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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32772
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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dog has discomfotr trying to lie down belly extended neck

Customer Question

dog has discomfotr trying to lie down
belly extended
neck held straigth out hacking cough
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
The symptoms you've mentioned in a 15 year old dog are indicative of heart failure. When our dog's heart can't perform efficiently fluid will accumulate in the abdomen (ascites) when the right side of the heart is most affected or accumulate within the lungs (congestive heart failure) when the left side of the heart is most affected.

It appears that both sides of the heart are affected in Mjay. His extended belly indicates ascites and his hacking cough indicates congestive heart failure. He doesn't want to lie down because he compresses his lungfields when he does so. This decreases the amount of lung available to absorb oxygen. He's already having trouble oxygenating his lungs because they're full of the fluid of congestive heart failure.

Mjay should be seen by his vet as soon as possible. We X-ray to better evaluate heart size and shape and assess the extent of fluid buidup in his lungs and abdomen. In most cases we'll initiate diuretic therapy, vasopressor (blood pressure reducer) therapy, and the cardiac drug pimobendan. Mjay's prognosis will be predicated upon the findings in his X-rays.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. I'm worried for Mjay.