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Congestive heart failure- looking for hope

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by Henrie Lee, Sep 11, 2021 at 4:11 PM.

  1. Henrie Lee

    Henrie Lee Forums Novice

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    Hi everyone, I hope you and your babies are doing well. My beloved Donovan was diagnosed with heart disease in December 2020. I'm feeling pretty discouraged and worried, because he was doing worse than ever just a few days ago, and is having a hard time again today.

    He started taking Pimobenden (Vetmedin) in January 2021. I thought he was doing pretty well until this May, when his breathing rate became too high on a regular basis. He started taking a moderate dose of furosemide. I believe that is also when his Pimobenden dose was increased.

    He stopped wanting to eat his food in July (though he was still very interested in people food and his peanut butter pill pockets!). He happened to run out of refills for the furosemide, and I noticed he seemed to feel better off of it. I got him some new food, and some heart supplements. He was doing much better for about a month and a half.

    On the first few days of September I noticed he was having an extra hard time breathing. His breathing rate was high, and sounded raspy :( His vet refilled his furosemide on a Friday and we doubled what he was already taking. He seemed to feel better after a day, but went downhill again. We weren't able to get him into the vet until Tuesday.

    The vet took an x-ray and performed blood work. The x-ray showed fluid in his lungs from congestive heart failure :( He put him on Enalapril and increased his Pimobenden. Due to the fact that he's now been on a high dose of furosemide for about a week and still has difficulty, the vet said it's probably advanced heart failure at this point.

    He wasn't doing great on Wednesday, but the vet told us to give it another few days. The positive difference on both Thursday and Friday were incredible! He was excited about his food, running around, barking, jumping, wagging his tail, and being his usual sweet, silly self. His breathing rate was excellent, and his nose was finally wet again, too.

    But today he isn't doing well :( his breathing rate was normal in the morning, but he seemed to be having some difficulty. He started coughing again. He ate his breakfast, but wanted nothing to do with his afternoon meds. I even tried giving him more of his food, which he also didn't want. This was the first time since July that he showed disinterest in his food, and he has never been disinterested in his pill pockets. His breathing rate has gone up, and it still seems like he's having a hard time breathing in a more normal manner. His energy level has been lower than usual again. The only difference I can think of is that it's much warmer today than it was yesterday, which he does have a harder time with.

    Has anyone else had a pup who seemed like they were at the end of their rope with heart failure make a turnaround and stick around for a little while longer? What about advanced heart failure?

    I'm desperately in need of hope that he can improve again and stay with us for at least a little while longer. Thank you for reading.
     
    KarenCurtis and Piper's mom like this.
  2. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I don't have any experience with congestive heart failure in dogs, but I'm so sorry to hear that your special boy Donovan is having a tough time. I know they can have good days and bad days with many illnesses, and as a heart patient myself I know that I struggle in warm weather. I'm hoping that some cooler weather improves your boy. Please keep us posted. Sending positive thoughts your way. :fl
     
    trini, Darren, Henrie Lee and 3 others like this.
  3. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

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    The furosemide is a diuretic to help him shed some of the fluid build up in his lungs. I don't have direct experience with a dog in CHF either, but I was a nurse for many years. The warm weather could definitely be contributing. If his respiratory rate is really high, he's struggling to get enough oxygen, and that would explain his lack of appetite. In people, we weigh them every day to check for fluid accumulation, harder to tell in a dog.

    I am really sorry your boy is ill. It's obvious how much you love him and want to have more quality time. You might want to make a kind of cooling mat for him to lie on if it's going to continue being hot.

    I sincerely hope you can get more quality time, but it may be a bit of a roller coaster. Did your vet give you a prognosis for him going forward?

    Please know you and Donovan are in my thoughts; we've all been there while our older dogs confront health issues and it is beyond tough. :hugs
     
    trini, Darren, Ron Atkinson and 6 others like this.
  4. trini

    trini Premium Member

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    I am so sorry your beloved boy is struggling with CHF. Several years ago our Sheltie boy, Rascal, had CHF and with medications, limited activity esp in warm humid weather, and food that was very low salt he had almost 2 years post dx before meds, etc., no longer gave him quality of life. There are two diuretics that work slightly differently from Fursoemide and might be worth asking your vet about...Torsemide and Sprironglatone...when Fursoemide no longer works well either of these might work better for Donovan. Oxygen therapy might also help him through a tough spot...although we never did the oxygen therapy for our Rascal. And there are appetite supplements that your vet can prescribe to help him want to eat...the one our vet typically uses is Mirtazapine. I hope some combination of meds/therapy can give your boy more quality time. It is heartbreaking seeing a dog, who is such a big part of your life and your joy, struggling.
    Trini
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021 at 7:22 PM
    Darren, Ron Atkinson, Sharon7 and 6 others like this.
  5. trini

    trini Premium Member

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    Henrie Lee likes this.
  6. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    I am so sad to hear your struggles with Donovan‘s CHF. I wish I could offer some insights that could help. I see Ann, Sharon, and Trini offered some great advice! They are our most experienced forum members. I at least hope something they offered can ease your mind. It is very apparent how much you love him and want more good days. You are doing everything possible to help him. You are a great dad and I hope you can get him a bit of relief soon. Please take care of yourself too. We all know the toll it takes on us when are pups are not feeling well. Keep us posted!
    Virtual hugs to you both!❤️
     
    trini, Darren, Ron Atkinson and 4 others like this.
  7. Ron Atkinson

    Ron Atkinson Forums Enthusiast

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    Prayers an best wishes sent your way. I hope Donovan can feel better soon and that you can get some rest.I know it's not easy being a caregiver.
    Please let us know how you both are doing
     
    trini, Darren, Sharon7 and 3 others like this.
  8. Henrie Lee

    Henrie Lee Forums Novice

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    Thank you everyone for your kind words. Tonight has been incredibly hard. I got a call when I was at work from another vet at the office. She was much more harsh about his condition. She told me that he has a grade 5 out of 6 heart murmur, and we "could wake up to find him dead tomorrow." That alone was hard enough to hear. When I got back from work he was very happy to see me. But he started coughing, and fell over onto his side. When he got back up, he just fell over again :( This is the first time I have seen that happen to him.

    His breathing rate decreased to a more normal rate, but has still been shaky. He was happy to eat his dinner and his pill pockets though. But I'm feeling more hopeless than ever now :( He is so terrified of the car that I'm worried he might have a heart attack in there out of fear if I try to take him to the vet again. We're currently in between housing, staying out of state with family, 3 hours away from his vet. The local vets aren't accepting new patients for over a month at this point. The emergency vets are nearly an hour away.

    We're going to need a miracle.
     
    Sandy in CT, Darren and Piper's mom like this.
  9. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I'm sorry to hear that Donovan is still struggling. It's too bad the vet you spoke to made things sound so hopeless. Trini gave some excellent information on heart meds and I wonder if you get him to an emergency vet if they can tweak his medications and make him more comfortable. Sometimes the emergency vets have cardio specialists available. It might be worth a try. Sending gentle pats to your precious Donovan.
     
    Sandy in CT, trini, Darren and 4 others like this.
  10. trini

    trini Premium Member

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    I am so sorry things are not going well, but am appalled at how the vet was not more compassionate when she talked to you even if your boy's condition is possibly not sustainable. I agree with Ann if there is any possibility of getting him seen at the nearest emergency hospital although it sounds that even that is a considerable distance from where you are right now. My heart goes out to you, I know from experience how horribly devastating it is emotionally and how helpless you can feel at a time like this I will pray for a miracle for your beloved boy.
    Trini
     
    Darren, Ron Atkinson, Ann and 3 others like this.

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