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Old 10-31-2009, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Seymour TN
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Question Congestive heart failure - how does it end?

Has anyone lost a dog to CHF? My angel is a 15-yr-old terrier mix. We found out a year ago that she has it, and pills have done all they can do. She is still doing OK, breathes loudly but seems to have no trouble. The vet stressed a good quality of life, that she will last longer if she knows she is loved - and by golly she does. I am terrified of not knowing how or when she will go, or if I will have to make that decision. What will happen first, will she not be able to breathe or will her heart fail? Thank you....
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:23 AM
 
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I am sorry.

While we have not lost a dog to CHF, we had a cat with severe cardiomyopathy. Because the end result is, I would have thought, the same (i.e. the heart isn't getting the blood to the brain - or anywhere else for that matter) I can't imagine the end symptoms would be too dissimilar. The cat was on the canine medication for heart failure (the name escapes me) because there is no feline version.

I do not want to seem like the doom-bringer, but I was forewarned and... well, it didn't exactly "help" (nothing does really) but I was glad I knew what to expect because it hard - very hard. Maybe you'll be blessed and the dog will just drift peacefully off. All I can say was poor wee Annabelle did not - for her it was going to be, in a word, awful.

After catching a glimpse of what it is like for an animal whose blood is no longer reaching the brain, I phoned the vet. He very gently told me that what I'd seen was only the tip of the iceberg. We made "that" appointment for the next day because there was no way I was going to have her suffer through another episode.

I can only strongly, strongly encourage you to have a full and frank discussion with your vet. You really do need to be aware of what's coming so that you can use the time now making up your mind about the decisions you'll have to make further down the road. Every dog is different and every owner is different - you need to find the answers for YOU. While myself and others on here can offer support, sympathy, and encouragement only you are going to know what is best, what YOU can live with.

15 years are very good innings. Take comfort and rejoice in all those years together.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDevil View Post
Has anyone lost a dog to CHF? My angel is a 15-yr-old terrier mix. We found out a year ago that she has it, and pills have done all they can do. She is still doing OK, breathes loudly but seems to have no trouble. The vet stressed a good quality of life, that she will last longer if she knows she is loved - and by golly she does. I am terrified of not knowing how or when she will go, or if I will have to make that decision. What will happen first, will she not be able to breathe or will her heart fail? Thank you....
If you are worried about it being a frantic ending that will traumatize you - I think you won't have to worry to much about that. My understanding from people I know that have had a pet end their days this way is that all their pet did was go to sleep and were found in that position at the end. As another poster said - every pet is different though and your vet is in the best position to give you advice. God bless you for taking such good care of this sweet senior. Give her lots of love and hugs from me and mine.
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Old 10-31-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: California
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Heart Failure In Dogs - Congestive Cardiomyopathy

I had a good friend whose dog passed from CHF. He went peacefully in his sleep, which we can only pray that happens to us all. But, sadly, it does not. Hopefully, the above link will help with the info you are looking for. Good luck with your furbaby and please, keep us posted.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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Our ESS had this at 14 and she became disoriented and tired and died in her sleep next to our bed. Her ending was very peaceful.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
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Our Cocker Spaniel Bear was diagnosed with CHF about 2 years ago. He takes Enalapril once a day and half a tab of Lasix twice a day--along with half a tab of Vetedin twice a day too. He gets regualr xrays to monitor the size of his enlarged heart. Now with that said....Bear was adopted by my boyfriend about 12 years ago from a family who didnt want them around their soon to be arriving baby...their loss. We think he is at least 14. He lost his hearing about a year ago, but his eye sight is fine, he is a loving gentle soul and loves children and all animals, especially our cats. He sleeps most days but when awake he loves to be outside. He will run down the steps (about 8 of them) like a puppy.....after running around barking for a short time, he remembers that his body isnt able to keep up with his young spirit. A little panting, a slow climb back up the steps, he watches over his yard again. I love our Bear, he is a sweetheart, but we know his time with his wont be much longer due to a lot of the reading I do that says a lot of dogs dont live much more than a year after being diagnosed. I hope Bear will prove all of us wrong. BUT, we monitor him closely, keep his meds on a regular schedule and know that when his time does come, we will help him if that need be, and he will pass here at home with us where he should.
I would encourage you to make sure the breathing isnt something else, or that your current meds dont need to be adjusted. Bears have been adjusted and it has always helped him.
My best to you.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Living on 10 acres in Oklahoma
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We had a 15 y/o cat with CHF who passed in his sleep on his favorite chair three years ago. We had visits with a specialist every two weeks. We told the specialist that we never wanted him to suffer and only wanted quality of life for him. It was best the best ending for we could have hoped for. Working with the specialist helped us emotionally prepare...as much as one can in this situation that his end would come sooner than we wanted.

I totally understand the fear of worrying what you'll find when you get home.

Last edited by Amazonchix; 10-31-2009 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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my chihuahua was diagnosed with CHF a few months ago.He's also on enalapril and lasix.He is fine now.He was coughing A LOT so i took him to the vet and i found out he had it.Hes eating like a champ,still has lots of pep and "attitude".i hope i have a few years left with him.Hes very special to me and ill be devastated when its his time.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Seymour TN
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Even though I've done lots of internet research on it, and talked to the vet, that link above gave me more detailed info. She also has allergies and arthritis so she is on Lasix, Enalapril, Rimadyl and a joint supplement with Lecithin. It sounds like she may not become disoriented, but it seems that the lack of oxygen would affect the brain at some point.

I am a very emotional person, I feel things very strongly, especially for her... how on earth do I prepare for this? We have 2 other dogs (male) but that will not help me. My love for them is not even close.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:05 AM
 
Location: California
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I'm glad the link helped a bit.
Although I've never had an animal suffer from this, I have had dogs, that I knew were approaching death. One can just live each day one day at a time, treating the animal as tho it were his last...treating him like the king that he is. In my case, I made sure I was the first thing he saw in the morning and last thing he saw at night, with lots of hugs and re-assurring words. I spent lots of time on the floor with his big ole head in my lap, speaking to him...he may not have understood it all, but I felt he took comfort in hearing my voice. When I couldn't be with him...he always had a tee shirt or some piece of clothing that was mine near him, so he could at least take comfort in my scent on the clothing. All of these things are for the animal, but it gave me great comfort as well, knowing it was basically the only thing I could do...as the rest was out of my hands. I cherished each of those moments.
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