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Ana Bascunan
Ana Bascunan,
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 103
Experience:  Small Animal Surgery Resident at University of Florida
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My dog is not eating and s stomach is enlarge and he seems

Customer Question

My dog is not eating and his stomach is enlarge and he seems very tired ... What can I do to help him?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your dog. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Kiki and he is about 11 years old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Keiki?
Customer: He got heart worm and current is on heart guard as we were told that he is too old for the procedure to remove the one s that is his heart.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Ana Bascunan replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I'm happy to help answer your question about Kiki. I'm sorry to hear that he's not been feeling well and not wanting to eat. How long has this been going on?

Expert:  Ana Bascunan replied 1 year ago.

Generally speaking (and I must speak generally since I am not able to examine Kiki in person), given Kiki's history of heart worm infection and now an enlarged belly and decreased energy/appetite, I am concerned that Kiki has gone into right-sided heart failure. Right-sided heart failure occurs when the right side of the heart has do extra work for too long such as pumping against increased pressure (as in the case of heart worm infection, where the adult worms are blocking up the outflow tract of the right side of the heart). Eventually the muscles of the heart grow weak and can no longer overcome the pressure needed to get past the adult heart worms. When the right side of the heart fails, fluid backs up through the vena cava (the large vein connecting the abdominal organs to the heart) and into the abdomen. This fluid build up leads to the enlarged (pot belly) appearance of the abdomen. It also makes it hard for Kiki to breathe effectively, which causes a further decrease in energy level.

Right-sided heart failure can be managed with medications, but generally it is only a matter of time before Kiki's quality of life declines and you will be faced with the difficult decision to let him go. He is also at risk of something called Caval Syndrome, which occurs when the adult heart worms block blood flow to and from the heart. This causes sudden onset labored breathing, pale gums, and severe illness. Dogs with caval syndrome cannot survive without surgery to remove the worms.

My recommendation is to take Kiki in to see his veterinarian tomorrow morning. They can prescribe medications to help his heart beat more effectively. You can also discuss heart worm treatment called Immiticide. This is an injection that kills adult heart worms. It is dangerous and carries complications, and it may or may not be indicated in Kiki's case given that his heart muscle is failing (you and your veterinarian will have to decide on this). If Kiki's condition declines overnight, please seek emergency veterinary care for him as needed.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I can tell how much you love him and it's heartbreaking when our pets get older and become sick. I wish you and Kiki the best.

Expert:  Ana Bascunan replied 1 year ago.

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

Ana Bascunan