the road trip to see my baby today. I'm glad I did. She does not look good at all. I stopped and got baby food, nutri-cal, karo syrup, yogurt. She won't have anything to do with any of it. It's been almost a week since she has eaten so i used a dropper to get her to take some baby food. her eyes don't even stay focused and she has a glazed look. She wasn't responsive to me or her sister. This isn't my Paris. I think I am going to have to let her go.
I am so sorry ...... You will do what is best for her .... a very unselfish thing to put your loved one before your own feelings. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
 

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I worked with a vet who would say that with dogs who won't eat, forget the bland diet, just give them the grossest, smelliest thing available to get them to eat. Would it be possible for her to stay on an IV at the vet for a few days to try to get some strength back? They could probably tube or force feed her - sometimes it only takes once or twice for them to remember they're hungry!
 

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We have been force feeding her with a syringe but the vet would not consider the IV, they suggested we try a variety (which we have...venison to sonic burger) her eyes seem to roll off to the side like she is losing focus. I can't stand to see her this way. She will stand and stare then just collapse and go to sleep. I am going back to the vet Monday but my concern is keeping my baby comfortable. She literally hides from my mother (the feeder of the pills and the one who forces food down her) i gave her the evening dosage of lasix (its small enough not to stress her) but i did not give her the other half of the vetmedin. And aside from seeming distant and unresponsive she is also shivering perfusely this must also be the side effect of the meds or maybe the not eating but i've been keeping her warm and they don't seem to be stopping. She is still drinking although we have added pedialyte to it to see if that will help.
 

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yes. even resorted to using it mixed with baby food and forced it down with a syringe. it breaks my heart to force it on her but i cant watch her starve.
 

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I just wanted to let everyone know that I took Paris into the vet today. There was nothing more we could do, she was so skinny and shaking all the time. She went to sleep peacefully and isn't in pain anymore. She has a very sweet litter mate/sister who will miss her. Nothing can compare to the unconditional love of a pet. I wish I would have had more time with my fur baby.
 

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I am so very very sorry.

Bless Paris .... may she run free. She is no longer in pain now. You did the responsible thing and are a wonderful dog parent. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May your fond memories of her help you find peace in the coming days and help with your grieving. I am so sorry.
 

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I'm so sorry.

Remember only the good times with her, because I know you've had many. It's hard, I know... but it is important to remember that she is in a better place, and her illness is no longer present.
Nothing will harm her up there. :) She's fine now, and running free with her newly made friends. <3 God Bless.
 
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