(Post from Chicken Thread 8/26):
I'm sitting here @0530 next to Spock, on his favorite loveseat and he's finally getting a sound sleep after another terrible night.
… After Bug's response to my initial Spock posts about his coughing, we decided to go to 2nd vet after all, yesterday morning, since the onset of his symptoms came so suddenly on Sunday morning. (I ponder now, that his "night terror" incidents of 5th and 15th August might have been two precursor cardiac events)
Spock and Eva's regular vet for more than 8 years suddenly left the clinic just a short while ago and didn't tell anyone where she was going! I even emailed her with Spock's symptoms on Sunday and stated we would be coming in first thing Monday to clinic for exam. When we got there, a new DVM was present, very nice, but apparently inexperienced with Dobes or DCM. We got the prescription for the Doxycycline antibiotic and proceeded home, but still unsure about cough? As mentioned in previous post the antibiotic appeared to work and lessened frequency and depth of his severe coughing spells over Monday night.
On Tuesday morning, we had our normal round the block walk and pondered going to 2nd vet, who our breeder has used for many years. Spock started out at this vet as a puppy for a couple years. Got first appointment available in morning and took. Lady DVM there, very experienced, middle to late age examined Spock, who by that time in mid morning hadn't had a coughing spell for an hour. We explained about coming to rule in/out CHF DCM for Spock, as previous new vet just said lung infection. Did chest X-ray, EKG, followed by Echo gram of heart using Oncura remote diagnostics equipment. DVM says looks initially like cardiac problem. We'll get full Oncura report this morning. Good note: DVM & techs as second vet's office all loved Spock, didn't need any sedative for scary X-ray or ultrasound machines, just acted very calm.
As Bug has described in the numerous DCM threads, this disease can only be detected by Echograms or 24 hr. Holter monitoring, before symptoms start By then it's rather late to prevent, as in Spock's case, and can only be treated to prolong the inevitable.
2nd Vet issued Lasix and Vetmedin for Spock to start on when I went back to pick him up, near closing time of 6PM. At this point Spock was just about free of any coughing events and acting almost normal, except being at vet's office most of the day. Spock didn't eat much food for dinner after coming home and I did a stupid thing... Started him on two new medications at once and after normal vet hours!..
The Lasix is just a diuretic to reduce fluid retention, but the Vetmedin are big honkin' horse pills that directly affect heart pumping and blood flow. About 30 minutes after giving him the medications he started having dry heaves, but no discharge, every 5 minutes. Also, some drooling and bit of foaming at mouth. I felt terrible to have caused him additional anguish over the coughing he already had.
This lasted for 7 hours which Spock was like a zombie Dobe, wouldn't drink, eat or settle down. His ears were in fixed semi up position and didn't respond normally to us. Every time he tried to lay down for a bit, he'd end up getting up to dry heave in corner of room. Frequency lessened so we decided to ride it out. I walked him many times around yard and in front of house. Curiously, Spock resorted back to his puppy digging habits, maybe out of frustration with this condition, so I kept him on a lead outside.
After midnight it stopped, no more heaving, he started normal Dober whining, which was actually good to hear- no more zombie Dobe. He started drinking water then and we went outside for his FIRST pee since nausea started many hours prior, even with Lasix! Finally by 2AM he was able to lay down and sleep. Spock is obviously intolerant of the Vetmedin medication.
Back to vet this morning, after Spock recharges. Needless to say, I'm devastated by his rapid decline in health, but not surprised due to his age. His indomitable Doberman spirit is being drained from him in front of our eyes. I almost wish he might just pass peacefully in his sleep at night, so we don't have to face him on that dreadful day, in the near future, when the big decision is made for him....
Spock's now awakening and showing me his belly for a rub, even in his poor condition, showing his truly loving, sweet nature...
Epilogue: To compound situation, Eva has resumed up an occasional cough again last night, very minor compared to Spock' coughing two days ago. Both are same age, so we knew up front this was likely when adopting her in 2012. Dobebug Response 8/26:
Oh man, Spock--don't apologize for sharing this on the DT/CT--and I'll stick some supplemental advice in here about cardiac drugs.
I've had four dogs on Vetmedin (or the generic pimobendin) two of them on high dosage and two on lower dosage. Generally Vetmedin is tolerated well although one of my boys didn't and was on 1/2 dose for his weight for the entire time he was on it. And I've never had a dog on lasix (one of my dogs, my first, was on lasix as his diagnosis occurred when he was already in full blown CHF but he was living out his final years with my parents in Washington state and I was in California.
But I know from other Dobe owners that lasix often gives an array of symptoms--including appetite loss (Vetmedin doesn't usually affect appetite) so hopefully adjusting the meds will fix the reaction you got for that first dosage. Vetmedcin is generally well dealt with and usually doesn't have any contrindications if the dose is correct (dosage is computed by dogs weight) and I know a lot of Dobes who have been on both lasix and Vetmedian without the scarey reaction you and Spock got.
I am so sorry that you had that kind of thing happen with Spock and had to live a horrid night and hope they can get the drug adjusted since both really make a lot of difference in how the dog feels. Thinking good thought and keeping fingers crossed for both Spock and Eva.