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Congestive heart failure guilt
george5220 posted:
Hey, I have a nearly 13 year old dachshund who was recently diagnosed with CHF after having a heart murmur for many years. He was asymptomatic (no coughing or loss of appetite) then one night he had labored breathing and he ended up spending 24 hours in the emergency vet. His prognosis is <1 year. He has responded very well to the LASIK, enalapril (was on prior due to the murmur), and vetmedin. He is back to his old self and the vet has said that there is currently no fluid in his lungs. Last night he did pee in the bed however which he never did before the water pill. Basically I am heartbroken and feel like I did this to him. He has had a few dentals in his life but I was always so scared bc of the murmur and now feel that I caused the heart failure by not getting routine dentals like every other year. My heart is broken. He is my baby. My husband and I have four dogs and we also have a lab mix who is in liver failure so this is a very hard time for us. Does anyone have any suggestions/ success stories with severe cases of CHF? I just need a mental pick me up.
Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM responded:
Hi there,
WE see many dogs with heart murmurs without heart failure. And I know speaking to my friend a cardiologist that dental disease as a cause of heart failure is really more of a myth than a reality. Yes, perhaps if we had done an echo with a cardiologist before he developed heart failure, we might have detected something and headed off the congestive heart failure. But we call that looking into our retrospectroscope, and wishing we had done something, that we might not have done even if we had thought of it at the time, just makes us feel horrible. It sounds like he is doing much better, and the bed wetting may be due to the lasix which we may be able to decrease over time. Have you seen a cardiologist? Perhaps that might be a next step, ask your family veterinarian, to make sure you are doing everything you can for your little doxie, answer any of your questions, and give you that mental pick me up. It sounds like both your doggies need your positive attitude and love. Don't feel guilty: you sound like a wonderful dog owner with wonderful veterinarians. Dr. Sandy
george5220 replied to Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM's response:
Thank you so much for your reply. He is currently seeing a cardiologist and that is who has prescribed this dosage of meds. He was seen by a cardiologist as well at the time that the stage IV heart murmur was detected. That's when he was put on the enalapril. However, they wanted to do a complete work up every 6 months and I didn't adhere to that schedule as often as that. You are right about my attitude though. George knows me better than anyone and can pick up on all of my feelings. I am going to try to make today better for us all! Thanks again


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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