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My 12 and a half year old terrier/mix stopped eating about

5 days ago. She is...
My 12 and a half year old terrier/mix stopped eating about 5 days ago. She is also panting heavily, 24 hours per day. You can clearly see her stomach bulging in and out on both sides, with each breath. Her stomach has become swollen. At the same time, she has lost weight in all other areas of her body. I took her to a veterinarian clinic about a week ago. For the past 2 days they have kept her for 8 hours each day, giving her intravenous medications and nutrition. However, she has not shown improvement. In addition, the vet told me that x-rays revealed that her heart is enlarged and that her liver is enlarged as well, (and her chest cavity). He suspects she has liver cancer. He suggests that they try one more day of intravenous medications and nutrition. If she still shows no improvement, he is suggesting that we consider euthanizing her. Do you think his recommendations are reasonable or do you think I should take her to another veterinarian, or to a specialty clinic where they could perform a biopsy and/or surgery? Thank You!
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/14/2013
Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10,146
Experience: 12 years of veterinary experience in canine surgery, medicine and behavior
Verified

Dr. Christian K. :

Hello. This is Dr. Christian

Dr. Christian K. :

Has she had any coughing? Did your veterinarian do any blood work? Did your vet mention if she had fluid in her belly on the x-rays?

Customer:

Yes, she has been coughing....more like a gagging sound. He did blood work a month ago and said it was fine. He said the most recent blood work, 2 days ago, was "not as good". I believe he said she had fluid build up somewhere, but I'm not sure if it is around the heart, the belly or both.

Dr. Christian K. :

Okay. Thank you for that information.

Dr. Christian K. :

I can understand why liver cancer is a concern in this case. Certainly that is a possibility in this case.

Dr. Christian K. :

In these situations diagnosing over the internet is difficult at best but I would also be concerned about heart disease for Pepper.

Dr. Christian K. :

Heart disease will cause a cough, difficult breathing and fluid buildup in the belly like you are seeing.

Dr. Christian K. :

In addition, the fluid buildup from the heart can make the liver look bigger on x-ray

Dr. Christian K. :

Heart disease is not curable but can certainly be improved with medications and a good quality of life can be achieved.

Dr. Christian K. :

I'd recommend talking to your veterinarian about possible referral to a specialist for an ultrasound. It is a great test to assess the condition of her heart. It is also excellent at diagnosing problems in her abdomen such as cancer in the liver or whether this is just fluid buildup from a heart problem.

Dr. Christian K. :

Heart enlargement on x-rays is also a common symptom of advanced heart disease.

Customer:

My vet stated that because both the heart and the liver are enlarged, it's difficult to treat both simultaneously.

Dr. Christian K. :

If the liver is enlarged because of congestive heart failure then treating the heart failure should improve the liver.

Customer:

O.K...............thank you doctor!

Dr. Christian K. :

While x-rays are great at assessing the size of a liver, they are very poor at determining why the liver is enlarged. If there is a very large liver mass then they could be helpful but ultrasound is definitely your best option.

Dr. Christian K. :

You are welcome. I hope everything works out well for you and Pepper

Customer:

Thanks again!

Dr. Christian K. :

You're welcome.

Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10,146
Experience: 12 years of veterinary experience in canine surgery, medicine and behavior
Verified
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Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Pepper. How is everything going?

Dr. Christian K.
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Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10,146
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Experience: 12 years of veterinary experience in canine surgery, medicine and behavior

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