Update on Zorro Dog

So we’re back from the vet, and we only spent $195, which for Zorro is almost nothing, considering we used to spend $120 a week in acupuncture and Chinese herbs for him.

Here’s where we are:

Heart murmur: stage 6 of 6. We’re having an ultrasound done @ the 15th in order to determine if it’s really as bad as it sounds, and to come up with managed care. There is no cure for canine heart disease, only treatment of symptoms.

Heart is enlarged: enough that it’s pressing his trachea almost into his spinal cord. Current resting heart rate is 176 bpm. It should be more like 120-130.

Lungs have fluid: not a lot, but enough to make breathing an effort.

Hips: are sore because blood isn’t being oxygenated and because he’s old and has a touch of arthritis.

As well: he has a bit of bronchitis / kennel cough, though not the official virus that bordetella shots are supposed to prevent.

Drugs we now have for him:
Clavamox (antibiotic)
Enalapril Maleate (an ACE inhibitor, to lower blood pressure)
Lasix (a loop diuretic used often in racehorses with congestive heart failure, to help reduce the edema)
Cough suppressant (which will hopefully let him sleep and soothe his throat.)

As well, he is banned from walkies.

I can’t wait to see the end of tonight and this year. As someone already said, 2007 has been a suckful year for animals, and a less than great year overall.

We will be going back in ten days to follow up, and doing an ultrasound around the 15th to get a better idea of the heart issues.

Zorro Dog

Click to Embiggen

It’s nearly five in the morning, and Zorro isn’t doing very well. He’s been coughing nonstop all day, the first time he’s shown any symptoms of his heart murmur. The pet sitter didn’t mention any coughing, and we didn’t notice anything bad on Saturday, but today it’s been pretty awful. Of course the vet is closed.

I’ve emailed them, though I’m not sure if they’re open today, and I’ll call them as soon as their opening hour hits, and I resorted to giving the dog a benadryl to knock him out as we are out of valium, and I don’t know what else to do.

This isn’t a normal small-dog reverse-sneeze sort of coughing, but the canine equivalent of hacking up a lung, and what’s worse is that it’s not even the kind of congestion you get from a cold, but a symptom that his heart murmur is worsening. Those of you who’ve known us for a while know that we’re not sure of Zorro’s exact age – he could be anywhere between nine and thirteen, and eleven is probably the most accurate estimate. Those of you who’ve been reading this for a while also know that he’s been through epilepsy that involved cluster seizures so bad our vet had been preparing us to put him down six years ago, though he’s been seizure free for five years now.

If we’re lucky, the vet will work with us, and Zorro will get some nice drugs to help the heart congestion. Either something cortisone based or the drug LASIX that is used for race-horses.

If you’re reading this, please send my little Zorro-dog some comforting healing energy. He’s a sweet little guy, who cooperates with vets, doesn’t bite, and lives for cuddling, walkies, and pieces of cheese. He’s been part of our family for ten years, and he’s special.