My dog rescue dog (11 year old, 30lbs, beagle) begin coughing like crazy back in Decemeber after having surgery to remove some bloody warts on his head. At first I thought it might be due the surgey or an respitory infection so I waited a couple of weeks but it never disippated, instead it got worse. At the end of the month I took him back to the vet who then did an x-ray that showed Ridley's heart had enlarged a little and his murmur had progressed from a 3-4 level to a 5-6 and was diagnosed with CHF, Mitral Valve.
The Vet recommended Furosemide 40 mg 2x a day and Enalapril 10 mg 2x a day and also recommmended I take him to a cardiologist who I could not afford at the cost of $300, but I did put him on the medications as suggested. Also Ridley's respiratory rate was vey high his resting rate was 36-39. I was told by the vet that a resting respiratory rate over 35-40 breaths per minute is considered abnormal.
So I was instructed to do the following:
- Wait until your pet is sleeping soundly (i.e. not dreaming), and not panting or purring.
- Count the number of times the chest rises and falls (1 full rise and fall equals 1 breath) over 60 seconds.
- Do this at least once a day for 7 days, and record your pet's resting respiratory rate on your calendar I did it twice a day for two weeks then only checked it periodically over a week.
Ridley seemed to stabilize, but the Lasix was really a mess to deal with and upon reading up on it I found out about the side effects it causes to the kidneys. This really concerned me but the vet promised me the Lasix WOULD NOT become a regular part of his prescriptions but that we would only use it up until any excess fluid had been released within a reasonable time as not to cause any damage.
Sometime in March Ridley's cough had gotten better but it had not stopped completely so the vet recommended we add in Vetmedin which I agreed to but at the cost $86 every 30 days it was killing me but I remained faithful to ensuring Ridley had what he needed. Within two weeks the coughing stopped and his respiratory rate went down to 26-28. I was relieved. At the begining of the next month I spoke with the vet about about possible reducing the amount of Lasix Ridley was on and was basically told if I reduced it he would die. I questioned the vet about the long term usage of the Lasix on Ridley's kidneys and he dismissed my concerns. Also the two first medications (Furosemide and Enalapril) the vet charged me almost $60 to refill them every month through him and my not knowing any better at the time found out at a later date that both medications were used by humans and could be refilled at Walmart for almost 4 times less the cost.
After the back and forth with the vet I decided to get a second opinion and found out that the 1st vet had Ridley at almost the highest levels you could use for both medications that were needed at extremely detrimental cases. I was then very alarmed and decided to switch to the new vet who after receiving Ridley's medical records requested a blood and urine panel for him adjusted his medications accordingly. We even cut back his daily dosage of Furosemide to half.
I also through research found a supplement called Formula CV for Dogs & Cats" made by Rx Vitamins that came highly recommended and decided to add it in as well. Formula CV for Dogs & Cats" Ingredients per capsule: Hawthorn Berry (standardized 3.2% vitexin) 100 MG L-Carnitine (pharmaceutical grade amino acid) 100 MG L- Taurine (pharmaceutical grade amino acid) 50 MG Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol succinate) 75 IU Dimethylglycine (DMG) 10 MG Magnesium (citrate) 10 MG Potassium (citrate) 10 MG Coleus Forskolii 10 MG. Selenium (selenomethionine) 5 MCG Suggested use: One capsule twice daily for each 25-50 lbs. Body weight, or as recommended by a veterinarian. For cats, 1/2 capsule daily.
The reason why I am giving all this detailed information upfornt is something became appearent to me:
- Not all vets are the same if your still unclear to the what, when and why seek another opinion.
- When your pet gets placed on long term medications research the side effects and weigh the benefits and cost then proceed with a plan deal to with the results. Be ready to make adjustments as needed.
- Ask questions it's your right as the owner and if you're still not satisfied ...see #1.
- Remember sometimes we have to face reality but if there is even the possibly of additional options that will help the quality of life for you beloved family pet seek them out.
Which brought me to this informative site. Between June and August Ridley did very well with little to no cough but sometime in Septemeber the cough returned and the cost of the Vetmedin was breaking me financially so I after meeting with the vet we placed Ridley back on the Furosemide 40 mg 2x a day and increased Enalapril 15 mg 2x a day. I told the vet that was no longer able to afford the Vetmedin the vet understood but had no other options for me so I decided to do some research through this and other sites to see what supplements I might try to use.
After reading all the information I felt all hope was not lost and came up with the following supplements and amounts I added to Ridley's daily regimen. NOTE: I am in no way promoting or suggesting that the below combination will work for you but if any of this information helps like it did for me do your research and I wish you and your beloved pet the very best. I now feel like I am contributing better to the quaility of life for my boy. Ridley's daily regimen....
Initial Usage -
- Furosemide 40 mg 2x a day
- Enalapril 15 mg 2x a day
- Fish Oil w/Omega 3 1200 mg 2x a day
- Vitamin E 100 UI 1x a day (morning)
- L-Cartnitine 200 mg 1x a day (morning)
- Co Q-10 plus 200 mg 1x a day (morning)
- Vitamin C 500 MG 1/2 tab 2x a day
- D-Ribose 750 mg 1x a day (morning)
- Super Vit B Complex* 1x a day (morning) Garlic 580 mg 2x a day *Super Vit B Complex contains b-1, b-2, b-6, b-12, calcium, niacin and folic acid.
I also bought a brand of dog food within MY budget Purina One SmartBlend dry and canned because it list real lamb as the first ingredient blended with other high-quality protein sources that helps support strong muscles and a healthy heart. It also has Omega-6 and has an antioxidant blend of Vitamins E & A along with minerals zinc and selenium.
What I Found Out:
- First week the cough slowed down in frequency and engery level getting better.
- Second week coughed only in the morning for a very short time upon awakening and energy level even better. Respiratory rate steady 23-24.
- Third week no cough at all and energy level ...omg. Respiratory rate steady 21-23
- Fourth week same as third week. Respiratory rate STILL steady 21-23.
- Following month I decided to decrease the Furosemide to 30 mg with the hopes of being able to decrease to 15 mg within a month or so there after. Respiratory rate STILL steady 21-23.
What Today Looks Like for Us: NO coughing and I reduced the Furosemide to 20 mg currently..Enalapril amount still in place. Ridley is very happy and ventures out in the yard like never before but he still a old sweet boy...lol
What Else Do I Do:
- Keep PLENTY of fresh water on hand.
- 1/2 banana for a treat twice a day.
- Check Ridley's respiratory rate every night before I go to bed.
- Get a blood and urine panel every 4 to 6 months and another x-ray here shortly.
- Allow for additional bathroom breaks at least every 2 hours when possible on the weekends and every hour and a half in the evenings when I get off work in the evenings.
To all my fellow pet parents you're not alone. I know how you feel and I understand the decisions that you have to make that are hard like this one. I wish you the very best. My results may not be yours but I wanted to contribute to a site that assisted me with good insights and resources. We all know that there will never be that "one work approach". We all have to come to some type of decision and then do the best we can without regret. I now feel like I am personally giving back the unconditional love Ridley gives me. My prayers are with you.