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I rescued my dog this week and he came from a hoarding

Customer Question
Hi Pearl, I rescued...

Hi Pearl, I rescued my dog this week and he came from a hoarding situation. He's a 5-6 year old Chihuahua and when I take him to the vet for an exam she detected a heart mumur with a stethoscope. She recommended that I get him a echocardiogram and she said that the diagnostic test is $800. Unfortunately, for me it's unaffordable and I do not know what to do. Today my sister said he had a coughing fit and he started coughing a bit while he was laying down. I'm just concerned and need some advice on how I should proceed?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help your dog. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?

Well I suspect that he's never had a dental cleaning so after reading more about this topic, that seems relevant.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Dog
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
To give you more background and be as specific as possible, he sneezes frequently and he breathes odd at times it and sounds like how a pug breathes. However, to me it didn't seem like he was having difficulty breathing I just figured it was a quirk about him. She didn't grade his heart mumur, she simply went on to suggest the ultrasound or an x-ray but said that the ultrasound would be the best diagnostic tool. Is his heart mumur something that I shold be concerned about? I certainly plan on taking him to a vet that will provide me with more detail than simply pushing an ultrasound on me. Furthermore, will an ultrasound be conclusive? I'm thinking he may be showing signs of congenital heart failure or endocarditis due his lack of dental cleanings. The vet did mention that his teeth should be cleaned and that he has dental disease but failed to mention the link between these conditions.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Lastly, I wouldn't say that he's excercise intolerant he loves taking walks and practically runs the entire time. I also wouldn't say that he's lethargic he sleeps quite a bit but he has bouts of energy for his age and condition I'd say he has a moderate to low activity level. On our walks (which are about 20 minutes) I take him on 3 times a day he walks fast and runs. I feel like if he were lethargic he wouldn't have any interest in w alking or running like he does.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
My dog also has kennel cough back in August and he finished his antibiotic on 11/18/17.
Answered in 9 hours by:
12/11/2017
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 34,781
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. To answer you directly, miniature dogs usually suffer from myxomatous valve disease ("leaky valves") resulting in murmur and these dogs usually don't require an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) nor electrocardiogram (EKG) which can be waived unless arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) was detected. Chest X-rays are essential, however, and if evidence of heart failure - an enlarged left atrium, usually - is seen treatment with some combination of an ACE inhibitor such as enalapril, a diuretic such as furosemide, and the heart drug pimobendan might be prescribed. The X-rays will also look at his trachea (windpipe) for evidence of collapse - another common cause of coughing in a miniature dog - as well as his lungfields for chronic sterile bronchitis and other lung parenchymal disorders. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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