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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18310
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My found out our cavalier spaniel has an enlarged heart. She

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My found out our cavalier spaniel has an enlarged heart. She has been on heart pills for 3 days. She's not eating or when she has had little bits, she's been sick. She's also has diarrrohea, which were trying to sort out. She is very lethargic. We have some oralade drink for her which she drinks, but notice now she's lying down to drink from the bowl and walking very slowly. We think the end of the road has nearly arrived, but our vet did want to try and sort out the runs first so at least she can eat. So very worried, but we're coping. She'll be 12 in 3 weeks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


How long has your lass had the appetite loss, sickness and diarrhea?

Did these start before her heart tablets were started?

What heart medication is she on?
What treatments for her GI signs and diarrhea is she on?

How is her breathing just now (you can take a breathing rate by counting her breaths for 10 seconds and then multiplying that by 6)?

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not eaten properly for over a week.diarreah for about 4 days and sick twice last night.apperrtite did, but sickness etc since starting heart pills. Heart medication Vetmedin, not sure on the other med.
Breathing 110 gums pale and bit sticky but not too bad
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Alexandra,

Now I am truly sorry to hear that your lass is being bombarded by multiple issues here. While I do think it was fair to try and clear her GI signs and stabilize her heart to see if she could spend more time with you; her current state does make me concerned that she is not responding to treatment and that we do need to consider letting her go at this stage.

The reason why I do think that we may be at that is point now is because her respiratory rate is severely elevated and she sounds to be decompensating despite being on treatment. (Her breathing rate should actually be ~ 20-30 breaths per minute, so 100bpm is a serious severe worry). Furthermore, to see this elevated breathing rate coupled with pale gums tells us that she isn't getting enough oxygen despite breathing so hard. And while her lack of appetite is a serious issue, it may be that she is so focused on breathing that she just cannot spare the energy, focus, or breath to eat. And this low oxygen will make her weak, wobbly, and likely the cause for her being slow and laying down while drinking. So, to hear that she is in this state and struggling with taking in oxygen and getting it into her circulation despite being on Vetmedin really raises worries that her heart disease is already too far for us to manage.

So, while I would say that we could consider addressing her nausea and GI signs with an antacid [ie Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose)], light diet (ie rice with boiled chicken, white fish, scrambled egg, cottage cheese, etc), +/- Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose) or Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices; example) for the diarrhea; I am concerned that those GI signs are a lesser issue for her. Because even if we can settle her GI signs, we still have a struggling heart and lungs that are not getting oxygen into and around the body as they should.

Overall, I am very sorry to say that I am very concerned about your lass's current state. Her GI issues sound to be a lesser concern here. Instead, she sounds to be in a deteriorating condition where she is breathing so fast but yet cannot get enough oxygen to keep herself doing those things important to her life. Therefore, it sounds like you have tried but her situation is already too advanced. And as she is struggling despite treatment for her heart, I do think this is a situation where we'd need to consider letting her go to keep her from suffering.

Finally, since she does sound in a severe respiratory state, I do have to note that this would be something to consider having seen urgently. So, I do want to note that some veterinary practices in our country have office hours over the weekend. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice as they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have an open vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) or Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if she is really struggling we'd want to use one of these options to have her seen now.

Please take care,
Dr. B.

Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18310
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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