Thankyou so much for your prompt & detailed reply. I just timed Sam's breathing - only 22 breaths/minute, so I'm guessing that's ok? Also no sign of open-mouth breathing at the moment, & no gurgling.
What has confused me is that Sam's edema is combined with thirst - he has been drinking excessively over the last few days. So I was worried if I needed to increase the diuretic in case that also increased his thirst (on previous occasions when he had fluid retention he wasn't showing any signs of thirst, so it was just a straightforward case of increasing the diuretic), .
I realise he may be getting near the end, and perhaps his thirst indicates that his liver & kidneys may be starting to fail?
Yes, such a rate is good to see. Yes, not only will diuretics increase thirst in order to compensate for fluid loss through the kidneys but also the kidneys themselves suffer when a failing heart doesn't provide them with enough blood and increased thirst is a hallmark of renal insufficiency. It's too difficult for us to know what's going on without an echocardiogram and diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests. Sam's polydipsia (increased thirst) can also indicate hepatic insufficiency, urinary tract infection involving his kidneys, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus (rare), medullary washout (chronic polydipsia can interfere with the kidney's ability to concentrate urine), and electrolyte (calcium, sodium, potassium) imbalances. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Just letting you know that Sam has gone downhill, so I think he is getting near the end. Thankfully he isn't suffering - he is sleeping very peacefully and his breathing is steady. No signs of pain or distress. But he is very lethargic and has (more or less) stopped eating. He is still drinking small amounts - so I managed to get him to take his diuretic, dissolved in some gravy. As he is not suffering, I am just going to let nature take its course. He is very peaceful.