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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24409
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 12 year old lab has been coughing and my vet told me

Customer Question

My 12 year old lab has been coughing and my vet told me there is some kind of mass on heart . She told me she cannot tell me if it is water or cancer but would maybe think cancer and has me taking to avett where they can do a echo cardiogram to see what it really is . My dog still eats a lot drinks a lot of water and when sitting seems comfortable but gets winded easily and will stop sit down for a bit and then go again . Is this the correct test to have and what are your thoughts on this .
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Coughing can be worrying. The Veterinarian will know what you should do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Katie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Katie?
Customer: Her hips are not the greatest but she eats well and goes to bathroom with out any problems
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Can you tell me, please, what your vet saw on X-rays that has prompted her to recommend a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram)? Was the shape of your Lab's heart suggestive of a pericardial effusion - a collection of fluid between the heart muscle and the pericardium - the lining around the heart?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
she just told me she saw a mass in xray not real specific but couldn't tell if cancer or water sac she did tell me labs get some type of cancer masses . I just was wondering your thoughts but cant answer your questions without calling her . all I know is my dog eats well and goes bathroom well and does seem to be in any discomfort other than occasional coughing and breathing hard to walk she did tell me lungs seemed good
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. To answer you directly, yes, an echocardiogram is the next diagnostic of choice. Pricey, but quite sensitive, it will tell you in just minutes what that mass effect represents. Yes, Labs are overrepresented for pericardial effusions which may or may not be associated with a tumor. 2/3 of canine pericardial effusion cases are associated with neoplasia (cancer) and 1/3 are classified as idiopathic (unknown cause). Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
either type of tumor can the dog be treated or just let nature take its course ? can anything be drained for temporay relief if they cannot be removed ? is it better to euthanize or go on her own when she gets worse .
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Tumors are usually life-threatening hemangiosarcomas. I would perform the final kindness should Katie begin to fail. Yes, draining the pericardial sac can be palliative but not curative if a tumor is present.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
thak u ihave test schduled for this friday I will contact friday after test
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

Sounds good. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.