Well, I'm only guessing about what might be wrong. But I can't imagine doing any kind of surgery on a 17 year-old dog, much less heart surgery. There would be too great a chance that the dog might not even make it through the operation.
thank you, that was informative. My vet seemed to be implying that an operation may be too hard on my pooch (he is 17 and basically healthy but for the occasional coughing). I think I would agree with him. Aside from the cost with an elderly dog a positive outcome diminishes with age. I appreciate your information
many thanks for you comments, I didn't think of it but internet may be a good place to search (ie Craigs list etc)
No you can't use human toothpaste for dogs. I think there's something in it which is toxic for dogs. The best toothpaste I've found is "Virbac" I think it's made in Germany, and is available where I live in England. It doesn't need rinsing, which so I've heard, some of them do. It contains enzymes which work on plaque bacteria and keep the gums healthy. I don't know if you can get that where you live? Unfortunately it's not very cheap, but a tube does last a long time. It's poultry flavour and my dog loves it.
Sometimes you can find this toothpaste for sale on ebay, which can be cheaper than buying it at the vet's.
I'm afraid I don't know enough about the heart problem. Has your vet suggested any treatment for when the coughing starts?
Hopefully someone who has experience of this will post.