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Rate of progression of Congestive Heart Failure in small breeds?
ROXYDOG13 posted:
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the rate of progression of CHF in small breeds, including Pomeranians.
Our Pomeranian (9yrs old) was diagnosed with a heart murmur about 3 years ago. We went to get her teeth cleaned which required her to be put under due to a prior blood problem. They recommended we have the heart murmur checked out (I believe the xrays showed some fluid buildup near her lungs?)

We had her checked by a cardiologist who said the murmur is small and to watch for signs of progression (heavy breathing, cough, etc). And schedule another checkup for 9mo.

Well, 2 days after returning from the vet she has begun to cough, in such a way that it seems like she is trying to get something up. It is every few minutes while she is walking around, though it didn't seem to wake her up at night :
I mention this because the primary symptom I was told to watch for was coughing about 2 hours after they try to go to bed. She seemed to sleep without much problem, though coughs more after jumping onto the bed or running up the stairs.

I guess my main question is, after a cardiologist JUST looked at her (ECG,XRAY,Bloodwork was all done) and she said it was a small murmur, is it just coincidence that she has a cough now? Isn't progression a little slower than this? Perhaps bronchitis?

I know I need to take her back, but its expensive to see a specialist in the same-day (emergency) and her normal vet would just refer us back to the cardiologist. I thought I'd look for some experience online first to confirm if I'm just being paranoid, or if it really can progress this fast. I don't know whether this is something where she has to be brought in today or something that can be a scheduled appt with the specialist for this week. (Is waiting a few days too long?)

She did not do anything too extraneous in the past few days other than be outside in the heat for a bit.

She does NOT have labored breathing. Just the cough.

Thank you.
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
I am so happy to learn that you made the investment in your pet's health to have her examined by a cardiologist. Congestive hear failure can happen extremely quickly but in your pet's case, it seems less likely. If the cough began after the dental cleansing, it is more likely that the endotracheal tube, the tube that was used to control her breathing and deliver the gaseous anesthetic, caused a bit of tracheal (windpipe) irritation. It would be safest to have your pet examined by your primary care veterinarian (to be on the safe side). I will often have my own clients purchase a stethescope with which to monitor the heart and lungs at home. You don't really need to know what you are are listening for changes...when these are need to bring it to your veterinarian's attention. Please contact your primary care veterinarian and have him/her take a look at your pet early next week. You don't want to take a chance.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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