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Speak to me of congestive heart failure in dogs

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  • Speak to me of congestive heart failure in dogs

    Sorry if this topic has been done before. My quick search did not bring up any past threads...

    My beloved pound puppy who I adopted just about 13 years ago was diagnosed with chf three weeks ago. Symptoms first presented as coughing up blood; follow up blood work, x-ray, ECG showed early stage heart failure. Started meds (Furosemide, pimobedan, benazepril). Fast forward to her follow up appointment yesterday, and she's showing mild progression heart failure from three weeks ago...and also has increased Kidney function (enzymes?) so we can't increase the heart meds b/c we're compromising the kidneys. She goes back in a week to check her kidney function again.

    She has been a healthy happy go lucky little mutt her entire life. This is my heart dog. She had been a stray when I met her in a pound almost 13 years ago. ( She is probably around 16 years by best guesstimate) we've had a great run, but I want to keep her as happy and as comfortable for as long as I can.

    We have a great team of vets working with us, but I'd love to hear from anyone who has been through a similar situation as us. Besides the meds she's on a low sodium diet. what else should I be doing or asking her vets about?

    Bleck...I know we're in the twilight years, and quite frankly, it sucks.



    Here's a pick of my goofball
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...3&l=f2e6db5d6a
    Last edited by HappyHoppingHaffy; Dec. 18, 2012, 10:31 PM. Reason: Posted link to pic

  • #2
    Im sorry to hear about your pup.

    Have you consulted with a cardiologist? Lasix, benazepril and pimo are all fairly standard drugs used in heart failure, a cardiologist may be able to find alternatives or dosage suggestions which wont harm the kidneys any further?

    We have a cardiologist at our hospital, and clients consider him God. Generally, early stage heart failure is very managable. I really hope your vets can figure out the right dosages to keep your girl comfortable!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Hi Squish,
      We've been going to a local vet hospital (Tufts), and they do have a team of cardiologists. We've been seeing an intern (who has been wonderful) and are seeing an attending (who has been overseeing her) on the 28th. I will definitely bring up her meds, as you suggest, at her next appointment. I thought early stage was really treatable, so, admittedly, I'm a little shocked to hear she's (mildly) progressing...and in only a few weeks.

      Thank you for your suggestions... I really do appreciate. And, heck, I'd be willing to go to Canada for her if they can't figure it out here!
      Last edited by HappyHoppingHaffy; Dec. 18, 2012, 11:00 PM. Reason: Getting passports ready

      Comment


      • #4
        My doberman Grace had congestive heart failure and I lost her about 2 years ago. Grace was about 7 years old when she was dumped near my farm. When I took her to the vet the first time, the vet heard a heart murmur. We didn't do much about it because she was otherwise healthy. The vet said to watch for coughing and/or fainting. None of that ever occurred, but about 5 years later she started showing signs. The vet tried her on lasix and something else, but that didn't seem to do much good. We moved on to giving her Enalapril. She did okay on that for maybe 8 months, but I finally had to put her down when she started refusing all food, including hand-feeding roast beef. She was ready.

        Good luck with your pup.

        StG

        Comment


        • #5
          When a friend had it, he lost weight, but now measures the amount of fluid he takes in, every day. That really impressed me at the hospital, how much they limited his intake of fluid and his output.
          My friend actually got a better functioning heart doing that , among all the other things.
          Did your vet say he needed to lose weight?

          Comment


          • #6
            Really don't have anything to add other than I've seen early stage critters be managed pretty well once the right combo of meds was in place. So jingling for your girl.
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

            Comment


            • #7
              Hugs to you and jingles for your goofball. I lost one to CHF about 6 years ago. He was 15 and had been diagnosed the year before at 14. BuddyRoo is right - once we got the right combo of meds he did much better and was really very comfortable and happy for that last year.

              The unfortunate thing is that the meds are going to impact her kidneys - there's really no way around that.

              Just like StGermain, my guy ultimately stopped eating anything and I knew it was time.

              I'm so sorry you have to go through this.
              "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
              ~Lewis Carroll

              Comment


              • #8
                Just wanted to offer {Hugs}...making decisions like these are the hardest part of having a pet.
                Certified Spiritual Medium/ Animal Communicator
                www.heatherevebristol.com
                www.meliorastables.net

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you everyone for your suggestions and support. Jingles are needed and welcomed!
                  Lots of good ideas to bring up with her vets.

                  chall, the vets haven't said anything about her weight. I'll bring up her weight and the fluid intake next visit.

                  StGermain, I'll ask about the Enalapril.

                  Interesting to know that her kidney function may always be impacted. I didn't realize that.

                  I will let her tell me when it's time to leave this world. I work in the health care industry, and I know it's about quality of life over quantity. I want the quality to last a really long time!

                  Any good online support groups or online resources I should be looking into?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You may want to figure out what the root cause of the CHF is and then research that.

                    For example, my mom has A Fib. She has secondary CHF. She has to closely watch her fluids, sodium, get exercise, etc. Depending on the root cause of the CHF which is really just a collection of symptoms, not so much a disease in and of itself, you may want to/need to do different things w/ your critter.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can't believe this thread started today. I'm just beginning to deal with this with my 5 year old newf/border collie cross, congenital 3/6 murmur and subaortic stenosis. She started coughing a month ago, we tried the kennel cough meds, now she's on Lasix. I'm very worried. Probably going for a full cardio workup....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Heart failure and kidney disease unfortunatley go hand in hand. It may take some playing with the meds. Hopefully once the right balance is found your dog will feel better.

                        HPFarmette - subaortic stenosis can often be surgically cured. I would consult a boarded cardiologist, they will give you all the treatment options (from cheapto expensive) and can then followup with your regular vet. Its worth the extra time and money to speak with someone who specializes. My friend has a 10 year old dog who had SAS diagnosed at age 1. He's doing great.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          HPFarmette, hugs to you and jingles to your girl. This really sucks. I hope that maybe the surgery Squish suggested may be an option for you.

                          Sunny also has a murmur that has been progressing. She first had an x-ray and ECG in 2009. Everything looked okay, and until she worsened (or developed chf??) I was told there wasn't anything we could do. Even after the ECG three weeks ago the cardiologists were going back and forth as to whether it was chf or potentially bronchitis or even tracheal collapse.

                          Her paper work isn't with me, I'm on the road for work, but it is Sunny's left ventricle that's enlarged.

                          I'm pretty shaken as since her cough is pretty much resolved from the night we rushed her to the emergency clinic. Her energy level is back up and she's back to herself. It caught me off guard and shocked me to know she's progressing. I wasn't prepared to hear it.

                          I repeat...bleck...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            HHH - so sorry to hear about your dog. i have no experience w/ this so can offer no advice. Regarding support groups, etc, my only suggestion is to keep posting here; you will get some readers who may have been through this, but at the very least you will get tons of moral support. Also, on my current page there is a "similar thread" listed below re congestive heart failure.And yes "bleck" would be an understatement; I have gone through several days of reminding myself that every day was a gift with the dog I just lost - and that is sooo true. But it still sucks when they are ailing and we can't fix it. Hang in there and keep us posted- at the very least we can provide moral support and sympathy.
                            We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              thanks Squish and Happy for your commiseration....

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Merry Christmas eve all,
                                I'm bumping this thread back up to the top of the page, so it doesn't get lost.

                                I'm home so i can give her dx; Sunny was diagnosed with Chronic valvular disease, mitral regurgitation and chronic cough. (The cough if most present in the morning.)

                                For those of us going through what I'm going through, or something similar, I wanted to share that I've been making her own dog treats. I found a very reasonably priced food dehydrator on Amazon for about $30. I've been purchasing the lowest sodium chicken breast I can find. For those in the Northeast Stop and Shop thin sliced chicken breasts are 45 mg Na per 4oz. I dehydrate 2lbs at a time for 16 hours or so, then bake them @ 160 degrees (per the dehydrator instructions) for 30 mins. She adores them!

                                She looks good, and energy level is up...dare I continue to say normal. Back to Tufts on Friday, and I've made a list of all the good advice here.

                                Hugs to everyone and their pets going through this.

                                Merry Christmas from Sunny and me

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Hope you have a lovely holiday. Good luck on Friday.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Me and the Molly dog go to the cardiologist on 1/9. Can't come soon enough for me, she's coughing so much at night. She must feel like she's drowning. The lasix didn't help so vet took her off it. She's on Baytril, I guess "just in case" although blood work came back negative.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
                                      Me and the Molly dog go to the cardiologist on 1/9. Can't come soon enough for me, she's coughing so much at night. She must feel like she's drowning. The lasix didn't help so vet took her off it. She's on Baytril, I guess "just in case" although blood work came back negative.
                                      Good luck on the 9th, HP. I hope the cardiologists can come up with a good plan for Molly. The cardiologists in Sunny's case have been incredibly helpful, and came up with a plan for her. Previously, her regular vet did not think from her xrays (recent this year) of her heart/lungs, and previous ECG (2010) that she was in heartfailure. We initially went to Tufts to rule out Tracheal collapse, and it was the repeat ECG that was read by a cardiologist that has given us a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

                                      I'm waiting for a call back from Tufts. They want to change Sunny's meds a bit (doses not actual drugs). Sunny still coughs a bit at night and in the mornings. But otherwise she is acting normal.

                                      Good luck and keep us posted! Sunny and I are jingling for you and Molly!

                                      Comment

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