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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I haven't been on the forum for awhile but I remember what great input I received here when my two old dogs, Wiley and Teddi were sick. So here I am again, with the last dog of my pack, Boomer who has just been diagnosed with early stage heart failure at the age of 12. I am hoping to get advice from those who have dealt with this, and hopefully get some questions answered as well.

For several months, Boomer has had a sporadic cough/gag thing going on. I only noticed it because I thought he was about to throw up, but he never did. It really showed up on my radar as it became more frequent, and then it was just put on my list of things to mention to the Vet on his next visit. One weekend he had a particularly bad episode of it where he was running outside every few minutes to eat grass like a starving cow. So, he went to the Vet that following Monday and at first the doc thought it might be something like bronchitis and prescribed antiobiotics and gave him an anti-inflammatory shot and if that didn't do it, we'd do X-rays. Well, he was quiet for almost a week but that weekend, the same thing happened so back to the Vet the following Monday for X-rays, result being fluid on the lungs and an enlarged heart.

He was prescribed a low starting dose of Lasix, 50mg twice a day as needed. He's a big boy at a 121lbs and I'm really wondering if it's doing any good at all. I am not seeing an increase in urine volume or any increased thirst. This is his third day on Lasix. He's had no bad coughing spells but coughs 2-3 times a day. Appears very fatigued...except at the moment he is barking fiercely at the PG&E man...but not long as he has just laid down, exhausted...His appetite has not been good the last few days, but today he ate his wet food so maybe he is improving.

Should I be worried that his urine output has not increased? How long does it take Lasix to work? And why does he eat so much grass? (I'm really worried that there won't be any left at the rate he's going!) And does Lasix effect the appetite? As it progresses, what can I expect? How long do dogs with this condition generally live? I've read that once symptoms appear, 6 months to a year is average and that made me cry for days but if that's the truth, then I want to know it.

I know there's no cure for this, but I just want to make sure that he gets every treatment option available that will improve his time with me as well as extend it. I asked the Vet about a change in diet and he said not right now. He eats a grain free dry food and Blue Buffalo and Canidae canned. As far as check ups go, he said every 3 months if nothing comes up.

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to your input.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have his chest x-rays been rechecked since starting the Lasix? That's a better gauge of how much it is helping vs. urine output.
No. It's only been 4 days since his first one. It's just bewildering because he was peeing MORE before the Lasix. Before, he was asking to be let out 3-4 times a day and now I have to insist that he get up and go out and sometimes he still doesn't pee.
 

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I had a Cocker with Congestive Heart Failure. She was on Lasix and 2 heart meds. I found she'd eat food if I heated it in the microwave. just check temp thoroughly before feeding as part can be cool and part scalding. Eventually I was feeding her scrambled eggs/chicken, pretty much anything to get her to eat. He abdomen swelled like a water balloon and Lasix wasn't getting rid of the fluid (and she would stop eating then). So then I had her abdomen drained and they'd take off about 2 lbs of fluid, and then she'd want to play with her toys and eat. We did that weekly for about 6 months, until her lungs started filling with fluid and I had her put down.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Have you gone to see a cardiologist? That would be my first step since they are specialists. Here is a list of them

http://www.cavalierhealth.org/Cardiologists.htm
Thanks for the link. Do you need a referral from the regular Vet?

Spotted nikes: The Vet said nothing about fluid in the abdomen, just his lungs but I wonder. He is eating a bit better now. He still likes his cookies. I found some that didn't have salt. He doesn't like them as much at the Blue dog bakery cookies but he eats them. I've been putting his pill in pill pockets but found out that the dog pill pockets are high in sodium so switched to the cat pill pockets, which my cat won't have anything to do with anyway.
 

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No problem. You do generally need a referral, just tell your vet you would like to seek further testing and want to bring him to a cardiologist. They should have no problem at all referring you to one. My vet had detected a slight arrhythmia with my dog and right away suggested we see a cardio doctor. We got in the next day and they ran some tests (EKG and an echo) and it was very helpful. Everything checked out great thank goodness. As to be expected, it's not a cheap visit, it was $400 where we went (luckily we have a pet insurance plan that covered about $300 of it) but it's very helpful. If your not super familiar with what an EKG and an Echo will tell you (I had no idea really) here's a link that may help

http://ekgmachinenews.com/what-is-the-difference-between-an-ekg-and-an-echocardiogram/269/
 

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I have a 15 y/o pom mix who had the same symptoms when she was diagnosed with heart failure three years ago; my vet put her on Vetmedin, which has been a miracle drug for her. Her breathing and coughing, listlessness, and poor appetite improved within a week, and she's had an excellent quality of life these last few years.

To my understanding, Vetmedin increases the heart muscle's ability to contract effectively, thereby increasing blood flow perfusion; I don't know if it's appropriate for all cases of heart failure, but I can certainly say it has made a huge difference in my girl's life.

Lasix will pull extra fluid out of the body, but doesn't address the heart's failure to pump effectively; she's had to take Lasix for short periods of time when her heart failure worsened due to a bronchial infection, but my Vet was able to wean her off of it when the infection cleared.

Good luck, hope you get the right meds to make your boy feel better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, what concerns me is that I know there are other meds out there in addition to Lasix and yet we haven't explored those yet and as long as Boomer does okay on the Lasix, Vet said he wouldn't need to see him again till July. So I think we will see a cardioligist.

Three years is good! I can deal with three years. Not really but it sure sounds better than 6 months to a year. No amount of time can be enough when you come down to it.

He does seem better the last few days. He's not coughing as much, and he's more alert and active and he's eating better so the Lasix must be working to get the fluid off his lungs.

Thanks for the replies. I always feel better after input from this board!
 
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