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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 12474
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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My nearly 7 year old st bernard dog was diagnosed with congestive

Resolved Question:

My nearly 7 year old st bernard dog was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a couple of months ago, in the last 3 days he has been fainting and can no longer lay down his lungs are clearly very full of fluid and he has to sit up now to be comfortable, he has had no more than 30 mins sleep in the last 24 hours and is exhausted now.
What i need to know is if he was to have the medication to help dry up the fluid in the lungs would this help him or is he in the final stage now. I need to know if he will die the same way by the fluid building up with the tablets but at a later stage or will there be no effect from the tablets at this late stage?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Altman :

Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your questions.

Dr. Altman :

First, I am so incredibly sorry Ben is diagnosed with this horrible disease so young

Dr. Altman :

The purpose of the furosemide or the "water pill" is to reduce the fluid in his lungs. It is a temporary solution to give him more of a quality of life and ability to breath more readily but it is not going to stop the progression of this disease process

Dr. Altman :

Often the side effects are difficult as well, increased water intake/ urination, often accidents of urination because they can no longer hold urine well

Dr. Altman :

To answer the question as to whether he will pass this way, unfortunately it is a possibility but with his losing consciousness frequently that in and of itself might be enough strain on his heart to have him pass. Why a dog faints in this situation is that the brain is not getting enough oxygen and so it essentially shuts down the rest of the body in order to assure that the brain gets the oxygen necessary to survive

Dr. Altman :

Sometimes this process doesn't reset as readily and they pass as a result

Dr. Altman :

The medication will help get him more comfortable, may possibly reduce his passing out and dry out the lungs but the disease process will continue. It might give you a few weeks to months additional quality of life but there is no way to know the results. Often we will adjust the dosage from the low end up to find a good margin of safety and if they progress we will adjust the medications further

Dr. Altman :

I hope this information is helpful, I cannot imagine how difficult this must be with him only being 6 years 7 months so anything I can do please don't hesitate to ask

Customer:

When the dog can no longer lay down is this commonly the end?

Dr. Altman :

It indicates that he is very uncomfortable and his heart rate/ rhythm are erratic. As you can imagine it is exhausting to bear this burden and often when at this point owners will consider euthanasia

Dr. Altman :

This is a pain assessment form that helps you with this information CLICK HERE

Customer:

I cant bear to put my boy to sleep will he suffer really badly if i dont help him

Dr. Altman :

And this is a quality of life form as well CLICK HERE

Dr. Altman :

This is a terribly difficult question

Dr. Altman :

If he is unable to get comfortable and is showing signs of losing consciousness then I do suspect he is suffering and it would be more kind to help him along then suffer as he is now

Dr. Altman :

It can be very peaceful to let him go. Some have images of what this is going to be like

Dr. Altman :

Does this make sense? It is never an easy decision and definitely not one I can make for you

Customer:

I understand thank you, ***** ***** for your help

Dr. Altman :

You are very welcome

Dr. Altman :

You both are definitely in my thoughts today

Dr. Altman :

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Customer:

thank you, ***** ***** been very helpful

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