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Cocker Spaniel with bad cough

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Kevin Simpson, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Hi - hoping someone can give advice.

    We have a 12 year old male cocker spaniel. About 12 months ago he began to develop a small cough, which over time has gotten worse. About 5 weeks ago the vet did a lot of tests and identified a lung infection. The vet prescribed antibiotics for 2 weeks with steroids, which resulted in no improvement. The vet then prescribed different antiobiotics for another 2 weeks continuing with 1.5x the steriods for 2 more weeks.
    The cough is steadily getting worse, always resulting in a hacking climax but never bringing anything up.

    The cough is at its worst when he gets up from a rest, or in the morning. It does not occur when he is active or exercising. The cough is getting more frequent and sounding rougher in recent days.

    We are going back to the vet tomorrow, however we are losing confidence in the vet's knowledge of this problem.

    Please can anyone give any advice?

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Kevin
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    If you don't have confidence in your vet, you can go elsewhere. It's not like doctors with people, although Covid may mean some are not taking new patients.

    How is his heart?
     
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I agree with JoanneF - get a second opinion.
     
  4. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree.
     
  5. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Thank you for your replies. We changed vet a few months ago as we were only seeing very new, inexperienced vets at that practice who didn't inspire much confidence. They gave him antibiotics back then (so that's actually three different antibiotics he's had.). We then moved to a recommended vet who has 30 years of experience. We asked the new vet if it could be his heart, as we had read online it could be a heart problem, and she said his heart is fine and his lively manner and appearance did not indicate a heart problem.

    He does seem quite short of breath and lacking in energy generally, although if we throw his ball on the beach he can still generate a bit of a decent run to go get it.

    One other thing which may not be relevant - about 4 months ago he seemed to hurt his back just rolling on the floor which resulted in short term loss of use of rear legs. He has recovered but his rear legs are still less mobile than they used to be.

    The current vet said at the last visit 2 weeks ago that if these meds don't work he may need to go see a cardiac specialise. I find it hard to understand how a vet who has probably treated 10000+ dogs in a career can't know more about this problem.

    Thanks very much again,

    Kevin
     
  6. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    As well as echoing what was suggested above, it may be worth filming him when he is coughing so the vet also can hear what type of cough he has and if you haven't already, definitaly mention the episode with his rear legs, the more information you can give the better, even if it doesn't seem related. Wishing you and your dog all the best, please let us know how you get on.
     
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  7. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Thank you - we have an appointment at the vet tomorrow. So far £1300 has been spent, which did include an anaesthetic and removal of two teeth.
     
  8. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Have any of them considered that he might have inhaled a grass seed or similar? Or might have a lung problem? Lung infections need specific antibiotics not general catch-alls, or there may be something else going on in there. has he been tested for lungworm?

    I hope your vet visit goes well and you get some answers.
     
  9. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    And please let us know how you get on.
     
  10. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't want to scare you, but heart issues can be cause for cough too and that can show its signs during the rest and soon after getting up as a type of cough. One of my elderly dogs had just that and the treatment was heart medication and water tablets. But any vet who is up their job should easily pick any signs of abnormal heart sounds during general examination. But it is fact of life that not all vets are up to perfection...or not all the time so second opinion (as already suggested) would be way to go on.
     
  11. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    We are making a list of your comments to take to the vet - thank you. One other thing worth noting is that he can be distracted from coughing, eg. if he thinks there is a treat on offer, or if my partner (his 'Mum') is in another room. In these cases he seems too pre-occupied and forgets about the thing that is making him cough. To me this suggests he maybe has a physical minor irritation (like a tickly throat or something) which he constantly coughs to overcome, but given a distraction he doesn't notice it, however I'm no dog psychologist!
     
  12. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Hi Finsky - did your dog need to undergo specific/complex tests to identify the type of heart problem which needed to be treated? I suspect our vet might may make this long and drawn-out (and expensive) so I'd like to know if it really does need to be this way or can be simpler. Thanks very much
     
  13. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Uh...it was yeeeears ago so I don't have fresh memory of it. If my memory serves me right, it wasn't anything complex to test. In our dog's case there was all the typical other signs to associate with the diagnose....so I recall that there was only the initial 'listening the chest/lungs & heart'. With some heart issues scan is needed to determine exact physical problems of it.
    Our dog's heart issue (because of its old age) caused water to collect its lungs during the night...and when it would wake up, it would start coughing. Any excitement or physical strain that would make him get out of breath brought the cough on and it sounded like it had something stuck in its throat and he tried to clear it out. The type of cough sound is quite specific to the issue. He needed water tablet to flush the liquids out of his system....but then he would get thirsty and he needed to drink more...and heart tablet was to keep the heart ticking stronger so that the fluids would push around in his system that bit better.
    It was quite a circle of liquids that went through his little body in daily bases and all that had to come out too so there was lots of puddles/accidents as a result. But the medication did keep him going some quite some time longer and despite his issues....he had full terrier life span and he was otherwise in good spirits..the only issues was that he had to take his life little more steady and over come the 'leakiness' shame.

    ETA...I just remembered that cough sound and we used to laugh at it at times :rolleyes:. Our dog sounded like old smoker clearing his throat....and he looked the part too:D:D ..but excitement/out of breath cough/gagging was again different.
     
  14. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Firstly - thank you again Finsky for the quick reply detailing your experience about getting this treated for your dog.

    We have been to the vet and we saw one of the junior vets (not the partner in the practice we have previously seen who is on holiday thankfully).

    She tried hard to push us to undergo a referral to their cardiac partner in another practice, however we simply told her we wanted him treated for left-sided conjective heart failure, as ALL the symptoms and history so far strongly point in this direction. She somewhat reluctantly agreed and prescribed 2 meds, one a diuretic tablet and another to make his heart beat stronger. We are hoping he will start to improve in the next few days.

    We will update you in a day or two and huge thanks again to everyone who has given responses and advice it is massively appreciated.

    Kevin.
     
  15. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    I hope my reply has been some help for you and fingers crossed her medication will improve the situation.
    Saying that, with our dog....it didn't take away the symptoms, just allowed him to live with them with little bit more ease. The unfortunate thing that you will too have to live with is the 'leakiness' as that will get worst as the time goes by. Because our dog was so elderly, the pills were really only management that was suitable for him...hence there was no point going through lot of other things like with younger dogs. He was on a borrowed time anyway...
    But as long as our pets are not in pain and there is still joy in their life..that is all what matters.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
  16. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    My fingers are tightly crossed for you.
     
  17. Kevin Simpson

    Kevin Simpson New Member Registered

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    Hi everyone.

    So...after 10 days on 15mg Furosemide (twice daily) and also Vetmedin 2.5mg (twice daily) Bailey is much improved. His cough is vastly reduced and he seems much more like his old self. He still coughs a bit in the morning but it is no where near as frequent or drawn-out or as hacking as it was before. I think he and we can hopefully live like this!

    Today I picked up a prescription for 30 days supply of these tables and it cost £101. I came back and googled exactly the same drugs on 365.vet.co.uk and their cost is £34 with free delivery. That's quite a difference! They do however require a prescription. Can anyone advise the going rate for a prescription from a vet?

    Thanks very much indeed for all your replies on this so far - it is hugely appreciated.

    Kevin
     
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  18. Lennor Magill

    Lennor Magill Member Registered

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    Hi Kevin,
    My vets Goddard charges £12 for a prescription. I'm a former nurse and a private scrip of furosemide for humans used to cost around £23 for private patients. I always look to vio vet online to get expensive medicine. There are other online vet prescribers. Hope this helps.
    I'm really glad to hear that Bailey is continuing to improve. Hopefully he'll continue to improve.
     
  19. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    It's often cheaper to ask for a prescription (that you still have to pay for) then buy online. Vets can't benefit from the discounts and economies of scale that the online pharmacies can, so it is quite common to do it this way.
     
  20. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    Really glad to hear Bailey has improved:)
     

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