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I would not do major surgery that involved general anesthesia on any 11 year old Dobeman.
In Dobes, a vet wanting an echo on a Doberman with fluid in or around the lungs isn't really "jumping" to an opinion. The most common reason for fluid in or around the lungs of an 11 year old Doberman would be caused by DCM which had progressed to CHF (congestive heart failure). And the next most common reason for finding fluid like that would be cancer.
I'm not a cardiologist (but I've had Dobes for a long, long time and was very early when it came to testing by echo and by Holter (24 hour EKG) I was also ahead of the trend to start doing 24 hour Holters and I think since your bitches symptoms aren't exactly what either the cardiologist, your regular vet or the emergency vet expected I'd talk to the cardiogist about doing a Holter --I think that there are some things that may show up in a EKG that might not show up in an echo that might contribute to the fluid--this is just guess work on my part but I'd sure do that before I went for surgery.
I don't often do major/invasive surgery on older Dobes--even if their hearts look normal for an 11 year old that's not good enough for me--anything that involves general anesthesia is hard on a dog and their heart. Talk you your vets further--especially the cardiologist.
Good luck but there aren't a whole lot of things to explain the fluid building--but the sad fact is that none of the possible causes are good news.
Keep up posted--you never know when someone else may show up with similar symptoms.
Last edited by dobebug; 05-08-2019 at 03:13 PM.