View Full Version : Coughing :-(

22nd December 2006, 10:51 AM
Hi everyone, and Happy Christmas,

I'm worried about my boy at the moment. According to the vet his heart has sounded 'terrible' for about a year now, but he's never really coughed that much before (he's 14 and has had a mumur since he was about 7). The last few days he's been coughing really badly though :( Can hear him hacking during the night and he coughs after he's been lying down for a little while. Am worried that this is the beginning of the end :( Hate hearing him cough away. It's horrible. :cry*ing:

I guess other people here must have been through similar things with their precious babies. What should I do/expect over the next few weeks? We're going to Wales tomorrow for Christmas, which will be at least a 4 hour drive. Worried that the whole trip will be too much for him. His back legs are also getting progressively weaker and seizing up now and then (although they have been better recently).

My poorly boy :( Can't bear the thoight of being without him :cry*ing:
Pepsi x

Cathy Moon
22nd December 2006, 02:29 PM
Hi Pepsi,
So sorry to hear of this development in your boy's health. :( This is so heartbreaking, and we do have members who have been through Mitral Valve disease who can offer you advice. Remember, you are not alone - we are here for you.

Is he on any heart medications? If so, has your vet tried adjusting the dosage to get an improvement?

If it were me I would consider postponing the trip if at all possible to be near the vet.

I had a phone conversation with my vet about my 14.5 year old dog when I realized her end was near (she had severe arthritis/mobility problems). He was very kind, patient, and helpful in explaining everything. They helped me through the entire process, and I still find comfort in that. Putting my old/sick doggy's needs before my own frees me from having any regrets.

Here are some links that might be helpful for MVD:



22nd December 2006, 03:17 PM
It certainly sounds like an episode that one of my girls had about 2 months ago except she had trouble with breathing (edema). So, she's been put on Enalapril & Lasix and has really done very well.

I'd definitely give my vet a call before leaving. It doesn't take long to get them started on the meds if he needs it. Esp. if he has fluid build-up around his heart.

Who can think about life without them? I tell my two girls every day that I just can't imagine life in our house w/out them there. I'll be thinking about you & your guy over the holidays.


Cathy T
22nd December 2006, 03:36 PM
So sorry Pepsi is feeling so poorly. This is definitely the place to ask questions. I've yet to have this experience so can't offer more than my prayers and hugs.

22nd December 2006, 03:41 PM
Thanks for your replies. Those links were very helpul.

He's on Fortekor and Frusemide. I've given him a little more Frusemide than usual today (just an extra dose), and he's sleeping happily at the moment. He seems a little better. I'm taking him to the vet this evening, just to be on the safe side (he seems to be there almost every week at the moment!). Guess we'll decide what to do about the trip to Wales based on what the vet says. If it were just up to me, we would stay here. But my partner thinks I'm overreacting a bit, and thinks that Charlie will be fine. We're going to a cottage near to his parents, so he'd be very disappointed not to go.

Grr! Don't know what to do :( Wish we were staying here, but would feel terrible pulling out.

Pepsi x

Cathy T
22nd December 2006, 03:43 PM
Let us know what the vet says. Hope he's feeling better soon.

22nd December 2006, 03:49 PM
Hope he feels better and thinking about you. :flwr:

22nd December 2006, 04:32 PM
good luck--i hope it will just be an episode and that changes in meds can ease the coughing. sorry you have to go through this, and that charlie does. :hug:

22nd December 2006, 05:51 PM
Hopefully, the extra lasix will give Charlie some relief.

When our Charley would start coughing, the extra dose usually helped a lot.

They cough because of the fluid build-up, as previously stated.

What a darling boy!

Hope Charlie and yourself are feeling better soon. :flwr:

Barbara Nixon
22nd December 2006, 06:08 PM
I feel for you because Izzy is exactly the same. We went to the vets yesterday and he suggested, as i had done anyway, upping his Frusicare. He seems fine during the day but coughs during thet night, in a very shrill way, whereas before, he only coughed first thinga dna couple of times a day and very briefly.

I've been sleeping downstairs with him, as he usually comes upstairs with us, but I felt that , like with me, the cold night air was making him cough.
We don't have the central heating on , as it suits neither of us and, in fact , ubntil the weekend, he seemrd to be thriving on the cooler weather.

Another thing was that his eyes went sort of horizontal and puffy round the membrane surrounding the socket. Fran's boy has been off too and he had bad eyes, though her vet treated for infection and mine reckonned (it had cleared up when we saw him) that the swelling was probably due to extra hard coughing.

Let's hope these boys are just having the temporary effects of this odd foggy weather and that it will soon clear up.

22nd December 2006, 07:51 PM
Thank you all for your best wishes. So sorry that Izzy is poorly too. We're just back from the vet. He said that Charlie's heart doesn't sound as strong as it should, and he's added in Vetmedin. Anyone tried this? Also going to keep him on a higher dose of Frusemide for a couple of days. Vet said he should be fine in car for journey to Wales, so we're going. He is quite calm in the car, and settles down quite quickly.

Thank you all again. Hope you have a fab Christmas (and I hope we do too! :xfngr:). Will post when back from hols.

Pepsi x

22nd December 2006, 08:21 PM
hope all goes all goes well.sorry the old fella .know how you all feel.

22nd December 2006, 09:18 PM
Oh Pepsi I'm sorry to hear about this...have been thinking of you over the last few days, I thought you were due to be going away.

Vetmedin can be very effective - it doesn't help every dog, but for those it does, there can be a very good improvement. I'm sure they will have told you, but you need to give it on an empty stomach.

You might need to make more frequent stops with the higher dose of Frusemide...and to time it well, they usually need to wee about 1 to 1 1/2 hours after a dose. And there might be the odd accident on it too, so make sure to take a clean up kit...

We hope you manage to have a good Christmas, and to make some special memories to treasure - will be thinking of you and sending lots of postiive, healing thoughts.

Please let us know as soon as you are home...

22nd December 2006, 09:38 PM
Vetmedin definitely at this phase -- that should really help. I'd try to get that started immediately if you can. It completely changed Hammer/Hammie within a day, as Yvonne can testify, and is suppsoed to be particularly good at the point a dog starts to cough. There's an article in the MVD forum on this; please also see the very detailed explanations in the Health Library, up near the top, on MVD dogs from PatB -- a real expert in this area.

I am sorry to hear Pepsi is having these difficulties but might have quite some time yet on Vetmedin; on average it adds many months of comfortable life at least.


22nd December 2006, 10:07 PM
barbara, i'm sorry to hear about izzy. sounds like a nasty cough. i hope upping the dose will give him, and you, some relief and comfort..

Cathy Moon
22nd December 2006, 10:41 PM
Pepsi, I am going to move your thread to the 'SM and MVD' forum, but will leave a 'shadow' topic here as well. That way people won't lose sight of it very easily, as can happen in this 'Health and Diet' forum.

Cathy Moon
22nd December 2006, 10:45 PM
We're sending all our positive thoughts to you and Charlie! Hope you have a nice trip and that Charlie enjoys himself too! :flwr:

Barbara Nixon
23rd December 2006, 12:36 PM
Vetmedin is certainly good and quick acting. Izzy got Fortekor 5 when he first started caoughing, two years ago (grade 6 even then). He had breathing difficulties as the wether warmed, so got Vetmedin which took effect very quickly. Then with hot weather he had a relapse so had the dose doubled. These drugs kept him well, though he had a slight cough still, until the end of this summer, when he needed frusicare, as fluid had started to build.

With the new extra Frusicare, he seems to have come round again. We had a good night with onlt one little cough. The wether is milder, so I think it was to blame. all our relapses have been in extreme wether conditions.

23rd December 2006, 01:45 PM
Oh Pepsi, I'm so sorry that Charlie's poorly.

I wish I'd seen this thread yesterday, but your vet's done just what I would've suggested.

Vetmedin is a wonderful drug. When Cailean started coughing, they didn't offer Vetmedin at first. When he went back after a week with no improvement on the drugs prescribed, I INSISTED on Vetmedin. Luckily, all our vets know I've been through this with another dog and are happy for me to take an active part in decisions about his meds.

If the extra Frusecare and Vetmedin don't relieve the cough quickly (within 2-3 days), I'd take him back to your vet as soon as you can. There's another drug, Corventyl, which oftens helps the cough, as it helps to open up the airways.

There must be an emergency vet somewhere near where you're going .... so if he was really poorly, you'd have support. Keep an eye on Charlie tho' .... use your commonsense and gut feelings. Not to frighten anyone, but if they are more poorly than usual, get help, as things can happen quickly. Dogs with MVD are also very good at giving scares, as Barbara knows only too well too. Cailean gave me the worst scare ever in the summer, when he ended up on oxygen in the emergency vets, and hospitalised overnight.

Barbara, I hope Izzy feels ok over Christmas. He's doing so well - 2 years on meds, and a Grade 6 .... I didn't realise. That is encouraging news for those of us going through the same thing. I'd love Cailean to do that well.

Barbara Nixon
23rd December 2006, 06:15 PM
He was a 4/5 in the June, with no symptoms, then went rapidly to a 6 by December. I know someone else whose bitch did exactly the same, but even at 6 she didn't have any symptoms for ages. She was better than Izzy, but then, earlier this year, she went downhill rapidly and had to be pts.

The vet gave Izzy, Fortekor first, to slow his heart down. He had had a slight cough, very like KC since early December, but I assumed it was KC, as he'd been in contact with it. I went to the vet expecting antibiotics, so was quite shocked at the outcome.

About Eastertime, we had some warm , close wether and he started to mouth breath a lot, so was put on Vetmedin to 'open the tubes'. I'm not sure whetherthese 'tubes' were bloodvessels or airways. This was doubled in the hot summer, when he had a similar relapse and the vet said we were coming to the end..of what could be done.

With the odd off days, associated with hot, very wet or very changeable weather, he did fine until the end of this years hot spell. Then he started mouth breathing and panting, sides heaving. Also his hernia was hard, making me think he was now beginning to retaiin water and I was right. The vet gave him Frusicare (2xhalf), but said we would have to have a serious think, if he wasn't better within three days. He was fine the next day.

Having talked to people who've had dogs with mvd (not all ckcs) I think they are affected by the actual airpressure, as well as temperature and humidity.

29th December 2006, 06:01 PM
Hello there,

Hope you all had a good Christmas. We're just back from Wales, which was very nice :) Charlie is still coughing a bit (mostly first thing in the morning), but he had a lovely time and was as good as gold in the car - just sat and dozed and was really calm. We stopped off quite a few times for break - he was really brill :) We had a lovely cottage with an open fire, and he got to have several little walks during the day. He's going back to the vet for a check up tomorrow - hopefully the Vetmedin will have had some effect.

Thank you all again for all your best wishes. I really do appreciate it - it's really nice to be able to post here and get help from people who really care.

And here's lots of photos from hols!! (he's not looking bad for 14, is he? :D)

Thank you,
Pepsi x

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/159/337512642_462410522a_m.jpg http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/337512645_ecd4151abe_m.jpg http://farm1.static.flickr.com/144/337512646_9f61ef61f7_m.jpghttp://farm1.static.flickr.com/128/337512648_2af2bdbafd_m.jpg



Claire L
29th December 2006, 11:15 PM
So glad you made the trip. Charlie sure looks like he enjoyed himself.
I had Rudee on Vetmedin for about six years and she was great on it. I even managed to decrease the dose from 1 tab twice daily to half tab twice daily and she had no problems with it. The pics are great and it's so wonderful to see such a beautiful 14 yr old boy enjoying himself.


Cathy Moon
30th December 2006, 04:15 AM
Wow, the photos are wonderful, and it looks like Charlie had a very nice time in Wales! He sure does have a nice comfy bed :)

Om's Mom
31st December 2006, 05:57 PM
(Just found your thread over here in the MVD forum.)

Charlie is beautiful, Pepsi. Loved the photos of him: he looks to have enjoyed his holiday.
Sorry to hear about Izzy, too, Barbara. I understand about you moving to be near him during the night.
I was the same with my little Dickens. I even made a pallet to be near him all thru the night. He sought out cold places, even outside on the pond ice or in the snow. At night alongside the colder exterior walls of the room. His legs gave out one night.
As I was reading your notes about the night time coughing, I got to wondering if having their head and/or upper body elevated a bit would help? It does for humans sometimes. Just a thought.
Hugs, Dorothy and Om

5th January 2007, 08:14 PM

Never mind about him not looking bad for a 14 yr old I think he's fab! I tell you what, if i still have my Maxx when he's 14 I will consider myself completely blessed :D

I'm so glad you all had a lovely time in wales, the cottage looks gorgeous and Charlie looks more than contented there :hug:

How is he doing now?

6th January 2007, 12:04 PM
Hiya - Charlie is actually doing really well at the moment :D His coughing has got much better (we increased the diuretics, and added Vetmedin). He was also having problems with his back legs (stiffness & weakness) which seems to have got much better too.

So overall he's pretty good at the moment - he's happy and pretty lively for an old man. Long may it continue :)
Pepsi x

Cathy T
6th January 2007, 11:58 PM
That's great news!

7th January 2007, 04:15 PM
Oh that's wonderful news, really pleased to hear that he's doing well.

14th January 2007, 11:20 PM
Wonderful news :flwr: Hope he continues to do so well. He's such a gorgeous, dignified old man :lotsaluv: :flwr:

14th January 2007, 11:45 PM
Good news. :)

15th January 2007, 06:29 AM
:thmbsup: Such good news..keep it up little fella!

The pictures are stunning, he is just one adorable gentleman x ;)

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

18th January 2007, 01:33 AM
What a handsome boy! I never would have guessed that he was 14! Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip and that he is doing so well!


3rd February 2007, 04:11 PM
Hi all,

Thanks for all your best wishes. Not posted here in a while - been busy busy with new job.

Charlie is still doing pretty well. He still coughs a bit, and we now think that's because of his enlarged heart, rather than because he has fluid on his lungs. The vet can't hear any fliud at the moment, and he seems to cough mostly when he's in a funny position (e.g. he can't tolerate sleeping on his side for long nowadays).

He gets pretty stiff sometimes, poor old boy. The other morning he didn't seem to be able to put any weight on one of his front legs. But that didn't last long, and generally he still manages to go for walks with no adverse side effects. The walks are only about 10 mins long, but he loves them.

I think he's got a pretty great attitude all in all. He has so many health problems, but he's still a happy old boy and enjoys life. Hope I'll be the same when I'm in his situation! Only negative is that he wakes us up most mornings at about 5am cos he needs to go pee! Zzzzz.

Pepsi x

3rd February 2007, 05:41 PM
Glad to hear he's doing so well!! :) He's such a trooper!! I had to get up with my bordeaux 2x in the middle of the night so you're still doing better than I was, LOL. ;)

Glad things are going well - I just love him. ;) Nice to hear an update! :flwr:

3rd February 2007, 07:09 PM
Thanks Sara :) By the way, I saw the pics of Trixie. She's absolutely goregous (as is Kosmo).

3rd February 2007, 10:46 PM

I'm so pleased Charlie is coping better now :flwr: send him to us Monday to Friday overnight as hubby is up for work before 5am - he can let both the Charlie's out together :lol:

4th February 2007, 03:40 PM
I was rereading some posts and saw yours about Charlie. He is SUCH a handsome guy. I'm so glad that he's doing okay. The pictures from your trip are wonderful. Your comments about him reminded me of our Toby (who's in the "In Memoriam" section). They both have the same dignified look of old gentlemen and the same perseverance in face of lots of health problems. These older dogs are great and worth every minute.