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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She

Resolved Question:

My dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She is taking lasix 3 times a day. She is very thirsty and today started to be kind of lethargic. She has been having a cough which has not gone away. Should the cough disappear with the medication vetmentin, lassix, lutensin and tussigon? She started with lasix twice a day and has increased to 3 times and now she is acting a little lethargic. Is she getting worse? What else can be done? Please help. She also is taking phenobarbital since she had epileptic attacks in the past.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like we still need something to decrease the size of the heart as that is what causes compression on the bronchi and coughing. The best medication to do this is an ACE inhibitor like Enalapril. I would talk to your vet about starting Enalapril and see if that helps.

The Lasix dose may also need to be increased. I usually go with 1-2 mg per lb twice daily but I'm not afraid to double that if needed to get the response I'm looking for.

There is another diuretic that can be added- Spironolactone. I don't use it much, but it's an option that is out there.

Typically our life span is ~ 1 year following the diagnosis of CHF (congestive heart failure). We also have some that don't last more than 6 months and others that live many years. It all depends on how responsive they are to medication.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She started being lethargic today could it be due to the increase of lassix? She started with 12.5 mg twice a day then we added half a pill and now we are to 3 times a day. Since Thursday. Can lassix be causing an eloctrolyte imbalance and causing her to be lethargic? I skipped lassix today(only gave two pills) Are they on lassix for the rest of their lives? Is Vetmedin not a good choice? She is a toy poodle who weighs about 8-10 pounds. Thank you so much for your help. She is still very playful and acts normal except for the coughing.Tonight I have gotten concerned because she is acting week and I was concerned that it could be the lassix increase.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How long do the medications take to work? she has only been on them for 3 weeks. Is that enough?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.
The lethargy is more likely due to progression of the CHF, not the lasix. Lasix should not cause lethargy.

When we give too much Lasix, we see dehydration and often flexion of the head where they carry the head low- this is from having too low blood Potassium.

My CHF patients I put on Lasix, Enalapril and Vetmedin and yes they are on them for life.

The medications are working within hours of giving them.
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