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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14923
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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My 5 mo old Rottweiler has difficulty breathing, difficulty

Customer Question

My 5 mo old Rottweiler has difficulty breathing, difficulty eating due to her breathing and ataxia in her hind legs. These symptoms have been progressive and are severe at this point. She had bloodwork yesterday and an X-ray. It showed high phosphorus levels, elevated liver enzyme and fluid in her lungs, enlarged liver and an irregular look to her intestines. She on two antibiotics now, a bronchodilator and rimadyl for her legs. So far we really have seen no improvement. She can't play or move or anything without respiratory issues.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am so sorry to hear about your Rottweiler. She is so young to be so sick! I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Since I can't see and examine her and look at the Xrays, the more information I have the better I can help. Do you have the blood test results? I would like to know her BUN, her ALB (albumin) especially but seeing the bloodwork, and the Xrays if you have them, would really help.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
The breathing difficulty is probably due to the fluid in the lungs. Did they start any medication such as Furosemide/Lasix to try to remove the fluid? If she has liver disease, she might have low albumin. If her albumin is below 2.0, that can cause fluid in the lungs.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
If she were mine I would try to determine if she has liver disease I would do a blood test called bile acids, to check liver function, and to rule out a condition called a liver shunt. I would consider doing an abdominal ultrasound to learn more about the liver and intestines. An ultrasound would also tell us something about her pancreas; the xrays and blood tests do not tell us anything about the pancreas. So that is where I would start if she were mine: check the albumin level, start a diuretic to get the fluids out of the lungs, do a bile acids blood test. Once I have those results, I would next consider an ultrasound. This sounds serious, and since she is young, it could be a congenital, inborn problem. Once we get a diagnosis of what her problem is, we will know the treatment. Since you do not have a diagnosis yet, more tests need to be done. Let me know what else I can answer or help with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Her albumin is 3. Her BUN is 14.3 and creatinine is 0.7. Her phosphorus is 10.1, cholesterol is 386, and ALP is 205. Her RBC is 4.95, hgb 11.4 and hct 32.9. She's on tribulatine for breathing, batryl and clavamax. And then rimadyl. I don't see any improvement in her and she keeps getting worse. And I was wrong she's 4 mo old not 5. Not sure where I got that. She started with heavy panting about a month after we got her and it's just progressed. She seems like she has trouble locating us now too. When we got her we were concerned with her vision cause she would run into things and that seemed to get better. It's just horrible seeing her like this.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Albumin of 3 is excellent, and shows good liver function. If she is only 4 months, it sure sounds like she has some congenital problem. If you want to find out what is wrong with her, she may need things like CT or MRI, to look at her brain and spinal cord. It sounds like her vision is not right, and that indicates a possible brain problem. I am sorry, this sounds so sad to see her like this.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Let me know if I can help with or answer any more questions. Let me know how she is doing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is sad and horrible to see her like this and she is such a sweet dog. She's so smart and has a huge loving heart. I'm hoping to get her into Cornell soon. And I will let you know how she is doing. Thanks.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
Taking her to Cornell is a great idea. I hope they can help her.
Let me know if I can help with anything else, and how she is doing. Kindly consider rating my answer (always appreciated); you can always get back to me with updates and questions after rating.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well she has an appt in Cornell Monday at 9:30a. They told us will cost $1000-2500 initially for eval and testing. I believe that she has a genetic heart abnormality and is severe CHF. Her breathing continues to decline and it's getting harder and harder for her. She's getting skinnier. She seems to want to eat but she is throwing up more. She was having a bowel movement last evening and it was so hard for her and she threw up several times and then couldn't breathe. It took me over an hour to try and calm her down. Her gums were very pale/grey and I don't think she was getting enough oxygen. She kept closing her eyes and pawing at them. I held her on my lap and cried and she finally fell asleep but still was breathing hard. Right now I don't know if Cornell will really matter. Will putting her on a beta blocker at this point really benefit her? She's declined so rapidly. I don't want to make her suffer or struggle like that.
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry she is so sick. Pale/grey gums is a sign her heart is not pumping enough blood to her body and brain, and that her body and brain are being deprived of oxygen.
I think she needs more than a beta blocker, and slowing her heart rate may actually be dangerous. I would not use a drug like that until she has had a cardiologist evaluate her.
It sounds like she has a bad heart. There is always a chance they may be able to help her, but probably not a great chance. Let me know what you decide and how she is doing.