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Avatar universal

What happened?...CHF. I need comfort

My 14.5 yr old mini dachshund was diagnosed with MILD Congestive Heart Failure at the end of September. He had had a heart murmur for half his life. The vet put him on all the usual meds - lasix, benzapril, vedmedin, spironolactone -
and told me he could live as long as 6 mos to a year.

I've been through a lot with this dog - shunt operation, loss of spleen, back disc causing lameness, and pancreatitis.
With each ailment, I did the best research and gave him the absolute care. I even found an acupuncure vet that got him walking again. With the heart problem, I did do some research and all of it pointed to these meds. I read about herbs, too, but didn't consider them because my dog is so finicky... I knew it would be hard just to get him to take all the prescribed pills!  Plus the fact I take heart meds that are similar, and they work for me!

About a month after the diagnosis his appetite decreased. It was tough to get him to eat. I had to keep mixing things around to find new foods (chicken, sirloin) that would appeal to him. I suppose that should have been a sign, but I assumed it was the meds making him nauseous. It propably was his kidneys and I should have taken action. [They did check his kidneys soon after he started the meds and he was fine. I was told no need to check them again til Jan.] I think I should have insisted they check them again after 30 days.

Then, last week it started to progress. He was more lethargic and less hungry. He was still drinking well and urinating fine; he had regular BM's. What I began to notice was a rapid heart rate. I could see it pounding through his skin and his breathing was showing some signs of labor..Not enough, however, that he was not sleeping. It was harder for me to get him to take his meds. So yesterday, I called the vet to tell him I was having a bit of a setback. Naturally, he said
"bring him in".

I brought him in hoping to get a shot to boost him...he never came home. His heart rate was at its highest for a small dog 220. Yet, he was very alert, wagging his tail and not at all listless. His gums were greyish. At first the vet told me they would give him a shot and then put him in the oxygen tank; I could pick him up at 6pm. Then I got a call to come back; his kidneys were failing.

Question: Since he was urniating regularly and drinking water, could not they have done something else to treat
the kidneys? At the same time, I understand the need to go off Lasix, but could not they have provided liquid some other way? At that point I was told "put him down". When I asked if I could take him home for one more night to have a proper farewell, the vet said, "your dog is suffering";  it would only make him suffer more if I took him home for the night. I felt rushed; not able to think. Bogart looked tired; he had been through too much. His little eyes could hardly stay opened when I talked to him. I was feeling guilty and thinking maybe he is this sick.

I asked for another opinion from a more senior doctor (this is a big Chicago operation). Of course, the senior doc concurred. Said I could drive an hour to a cardiologist, but felt I would get the same answer. That's when I thought... I probably should have done that when he was first diagnosed. Why didn't I?

If you have had any experience with CHF and the kidney failure that coincides, please weigh in here. I'm not sure that my dog was ready to go. I kinda felt that once the kidney results came in, the vet panicked somewhat. First, he said everything's okay, come back at 6. Then after the results, he quickly decided "that's it...nothing more I can do". Was he right? It all seemed so fast.

I was told at the onset that Bogart had MILD congenitive heart failure. I expected him to live at least 6 mos. He died within 60 days. I want to know why. Please help me sort this out.

Please comment if you have had any knowledge relating to his disease. It would be comforting to get other's experiences with this desease. Thank you.
3 Responses
82861 tn?1333457511
I am so sorry to hear about Bogart.  First, try to remember that you have been a superb owner.  You went over and above what most people would do for a pet's health, and are to be congratulated for your efforts.  Bogart lived a long life with a cloud of death hanging over him for what sounds like many years.  Because you didn't give up on him, he had a marvelous life.  It's what lies between the beginning and then ending that is important.

As to your specific questions about CHF and kidney disease, all I know is that the treatment for both of those conditions is incompatible.  Treat the CHF and the kidneys get worse faster - and vise versa.  I lost my dog in January this year to kidney failure.  It was a horrific, long-term downward spiral that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.  There really isn't much you can do other than treat the symptoms.  I think your vet made a good call about the end of Bogart's life.  Kidney failure isn't necessarily painful, but it is extremely miserable with lots of nausea and vomiting that is uncontrollable at the end.

I'm so very sorry you lost your companion, but it sounds like his little body was just done.  You did everything possible over the years to keep him healthy and happy.  Again, it's everything in between that is really important and you delivered in a large way.
Avatar universal
Thank you for taking time to answer my rather long saga story regarding Bogart. Sometimes it's good to wirte feelings down; it can be very therapeutic.

Your words are eloquent and have provided me comfort.

May you have a blessed holiday season.

Jane
from Chicago
Avatar universal
I'm currently dealing with this in my 10 year old min pin Beckham. It's never easy and this is breaking my heart. I take comfort as you should in knowing that every choice I make for him weather it be meds or food, is out of whole hearted love for my baby boy. He is sleeping right next to me and I cherish each one of these days and nights as if it's the last. His end is near after months with advanced CHF. I'm sorry for Your loss but don't second guess your decision. I promise your little one never questioned them and never had to. Love is very trusting and you obviously loved him.
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