Advice for my poor doggie

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TeacherGrl7, May 6, 2012.

  1. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    May 6, 2012

    Apologies for the long-windedness...

    My fiance has a 10-ish year old beagle. She's the sweetest dog I have ever met and he is CRAZY about her. I am too, of course, but she is the first dog he got by himself as an adult, and I like to say she is his longest relationship. We rushed her to the emergency hospital in the middle of the night last Sunday because she was having trouble breathing. After a very expensive visit, and another one to the vet later on Monday, and a loss of a day's pay for me staying home with her, we were told that her heart is enlarged, her heart murmur that was rated a 2 out of 6 a few months ago is now a 4 or a 5, and she has Lime's that apparently has been around for a while.

    We were sent home with an antibiotic for the Lime's, a heart pill, and pain medication, and told to just keep an eye on her. The vet said most people see great results from the heart medication within a week, and many dogs live for years on it.

    EVERY NIGHT since then she has had trouble breathing. Her breathing is shallow 24 hours a day, but during the night is when it is at it's worse. She has moments around now (1:30 am) where she is gasping for air and has "episodes" as we call them. Taking her outside in the fresh air seems to help. She usually has another around 5 or 6, and then sporadically throughout the day.

    None of us has had a decent night's sleep in days-including the dog. I've taken her back to the vet to explain the shallow breathing- I even left her there all day Thursday so the vet could observe her and give us something to help. He said he didn't notice any breathing difficulty all day- 8 hours! And yet she was up all night long. I think her adrenaline kicks in at the vet and puts the breathing at bay temporarily.

    Does anyone have experience with anyone like this that can offer help? All the vet keeps saying is to wait and let the heart medicine kick in. Tomorrow if she eats we are going to double it. How long do we let this go on for? We have discussed letting her go, but during the day she is so herself- wags her tail, comes when you call her, is alert, she has even tried to catch a few squirrels in the backyard this week. To me, that doesn't sound like a dog that's ready to go yet....until I sit here now helplessly watching her struggle.

    I realize we are teachers, not vets, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 6, 2012

    Digital recording equipment is cheap. Set up a camera in the room where she does most of her sleeping and let it record all night. Take that to the vet so he can see what's happening.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 6, 2012

    I was going to suggest the same...record it. Since fresh air helps, could it be environmental?

    Wishing her the best. :)
     
  5. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    May 6, 2012

    I can't believe anybody else is up!

    We did consider videotaping her. I actually tried this afternoon, but of course whenever I thought she was about to cough and sputter and went to grab the camera, it stopped.

    I'm not sure about the environmental thing. It does make sense in a way, but nothing has changed in the past week that I can think of that would make this huge change in her. I have been noticing a slight wheezing in her every once in a while for the past few weeks that I wanted to get checked out- she actually had a vet appointment set up for that reason, but all of this landed us in the emergency hospital before we could get the appointment. But besides that little bit here and there, I feel like when we went to bed on Sunday she was fine and now all of a sudden since then she's awful.

    She is just breaking my heart- I'm watching her sit here and try to breathe with her eyes all glazed over, and I don't know if it's pain or all the medications that are doing it to her. I feel so helpless.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 6, 2012

    It's five in the morning and I am letting the bathroom floor dry...I have been cleaning since eleven. This place was...gross!

    I am sorry she is going through this and I am sorry you feel helpless...such as tough situation. My dog is MY WORLD so I understand your pain. :(
     
  7. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    May 6, 2012

    It almost sounds like sleep apnea!
     
  8. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    May 6, 2012

    My wife and I have been doing dog rescue work for thirty years. We've adopted a lot of old and sick dogs, "unadoptable" because they will inevitably get older and sicker.

    Ten years is not a very old dog, particularly for a smaller breed, but your dog is obviously in distress. If your dog is still eating, he is likely not in great pain, but he is suffering dyspnea nonetheless. It must be very hard for him.

    What I am working my way up to is that sometimes the kindest thing, the humane thing, is to put a dog down. It is very hard, every single time, but it is the kind and right thing to do when the time comes.

    I think you should ask your vet for a forthright opinion as to how much your dog is suffering.

    I hope the very best for you and for your dog.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 6, 2012

    I'm sorry your dog isn't doing well. As dogs age the elasticity in their longs deteriorates. Which can lead to the gasping. I agree Teachon. Talk to the vet and decide what is best next step.
     
  10. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    May 13, 2012

    An update:

    Saturday night was THE HARDEST that we have had with her so far. Since then, she has greatly improved, thank goodness. We took her to a holistic vet on Wednesday, who started her on an herbal medication to go along with her heart pill from our regular doctor. He specializes in heart disease in dogs, and said that from what he can see, it's "moderate" and her enlarged heart is "less than moderate." He also said she shows signs of a seasonal allergy, so this will be the worst right now and for the next week or so. We started her on the herbs, plus her heart pill and a half Benadryl at night for the allergies, and have seen great results. She is sleeping again and we have not been woken up to coughing- though she is definitely still coughing sporadically.

    Our vet, when asked point blank, said no he would not put her down if she was his dog. He thinks we are rushing to judgment and not giving the medication enough time to do its work. The holistic vet said the same, and told us to call him after two weeks on the herbs to follow up and see how she is doing. Then he will reevaluate and make changes if necessary.

    The problem, though, is that the poor dear still has shallow breathing. She is completely herself, running around the house, getting excited to see us come home, chasing things in the backyard...but this breathing thing is killer to watch. I tried timing my breath with hers and I was miserable after only a few seconds. The doctors keep telling us to wait and see, but it's so hard when what we are SEEING is not nice breathing.

    Thank you for all the responses. I apologize for not replying myself, but it has been such a long difficult week I haven't been back!
     

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