My 14 y.o. border collie mix, Pip, went to the emergency vet a week ago because she seemed to be breathing too fast. Out regular vet had told us a year ago that Pip had a heart murmur, and that if/when it starts to by symptomatic, she should start medication for it. Well, I thought that that was the problem. The emergency vet x-rayed and did bloodwork & urinalysis and said that Pip had an enlarged heart, and that she was is very bad condition, and that we might want to consider putting her down. We went home with Lasix and instructions to schedule an echocardiogram. Pip seemed much better for a day or two, and then I noticed a bump on her cheek below one eye. The next day her nictitating membrane in that eye was swollen and nearly covering her eye. She stopped eating and drinking. She was very weak and we thought she was near death. I called the vet again and told her that I thought something else was wrong besides her heart. She had developed a bump above the eye, and my online research suggested that something was behind the eye causing pressure, either infection or tumor. Return to vet emergency clinic, vet diagnoses tooth root abcess; echocardiogram shows leakage in both mitral and tricuspid valves, as well as kidney failure. Vet says treatment for tooth abcess is extraction, which means general anaesthesia, which would probably kill her. Vet again suggests putting her down. If she dies while being operated on, isn't she just as dead if we put her to sleep? I don't get it.
Vet humors me and gives us a week's supply of amoxicillin and tells us that if we take her out of the hospital she will die within a day. We are now at day 2 out of the hospital.
There is obviously in infection, which seems to my to be the PRIMARY problem, (along with not eating), not her heart.
Does anyone have experience with tooth root abcess? Vet says long term antibiotics. Will it ever drain? How? I understand that the tooth root extends up into the sinuses.
Mind you, I have given $3,000 in 5 days to a bunch of Ivy-league hot-shots with multiple certifications and all they can say after each test is "put her to sleep". Any answers out there???
Thats a tough one! If your dog is still happy to be alive everyday, and greats every new day with enthusiasm-than keep her alive until there is not any thing your dog gets happy about anymore! I feel bad for you-Good Luck! And know that you did everything possible!
I had a 12 1/2 year old lab who developed an abscess, but it didn't seem to bother her and she would still eat. Unfortunately, she also had a lot of other problems and soon aftrwards, her hips gave completely out, plus she had a cancerous lump near he hip.
The vet wanted to fix her tooth tooh, but since she was eating just fine, we settleed for antiobiotics. and Sadly, I knew knew her days were numbered, anyway.
Aside from the tooth problem the evet wasn't sure if she would be able to undergo anesthesia because of her age and other problems. The day that she stopped eating and and was having problems breathing and no longer could get up without collapsing was the dy that we let her go. Sniff.
I know how hard it is to watch your dog be so sick, but you have to do what's best for her, as well. Look at her and decide how her quality of life is. Does she still play? Is she happy? Will she eat treats?
I know it's hard to let go, an if you don't feel comfortable, , get a second opinion, but in the end, remember that it's she who matters and you have to do what's best for her even if it means letting her go. Sigh. I'm so sorry, and I do wish everything works out for you and it doesn't come to that. Please keep us posted as to how she is. My thoughts and prayers for both of you.
***Edited By: harlee29 on 7/10/2005 1:20:26 AM*** Reason: *
Deb, what an awful position to be in. Perhaps when some of our regulars, who are in the vet tech profession or the medical profession log on they will be able to answer some of your questions for you.
Meanwhile, not too sure how it compares from canine to human, but I have 3 "leaky" heart valves, I certainly HOPE no one suggests I be pts!
I believe that it's the combination of the bad valves AND the enlarged heart with the added infection that can go to the heart (and may very well have done so before treatment) along with your girl's age that makes the vet feel she is not a candidate for surgery?
I CAN tell you that in humans profolatic antibiotics must be given prior to even a cleaning as there is a danger of bacterial entering the bloodstream and resulting in endocarditis (serious inflammation of heart valves and/or tissues of the heart).
The enlarged heart, I'm not sure about with treatment, but since the vet gave you a duiretic for it, I would guess it will help control that for a while.
The abcess, I would think that the antibiotics would start showing some results.
Perhaps the question for the vet might be for a prognosis if she survives the surgery?
It's obvious you love her a great deal and your care has kept her with you despite the vet's prognosis.
I hope there are some answers for you, but if nothing positive comes from the responses, both you and your girl know the loving bond you have shared throughout her long and happy life.
Update on Pip... Still not eating, no wags, but still moves from favorite spot to spot in the yard (she likes the soft spots in my flower garden). No wags, but she looks up with interest when she hears us approach (she has bad hearing as well).
When I brought her home from the vet a few days ago, after being advised she would expire shortly, I noticed that she seemed pretty lively sitting in the backseat of the car with the wind in her ears. I though that if she died right then and there, she would die happy, better than dying in a box of oxygen in the hospital.
I expect that she is nauseated or has no appetite from either the abcess or the antibiotics (I expect that I would be too) I have been spoon feeding her a paste of dog food and milk, whipped up in the blender.
Does anyone know if a tooth abcess will resolve on its own without removing the tooth? (with continual antibiotics). Vet said it may, but I see no decrease in the swelling around her eye. She may have a bad heart, but I think it is the infection and lack of eating that will do her in, NOT her heart. Seems to me that an infection is a trreatable thing.
I don't think she has given up yet, so neither will I.
P.S. again on Pip - Her breathing seems normal - no panting or rapid respiration. When I found her this morning she was breathing so slow I thought she was gone, but she was deep asleep, and looked up at me ("Why did you wake me"?) when I petted her.
The antibiotics may help the abcess or it will rupture on its own. These are kinda the choices there.
The lasix is helping the heart, but the heart itself is not going to improve. From the speed it is failing at she is going into full blown heart failure with a heart that is done with life moreso then a younger dog with heart disease.
Anastetics and dogs with serious heartfailure dont go together. The heart often stops becuase of the anastetic and it wont start again tis just a squishy thing at that point.
The problem is that anything done to her can exasperate her heart into failing complelty, including being groomed or stnading to long.
I am so sorry to hear about your dog. You also mentioned Kidney failure. That is not good at all. I am afraid too that your dog is going to go into full blown heart & kidney failure before the tooth issue is resolved. I am sorry to say that but I too have had a dog that had heart problems & was on Lasix as well. Eventually that quit working & he went into full blown heart failure. He passed away from that.
I know it is one of the toughest desissions to make. Your baby will let you know soon when she's ready to go. I am so sorry!
**********************************************When The Time Comes
If it should be that I grow frail and weak And pain should keep me from my sleep, Then will you do what must be done, For this--the last battle--can't be won.
You will be sad I understand, But don't let grief then stay your hand, For on this day, more than the rest, Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years, You wouldn't want me to suffer so. When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where my needs they'll tend, Only, stay with me till the end And hold me firm and speak to me Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree It is a kindness you do to me. Although my tail its last has waved, From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you Who has to decide this thing to do; We've been so close--we two--these years, Don't let your heart hold any tears.
Author - Unknown
***Edited By: rhondakbt on 7/10/2005 10:50:24 AM*** Reason: added poem
If the dog is that ill, the vet may be thinking the dog will die anyways and it sounds like youve spent alot of money. Now its funny I just went through this with one of our clients, for years I have been beggibg her to clean her dogs teeth, so Mickey who is only 8 has an enlarged heart and even turns blue when stressed. Many times she has threatened to put the dog to sleep, I have even told her I would take the dog, if it was to much trouble. So a few days ago the dog comes in with a tooth abcess, she finally broke down and ok'd the repair9anesthetic) and Mickey did great, lost all his teeth but is doing great. If quality of life is ok, I would go through with it, the dog should not have to live with that kind of pain. If the dog dies on the table, at least you tried something.Its not that you can't go ahead with the procedure, its the risks that the pet can die during the dental.
***Edited By: sue on 7/10/2005 7:04:56 PM*** Reason: fsgxf
I feel your pain. My beloved Westie Jenna was pts over 2 mo's ago. She had an enlarged heart (dx 1 1/2 yrs ago). We were worried that something else would happen that required surgery because we knew she couldn't have anesthesia. The vet told us we should put her down, we waited until she stopped eating, that was our sign, becuase she was such a chow hound we knew. We can't make the decision for you. Hopefully the antibiotic will control the abscess so she'll feel a bit better. My thoughts & prayers are with you.