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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 398
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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We just started my 13 year old dog on lasik medication. She

Resolved Question:

We just started my 13 year old dog on lasik medication. She has a very pronounced heart murmur and has had abnormal bouts of panting and labored breathing (with exercise, moderate levels of heat and during the night).

With more reading / investigation of her symptoms, I feel strongly that she should be tested for Cushing's. She drinks excessive amounts of water (3-4 more bowls per day than 1 year ago, begs for food at unusual times, seems swollen, pants more often than usual. She also has fat deposit where her arm meets her front legs. Her coat seems fine.

I am on vacation. Should I take her off the lasiks until we talk further with the vet about Cushings. She was a very lean dog so a vet that did not know her before wouldn't notice how much "thicker" she seems.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Scarlett :

Hi,

Dr. Scarlett :

Did the vet who prescribed the lasix hear a heart murmur? What was the reasoning for starting the lasix? Did they take any chest x-rays?

Expert:  Dr. Scarlett replied 10 months ago.
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Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Yes. The vet (and every vet who listens to her heart for the last 5 years) has noticed a significant heart murmur. The vet discussed the possibility that her lungs may be filling with fluid in the night when she is still. Her heart was not x-rayed. However, we did a scan of her heart (I don't know exactly what type) but required going to a special facility about 5 year ago. The lasiks were meant to keep fluids moving in body. She coughs occasionally in the morning but coughing is not an everyday symptom. she often pants in the night and will move from room to room (temp in house around 76 degrees.)

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 10 months ago.
Hi there,
With a history of heart disease symptoms, I certainly wouldn't recommend taking your dog off the Lasix. She may very well have Cushings, as you list many of the symptoms of this condition, but Cushings is not a life-threatening disease, and heart disease is.

The increased urination may to some extent be due to the Lasix, because the purpose of the medication is to pull extra fluid out of her lungs. The fluid has to go somewhere, and it's eliminated by urination. Humans on Lasix sometimes have to go as often as hourly!

I would recommend that you do three things;
1. Keep giving Lasix as recommended.
2. Have a more thorough cardiac workup. Even though she had what sounds like an echocardiogram previously, we need to know what is going on right now, and heart disease progresses over time. She may need more aggressive treatment-- the thickness you see may be fluid building up rather than just fat, and continuing to have panting episodes and restlessness at night makes me think her heart disease may not be well controlled. Having a murmur doesn't tell us much about the state of her heart's function-- murmurs may or may not indicate heart disease, although your dog has plenty of other signs of heart disease, so I think it's pretty clear she does have it.
3. Once her heart disease is thoroughly documented and better controlled, then chase the potential Cushings. Cushings causes weight gain and leads to accidents in the house, but the leading cause of mortality in Cushings patients is that the owners can't deal with the frequent urination anymore and choose euthanasia. In mild cases, the treatment can be more unpleasant than the disease. I'm much more concerned about her heart to begin with.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thank you. I should note that she has been on lasix for a few weeks. The increased water intake has been very notable and increasing for the last 6 months. I have not noticed frequent urination but she has access to outdoors and hasn't had an accident in the house more than 5 times in her life (our fault). I wanted to make sure that the lasix would not irritate the situation if she has cushings. thanks again for your help.

Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 10 months ago.
No problem! If she has Cushings AND is on Lasix, I'd expect mega-having-to-pee. Make sure she has plenty of access to fresh water so she doesn't get dehydrated, but other than that, it should be fine.
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 398
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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