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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28936
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I was wondering what lifestyle or environmental causes there

Customer Question

Customer: I'm Ken. I was wondering what lifestyle or environmental causes there might be for a small dog to get excess fluid on the lungs. My vet says that both of my Poms have chronic fluid on the lungs and they frequently get diuretics but the problem persists. The vet has mentioned exposure to air-con (I live in a tropical climate), direct exposure to fans, sleeping on cool tile floors (like the bathroom), etc., but I wonder what information/advice others might have. Their condition is not serious at this point, just worrisome.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Well, they seem fine but get that rasping cough when they get excited. And they get that cough from time to time even when not excited. The female sometimes has a cough that seems like she is trying to clear something out of her throat. She is 5 years old; the male is 7.5 years old.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Ken, the diagnosis of "excess fluid on the lungs" is unclear and likely to be mistaken. The use of diuretics should be reserved when a confirmed diagnosis of congestive heart failure or thoracic effusion (fluid collecting in the space around the heart and lungs) is made. I suspect that X-rays of your dogs' chest haven't been performed and such X-rays will need to be performed for me to better understand why they cough as they do. Collapsing windpipe (trachea) is a very common cause of such coughing in Poms but a sterile bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heartworm disease, and any number of cardiopulmonary disorders may exist. See if you can find another vet who is capable of "working up" your dogs - carefully auscultating (listening) to their chest and then heartworm testing and X-raying them.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have taken x-rays and shown them to me. The area around the lungs looks white when it should be black (if I remember correctly). And they say it is fairly common among dogs here- in the city, and always caution me about not letting them sit in front of a stationary fan, etc, they said to always have it oscillating, and other such things. I try to keep the air-con on low so they don't get chilled but without it we would all have heat stroke, I guess. But the condition persists- that's what I'm concerned about. These days I rarely notice any coughing, wheezing, etc, except when they get excited and jump around, like when there is a visitor or when I am getting ready to take them for a walk. But the vet just pointed this out to me earlier today and that's why I tried another online search to see if I could find some more info to help me out. I'm not sure if I have pics of the x-rays available on my phone or computer but if I can find anything I will send it on. I have a couple of friends here who are vets but they are out of town for the holidays and they no longer have clinics- one is retired and the other is doing full time research. The problem with the dogs is not acute and I feel they are better than before, but the vet mentioned the problem again today; the dogs had just spent several days being boarded at the clinic while I was out of town for a long weekend.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I would very much like to see the X-rays. I'm not aware of any condition that would worsen by their sitting in front of a stationary fan. You've received very curious advice. I'll watch for your next post and reply as soon as I can review the X-rays.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Interesting, my vet friend who is retired has also commented that I have been given some odd advice (about a condition unrelated to this fluid problem) from that clinic, but otherwise, they (the clinic) seem to be very good and they take very good care of their patients. I will try to have a chat with my vet friend when he gets back from his European trip early next month. In the meantime I will trawl thru my photos collection to see if I have a pic of the x-ray of the lungs. I know I have some pics of x-rays but don't remember if they show the lungs well. The search will take some time; it is almost midnight here now and I am fading fast. I'll keep my fingers crossed about that pic search. If I come up empty handed, I could go over in the next few days and ask to take a photo of some of the previously done x-rays. I assume they keep them on file- fingers crossed again.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

No worries. I'll keep a watch out for your next post.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin