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My 14 year old just started panting and occasionally shaking…

My 14 year old...

My 14 year old ***** ***** just started panting and occasionally shaking a few days ago. She seemed fine the next morning, and then worse again at night. At first, it was intermittent, but tonight she is panting and very shallow breathing. What could possibly be going on? She's on Vetmedin 2.5 and Salix 12.5 for the last year or two, and was fine 3 days ago. Something is very wrong.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name?

Elsie

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Elsie?

We were told she has "mild to moderate" health issues, and occasionally, when she gets too excited has "episodes" where her heart slows down and she has a seizure for a few seconds. Then she recovers in a minute or two, then is like nothing happened. She used to have 2 or 3 episodes per month. But she's had several in the last week or so.

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Answered in 11 minutes by:
3/23/2018
Heath Wilkerson
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 559
Experience: Associate Veterinarian at Woodland West Animal Hospital
Verified

Hi, Dr. W here. I'm sorry to hear this :(

Occasional syncopal episodes like you are describing can be no big deal, but I agree it is concerning that these are happening so frequently. Now Has your veterinarian discussed getting an echocardiogram, or a referral to a veterinary cardiologist?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Did that last summer. He sent her home with a her monitor. That's how she was diagnosed. But there's something very different going on. The panting, like she just ran a marathon, when she's just resting...and the occasional shaking (subtle, like a vibrating).
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That was a Holter monitor.

Okay, I think it is definitely time for an echo. She may need to be on cardiac meds as this is obviously progressing, and the more you tell me the more concerned I am getting. Does your vet have the capability to do an echo and consult with a cardiologist on the results?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
They did that also. She has been on Vet Medina 2.5 and Salix 12.5 to keep it under control. But how could she deteriorate so rapidly in 3 days, from a pre-existing condition? Could she have some type of infection, or something else going on? :(

Yes she could have an infection (for instance a respiratory infection) that could compound this.

BUT, what you just said, "how could she deteriorate so rapidly in 3 days" is the most common question my cardiac clients ask. The reason is that even though the progression is actually slow over time, you don't notice it because the heart is very good at compensating--until it can't compensate anymore--then you see the worsening very quickly and it seems to be very rapid deterioration when actually it was happening all along. So what you may be seeing in this case is not actually rapid deterioration but decompensation instead.

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It's time for another echo to determine how hard the heart has had to compensate since the last echo and most likely time to readjust medications based on the echo findings.

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It sounds like you have done an amazing job caring for her! I know these types of situations are time-consuming and she's lucky she has you! I hope this helps you make the next step to assess where her heart is now. It’s my pleasure to help you and your pet! Please remember to “accept” my answer, AND RATE OUR CONVERSATION 5-STARS (so I will receive credit for helping you). Bonuses are always welcome. (I am not compensated in any other way). If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! I’ll be online for another hour or so. Thanks and have a great night!

Heath Wilkerson
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 559
Experience: Associate Veterinarian at Woodland West Animal Hospital
Verified
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Elsie took a sudden turn for the worse on Saturday night. She passed away in my arms at 11:25 p.m. I guess we'll never know now. Thanks for your help, anyway.

My heart breaks o hear this :( I know she is at peace. I pray that over time the grief that you feel now will be replaced by all the joyful memories you and she made together. I am praying for you in this time of loss.

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