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Old 12-07-2018, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default my Yorkie had pneumonia

Hello,
Looking for advice or insight. Three weeks ago my little guy (13 yo) was acting off. Weak, coughing, lethargic, breathing rapidly. I took him to the emergency vet where he was diagnosed with as having an acute gastric episode. I was surprised because he was eating fine, no vomiting or Diarrhea. The gave him some IV fluid and sent us home. He was a bit better that day but the next night he collapsed in front of me. I rushed him to a larger ER with specialists there. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. They also said his heart was mildly enlarged as well as a slightly collapsing trachea and was told he should see the cardiologist again. A little backround, he has been coughing for around five years and three years ago we went to a cardiologist that said his coughing was not related to any heart issues. After several tests my vet told me it was probably allergies. Every year at his exam I bring his cough up and they do an xray and say unrelated to heart but He has had a grade 2 heart murmur for quite a few years. They put him on an antibiotic for 10 days and within three days he had improved greatly but was still coughing more than usual. I made another appointment with the cardiologist and have an appointment in January. I took him back for xrays to recheck his lungs and they said he had greatly improved but there was still a small spot on his lungs that has not cleared and wanted to do a tracheal wash. I explained that I was not comfortable with putting him under due to the fact that his heart in enlarged and we do not know the condition of his heart. I was told it has nothing to do with his heart and that there is no need to rush to see a cardiologist. Now I am so confused. They put him on a different med and some prednisone. It has been 5 days on the new meds. He is still coughing a bit more than usual but otherwise is fine. I just dont know the best route to take. I am being told three different things by three different vets. Should I have done the tracheal wash? I just think 10 days was short for antibiotics and if they had given him a longer course it would have totally cleared.I have switched to a new Vet and have an appointment in a few weeks but feel like I should be something more for him now. Thanks for listening!
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:48 PM   #2
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Your poor baby! The little thing(and you, too) have been drug back and forth through the knothole and back yet again! My only experience with pneumonia was when my Tibbe had an episode of reverse sneezing the morning after having had a good old time vigorously chewing on a chewie one evening, which I took away before he worked it down to small enough to try and swallow. He hacked a bit and I wondered if he'd scratched or irritated his throat during the wild chew session. Next late morning, he has a reverse sneezing episode after eating breakfast which took a while to resolve and then half threw up breakfast, mildly RS'd a bit more. I watched him closely after that but soon he took a long nap.

Later that day, he stood before me smack in the middle of the den staring at me, very woebegone, ears out to the side of his head and coughing a bit. After 10 - 15 minutes of this, realized his behavior was telling me he wasn't well and we went to the vet. He x-rayed his chest, said his heart was dangerously enlarged, sent him to Emergency Vet Clinic/Hospital nearby. I nearly wrecked the car getting us there as fast as possible, scared he would arrest on the way! Harrowing! Never been so glad to see a Vet ER in my life!

Re-x-ray and exam at the ER clinic and comparison to his first films showed the ER vet that the heart was normal in size and a cardiac Doppler proved heart function normal but he was diagnosed with very, very early focal pneumonia, likely from aspirated phlegm/vomit during the reverse sneezing session that morning and I was praised for bringing him in so early(as if ANY owner would sit through hours of that poor little woeful creature). Tibbe was put on antibiotics and sent home where he recuperated normally and no problems since.

When I wondered aloud why the 1st vet misdiagnosed him so badly, the ER vet said she could see how the enlarged heart could be read from the first set of x-rays - that it happens all the time! I wondered if she were just trying to cover for first vet, placate me but she showed me on the film what appeared to be the enlarged heart but was in fact part of the lung. I wasn't really convinced that a vet shouldn't know the difference.

I still think a better vet would have known that enlarged heart on x-ray could have been a possible red herring reading and to dig a little deeper on the chest/cardiac exam, that with his history it could be aspirate-pneumonia, B4 scaring me to death and costing me a whole lot of $ in unnecessary ER vet consult, tests and assorted hospital fees as we were there rest of day and early evening.

So now we do very limited chewy chewing in our house and certainly not for prolonged periods. Many of these driven terriers will hurt their mouths or throat enjoying(?) and trying to finish the job of totally destroying and swallowing a chewy given the chance!

Sure hope you get some answers and this baby gets on the right treatment protocol. Please keep us updated and hugs to that sweet baby of yours! xoxoxoxoxo
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:58 PM   #3
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It's devastating to have polar opinions/suggestions from different doctors and not know what's best for your precious one(( I don't have any suggestions but just hoping that new meds will help him and he will fell better soon!!!
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:36 AM   #4
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I feel for you, this is a tough one in terms of what to do next.

First, a mild enlargement could mean nothing. For some reason, many yorkies do have larger hearts in general...we've seen that here a lot. But anytime 'enlargement' is mentioned, the concern is that this could mean present or future CHF (congestive heart failure) - which can cause coughing in later stages. If CHF may be developing, then the vet may want him on Enalapril for the rest of his life.

With the pneumonia - is it bacterial or viral pneumonia...? If it's bacterial, why aren't they using a more aggressive antibiotic before doing anything invasive? Also, I'd definitely be asking for a cough suppressant so your kiddo can get enough rest and for decreasing that coughing. If your "new med" includes a more aggressive antibiotic, then you want to give it for the entire time recommended to avoid creating resistance.

Since he's been coughing for so long, you many want to explore allergies. Does he chew/lick his paws at all...?

Keep us posted...hoping he'll improve soon!
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:50 AM   #5
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Tedy is getting better although still coughing at night a bit. He does lick his paws and always seems to cough more in the winter when the heat is on. Whenever I mentioned allergies to the vet they always dismiss me. I honestly feel like they just look at his age and want to do a bunch of unnecessary tests. They blame everything on his heart and then when I have the tests done they come back fine. So frustrated. Thankfully I have an appointment with a new vet next week. Will post and update. Thank you for the replies!
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:22 PM   #6
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Heat on = decreased humidity and increasingly dry air! Dry air means increased need to drink water, increased coughs, increased static electricity, increased frequency of nosebleeds. Get a humidifier for the room where your baby sleeps and/or spends the day. Comfy humidity is about 30%.

I hope Tedy feels much better soon!
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