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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2972
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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I wonder if you can help me... I have a 9 year old Westie

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Hi, I wonder if you can help me... I have a 9 year old Westie that recently had to undergo surgery to have three teeth removed, whilst under anaesthetic she also had a small tumour removed from her eyelid and had an abdominal ultrasound scan done... so she was out for quite a while... our poor girl had a really hard time after the anaesthetic and suffered considerable pain/lameness in her right hind leg that lasted for a good week or so people kept telling me that it was quite normal for an older dog to have these kind of issues following sedation but I was not happy so I had the vet checked it out in her post op check up they looked her over, manipulated the led and said it was nothing to worry about.
It is now some weeks after the operation and she has developed terrible breathing difficulties... it’s like she has some sort of blockage either in her throat or her lungs... she is averaging 50 breaths per minute at rest, breathing with her mouth open and her neck is swollen. She desperately wants to walk but simply can’t, I’m carrying her everywhere. She is anxious, not sleeping well and she cannot get comfortable unless her neck is stretched out & flat on the floor... I am sleeping with her on the floor at nights to help keep her calm the vets has prescribed beta blockers and corvental but she just seems to be getting worse. By way of back ground she has an second adrenal tumour (therefor cushings disease) the first one along with the adrenal gland was removed when she was 5 but is not yet symptomatic (no hair loss etc) she is being relatively successfully treated with Lignans, melatonin and a strictly organic diet. She is also currently on antibiotics for a UTI following her surgery... I can’t bare to see her in so much discomfort - please help!

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Just a few minutes as I type my response

I'm so sorry to hear you are having these issues.

While some mild lameness or stiffness may be normal if they were lying awkwardly during or after an anaesthetic it should not last longer than a few day and certainly should not be as extreme as you say.

I agree with you, that breathing rate is a real concern and something we need to take very seriously. Anything over 30 breaths per minute sets alarm bells ringing in my mind and warrants urgent investigation.

Similarly, neck swelling is abnormal and would raise concern that she she is not dealing with fluid as she should.

I would first of all want her heart examined. Ideally, she should have a chest xray or heart scan. If we wish to avoid a repeat sedation we could try a conscious xray and should certainly be able to do the heart scan conscious. If we discover she has heart failure (which can cause excessive fluid, breathing difficulties, lethargy etc) we would want to start her on some diuretics (water tablets) and ace inhibitors. This may really help reduce the fluid and ease her breathing.

We would also consider some pain relief to see if this helps with her mobility.

Did she have any blood tests taken AFTER her anaesthetic? It's important we make sure it did not affect her kidney function and we get an up to date idea of how everything is working internally now that she has these new concerning symptoms.

In summary, I think you're right to want to look into things further and there are some diagnostic tests we need to run. We would hope that things will improve dramatically once we have her on the appropriate medicine.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She had blood tests for her kidney function... With her being post surgical and having cushings do you think there is any chance of PTE? What tests would she need to rule this out? Thank you!
It's certainly within the realms of possible but is something we see a lot less often than in human medicine.
Evidence of a PTE may show up on a chest xray or ultrasound. We can also run a D Dimer blood test and check oxygen saturation.
Certainly I agree, we need to be taking a close look at his cardiovascular system.
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