Is my dogís life ending? - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Is my dogís life ending?

Hey all, Iíve been on and off this page for about 9 years, the amount of time Iíve had my large, red, male rescue boy named Gus. A few of you might remember his hilarious smile. Anyway, heís almost 10 Years old and has always been energetic and healthy.
Recently, a few weeks ago he began occasionally being disinterested in food and he seems very tired. He goes from the bed, to laying on the floor or wherever. I know this is normal to a degree for old dogs.
He doesnít seem too interested in walks either. He does them fine, but slower and less enthusiastically.
Most alarmingly, Gus has always SCREAMED in the car, no matter what I do. Crate, no crate, up front, in back, treats or not. I just accepted this bizarre quirk.
Last few days he hasnít screamed in the car when we approach his favorite park ( usually when he screams the loudest).. heís dead ass quiet, laying in his crate and itís very alarming.
Finally, his breathing is a bit erratic when he lies down. I canít tell if things like jumping on the bed or walking up stairs is just exhausting and heís trying to catch his breath or what, but he breathes fairly hard for a few minutes whenever he lays down. Not to the point where it appears hard for him to breathe, just... heavier. I recently recognized this pattern over the last couple days. I may take him to an emergency vet if I canít get in. I havenít had any luck getting him an appointment. Iíve listened to his heart with a stethoscope and it sounds normal and strong. He isnít losing weight either but Iím TERRIFIED theyíre just gonna tell me heís Just old and maybe beginning to die. Iíve never had a dog before him but he is my heart dog. Heís my entire world and my entire heart. He goes everywhere with me. Not to sound pathetic but I am so scared. I just need some thoughts until I can get him looked at. I realize the reality is that heís just old and maybe some of this is normal aging. I really need the truth though, and I want to know your thoughts and or experiences. I also would like to know what tests to have run and what specifically I maybe should ask for. I guess it all seemed to start about a month ago and even though individually the changes arenít in and of themselves scary, they are drastic. Sry for the long post. I missed you guys ❤️❤️ Thank you
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Last edited by AugustusMcCrae; 06-14-2020 at 02:32 AM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 07:53 AM
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Augustus - Welcome back ! I really don't know how to reply to your question , but will just tell you about our past experience's with ours . The first that comes to mind was Kasia , what a girl she was , she lived just short of her 15th birthday - she was like Gus - LOL When we took her to the Vets - She would jump up in the dually and off we went - as we got closer to New Pal , she would cry and cry , she really got louder as we pasted a Micky D's and she would look at it and cry even more - see , every time we left the Vets - we would go threw the drive up and get her a piece of grilled chicken for being such a good girl - oh did that make her day , but like Gus , she started to so down some , like you , we would ask her if she was OK as she was not as active as she once was , the problem ?? She was just getting older and it was sad to she her with out all the fire in her , it is just life I guess , but like you and knowing your dog the way they are , it is alarming sometimes , we see it first hand and it is hard to tell the Vet sometimes in the right words what we are seeing . We had her there all the time , just a general check up , ole Doc would say , Ken , She is ok , she is just getting older and she's slowing down , that is a hard pill to swallow .

Now Ali girl also did like Gus , when taking her out for a ride or to the Vets , she would hop In the truck - lay her head down on my wife's lap and sleep all the way there , Where was our little girl checking out every car or what ever ? To me - even after all the years of having dogs in our life's to see them get older is , well , heart breaking to me , that little puppy that was hell on wheels , running playing ball , you name it to slowing down , as we all know that some day - they will , As Aunt Bug says - Go where all good dogs go .

I think a vet trip is very warranted for ole Gus - If nothing is found , its just good piece of mind for all of us to know we did our best to protect them the best we can .

One more thing - I have laughed and laughed and laughed at Gus's smile ! God has blessed you with a very special best friend .

Wishing you and Gus the very best !

Doc

Last edited by ECIN; 06-14-2020 at 08:01 AM.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 08:10 AM
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I agree with a vet check up.
And OF COURSE we remember Gus' smile!! Makes ME smile just thinking about it.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 09:47 AM
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I'm so sorry Gus is struggling. Of course we remember him.

The first thing that comes to my mind, of course, is a heart issue. I'd be pretty concerned about DCM. It could be anything, but it could very well be his heart. Something like CHF could bring on the symptoms you describe, and often DCM is a silent killer, in that you do not see symptoms of the disease until it becomes very apparent if you aren't doing regular heart testing with an echocardiogram and 24 hour holter. You cannot detect it by listening with a simple stethoscope type of check up.

You could try an emergency vet type of situation, particularly at a university hospital, if you want to get a more thorough exam - an echo of his heart would give you more answers there. It might not be that. He may be simply aging, or it could be any number of things.

My heart goes out to you and Gus.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 10:20 AM
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Welcome back. Good to have you back but not under these circumstances. Miss Gus' smile too. I agree with Meadowcat, a heart checkup is in order. If it is his heart, there are lots of good meds out these days to help.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 12:17 PM
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I'm with everyone else. Very nice to hear from you and I will never forget Gus's smile. I am sorry to hear he isn't doing well. I hope he can get help if it is a heart issue and you can enjoy him even a few more years.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 01:15 PM
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So sorry to hear smiling Gus isn't well, We hope he feels better soon<><>
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-14-2020, 02:05 PM
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Hey, welcome back to the forum. Sorry its under concerning circumstances.

I agree that I would take him to the vet. I also agree that, unfortunately, DCM can bring on the symptoms you're describing. You can have him evaluated at your vet before jumping to a cardiologist, if you like. I would ask them to do an x-ray of his heart and lungs. That will tell you whether his heart is enlarged (or becoming more circular looking) and whether there might be fluid in his lungs (fluid makes lungs look hazy white-ish on an x-ray, rather than clear or darker) which would be a sign of CHF).

If the vet finds signs of DCM, then I wouldn't wait to get him into a cardiologist - ASAP. If it is DCM, the symptoms can be managed to help keep him comfortable should you choose to.

Even if its not DCM, I do think it sounds like a vet check-up is in order because those changes would worry me, too.

Good luck and please keep us posted.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all, I really missed this page ❤️ the support is everything right now. Currently, as it was Sunday I had a hard time getting him in anywhere today and I have an appointment scheduled but it isnt for a while. I'll be calling multiple vets at 8 am as they told me to do to see if I can get a same day appointment. I'm anxious about that and may end up going to an emergency vet, but the one I spoke to doesn't have the equipment necessary to do a detailed heart workup. Gus is doing ok today. He went on a short walk with me and seemed energetic and interested in the smells and sights. He seems to have a bit of a tougher time breathing well when he lays on his side. It sounds very labored and wet, and my brief stint in medicine suggests CHF or something of the like, as many of you have mentioned. He readjusts himself and then breathes fairly normally. I've listened to his heart and it sounds okay, then muffled as he breathes. But I also don't know exactly what it should sound like. If he really struggles I will bring him into an emergency vet of course, but I'm basically anxious about getting him in as soon as possible everywhere is so booked up!! I'll keep you posted. This is a photo from today's walk
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Last edited by AugustusMcCrae; 06-15-2020 at 02:42 AM.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Gus update: Gus had an echocardiogram and it showed a slightly enlarged heart, but the cardiologist said he looked "damn good" for being almost 10 years old. He is throwing TONS of PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and they are recommending a holter monitor. He is doing ok, he is enjoying being out and about in Nevada where we live. The photo is from today at Pyramid Lake. &#x2764;&#xfe0f;
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 05:46 AM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustusMcCrae View Post
Gus update: Gus had an echocardiogram and it showed a slightly enlarged heart, but the cardiologist said he looked "damn good" for being almost 10 years old. He is throwing TONS of PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and they are recommending a holter monitor. He is doing ok, he is enjoying being out and about in Nevada where we live. The photo is from today at Pyramid Lake. &#x2764;&#xfe0f;
This is a great picture.
What is he looking at in the water?
A fish ? Or himself?
Gus sure is a good looking boy glad to see you two having some fun together.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustusMcCrae View Post
Gus update: Gus had an echocardiogram and it showed a slightly enlarged heart, but the cardiologist said he looked "damn good" for being almost 10 years old. He is throwing TONS of PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and they are recommending a holter monitor. He is doing ok, he is enjoying being out and about in Nevada where we live. The photo is from today at Pyramid Lake. &#x2764;&#xfe0f;
I'm glad you got in for the echo. It will be interesting to hear what the cardiologist reports after the holter, with him throwing tons of PVCs (I wonder what he means by "tons" and what that will translate to in real numbers). The good news is that Alba will get you the results REALLY fast - I usually get mine the next day.

It also sounds like he isn't in CHF, so maybe if the issue is the high number of PVCs you can actually get improvement for him with medication. If this is the issue, of course.

Lots of dogs will have a relatively normal echo and abnormal holter (or vice versa). And many older dogs that have diagnosed DCM will actually die of something else if they have their DCM well managed.

Please keep us posted!
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 09:08 AM
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Thank you for updating us. That is a beautiful picture!

"Lots of people talk to animals...Not very many listen, though...That's the problem. " ~ The Tao of Pooh
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 09:33 AM
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That picture is just screaming to become a meme I'm not sure what it should say, but....

Wonderful.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
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That picture is just screaming to become a meme I'm not sure what it should say, but....

Wonderful.

How about:

"Wow, what a good looking dude!...I'd smile, but I might scare myself away!"
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post

Lots of dogs will have a relatively normal echo and abnormal holter (or vice versa). And many older dogs that have diagnosed DCM will actually die of something else if they have their DCM well managed.

Please keep us posted!
I'll just give you an example. My fawn dog who had been diagnosed with cardio (and I start testing my Dobes at around 2 years at the cardio clinics the local Doberman club hosts twice a year) So the fact that his cardio function was slowly declining wasn't a surprise and at around 11 there were enough significant changes that the cardiologist put him on meds. He was doing very well and responded to the medication but had started coughing (which normally would be an indication of untreated or non-responsive cardio) but both ultrasound and x-rays did not support this.

He had just turned 14 and one morning I realized he was having trouble breathing. I looked in his mouth and his tongue and gums were blue. I work for a vet clinic and I called and said I was bringing him in. The vet who saw him had known him since he was 6 months old. She measured his oxygen levels and they were very low. We had a very short discussion about what was probably going on with him (laryngeal paralysis--something commonly seen in Labrador Retrievers) the treatment for that is surgery--not something that was going to happen with a very old Doberman with a diagnosed heart condition. I let him go but cardio is treatable and it wasn't what killed him and I had well over another 3 years with him because he got treated early.

Good luck with Gus and that picture is wonderful--frame it and hang it where everyone can see it.

And keep us posted.

dobebug
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 03:38 PM
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Happy to hear that Gus is doing well. And, yes, that is a very wonderful picture. It is just screaming for the proper DT calendar contest to it can be submitted and give Gus his 15 minutes of fame!

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 09:35 PM
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July's calendar theme is "Dobes and Water" !!!! There should be an entry post put up any minute now.

https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...ll-months.html
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 05:50 AM
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Amen Mel!
Thats a great PIC and I will look for then entry.
Beautiful.

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