Aa
A
A
A
Close
Dogs Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Congestive Heart Failure - What if I made a different decision?

My 12 year old dog was euthanized on Nov 16th. She was diagnosed with CHF about 18 months ago, but showed no symptoms until April of this year when she began coughing. Putting her on Enalapril and Lasix had significantly reduced her coughing, and other than just getting tired more easily, she was doing fine for a while. Then one day in July, she got excited and fainted. I rushed her to the vet, who had increased her meds dosages, adding Vetmedin to the mix. Then in October she fainted twice more, but was doing well otherwise. Over sudden, on Nov 8th she started getting bloated. I took her to the vet on Nov 11th, as the bloating was getting bad. The vet gave her Furosemide, Midazolam, Morphine and Acepromazine shots, an 8 hr oxygen therapy, and increased (yet again) meds dosages. Her murmur level was 6 by then. The next day she seemed a little better, but on day two she was bloated again. I took her to the vet again, who drained the fluids from her belly. Unfortunately, she started getting bloated the very next day and began breathing really hard. She stopped eating and I noticed that she lost a lot of weight. She seemed very uncomfortable without being able to breathe well, so much so, that on Nov 16th I took her to the emergency vet clinic (our vet is closed on Sat). After examining her, the vet recommended a 24hr oxygen therapy. She also recommended a cardiologist visit and a more aggressive treatment. Knowing that the prior 8 hr oxygen therapy and med dosage increase was ineffective, and that I my dog went through 3 emergency vet visits in in one week, I have made a decision to have her euthanized. I would like to know what would be the prognosis (in the best case scenario) if I decided to proceed with the 24 hr oxygen therapy and more aggressive treatment for my dog instead of euthanizing her? Is there anything that could've been done to prolong her life without compromising the quality of it? I am hoping for the most honest answer in this matter, please.
8 Responses
234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dear Sabrina,  

I am so sorry that you had to make such a sad but necessary decision for your dog.

But I sincerely think that that you really made the right decision.  Due to the severity of her heart condition I don't believe that there was any additional medical or other treatment that could have helped her.  Had she been human the only thing that would have helped would have been a heart transplant.  

Heart murmurs are graded from1 to 6 and 6 is the highest and most severe level. Your dog was diagnosed with a grade 6 heart murmur, the most severe type.  

Your dog became bloated (which is called ascites) which probably means that she had right sided heart failure with secondary problems in her liver. This accompanies very late stage heart failure usually.  With ascites, the abdominal cavity enlarges with fluid which presses against the diaphragm which further compresses and compromises the chest cavity making the breathing even more labored.  Lasix and other diuretics can only do so much to remove the excess fluid.

I think that had you chosen not to euthanize her, she would have lived for a couple of more days and eventually died on her own when her heart finally failed terminally. She received great hospital care but oxygen therapy would not have removed the fluid from her abdomen and even if the oxygen  had helped her breath temporarily, a dog cannot live forever in an oxygen cage.  I do not believe that a veterinary cardiologist would have been able to add much to her already excellent medical protocol.

I am very sorry for your loss...Sincerely,  Dr. Aleda Cheng
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response. It put me at ease, as I felt guilty for putting my baby down. This was truly a devastating experience. I still can't come to terms with it. My dog's vet also told me that I made the right decision, but I was crying hysterically when we spoke, so I feared that he just said that to console me.

Best Regards,

Sabina Masiuk
234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hello again Sabrina 02,  
I believe there is a heaven for all creatures whatever religion or non-religion you may adhere to and I believe that your dog is there now thanking you for all you did for her and enjoying her perfect heart and possibly flying if she has angel wings.  

There is a book that I recommend called "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by Eben Alexander III M. D.  

This book may help to give you some closure.  Dr. Alexander died and was brought back after a week of being brain dead; but in his account of the after-life there were all kinds of animals as well as humans in heaven.  I know that it helped me.
Avatar universal
Hello Dr. Cheng,

I will certainly try to get the book you recommended, thank you. I was raised Catholic and according to my religion, animals do not go to Heaven, as they have no souls. I do not agree with it though (as I do not agree with certain other aspects of Catholicism), and I do believe that I'm going to see my baby again. My last words to her were that I loved her, I wished her a safe journey over the Rainbow Bridge, and I made her a promise that we were going to meet again on the other side. As I was talking to her, she gave me one last tail wag, as if she understood my words. I do have to keep the promise I made her and I know we'll be together again someday.
234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
She did understand your words and you will be reunited eventually.  
Avatar universal
.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, health was started.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Heathy animal was started.
Popular Resources
Members of our Pet Communities share their Halloween pet photos.
Like to travel but hate to leave your pooch at home? Dr. Carol Osborne talks tips on how (and where!) to take a trip with your pampered pet
Ooh and aah your way through these too-cute photos of MedHelp members' best friends
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.