Help Needed! Pericardial effusion? Cardiac tamponade? I need some advice...

Kat and Adeline

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Nov 4, 2014
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Saint Petersburg, Florida
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Adeline (Addy)
Hey everyone. This is going to be a novel, but alot has happened over the last two weeks and I really don't want to leave out any detail that might be important.
Two weeks ago I noticed that my Addy was acting a little off. She seemed to be panting alot and just generally kind of felt "off". Her demeanor was strange. She got up, drank a ton of water, then suddenly vomited it all up and collapsed onto her stomach, all four legs splayed out. It was almost what I would call a seizure. After a minute or so she was okay. She continued breathing hard throughout the day. After she vomited water a second time I called our vets office. The vet was unavailable, but the nurse said it sounded really urgent and told me to take her to the emergency clinic right away.
My husband came home from work and we took her to the emergency vet. The vet said there was fluid in the sac around her heart as well as in her abdomen that is making it difficult for her to breath. She recommended euthanasia, stating that she is positive that it is caused by cancerous tumors on her heart. She said that it always happens in "smoosh-face" dogs and that she could pull the fluid out from around her heart but it would likely return within 6 hours or so. It was a complete and total shock for us. Although Addy has had allergy issues in the past, she has never had anything major wrong with her. The emergency vet said best case scenario, if we have tons of money to throw at the problem, chemotherapy that might extend her life a year or so. My husband and I were not ready to euthanize her (still are not). So I applied for carecredit and was approved for about $700. The emergency vet used it all and drew the fluid out from around her heart. She then sent us home with her.
Addy was really miserable all night. She panted and was just generally out of it. I started to feel guilty...maybe it was wrong to not euthanize her? Maybe I was making her suffer? The next morning was really no better. I gave her water via an eyedropper. She could still walk but she was just...not herself. She had a diarrhea bm with blood at the end of the stool. I called my personal vet and asked if we could bring her in to euthanize. She discussed what the emergency vet said and reluctantly agreed. She asked me to bring her in that afternoon- about 3 hours later.
My husband and daughter and I spent as much time as possible with her. She ate some (people) food for us. She sat out on the back patio with me for a while, tail wiggling and nuzzling me. She seemed to be getting better, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. The time came to go to the vet. My husband grabbed her harness and leash and Addy jumped up, excited. She pranced to the car and looked out the window excitedly the entire way there. My husband and I reluctantly took her inside and asked if we could talk to the vet before they prepped her for the procedure. When the vet came in Addy rushed her, tail wagging. My vet looked confused. She listened to her heart and looked at her gums. She did a general examination. She said that Addy looked great and that there was no way she would euthanize her at this point. We were elated. The doctor was confused as to why the emergency vet gave the diagnosis without doing any bloodwork. My vet recommends a full blood panel as well as testing organ function. We have been saving up for this since we have no credit left with carecredit after the emergency visit. My doctor prescribed hydrochlorothiayzide (sp?) which is a diuretic to help pull some of the fluid out of Addy's stomach. It seemed to work well. Addy was doing awesome. She was really active; eating chicken and rice as the doc recommended. She had a great appetite. I started to feel really hopeful.
Now I am afraid again. She is now refusing food. I can get her to eat...but I have to really work at it. There were a few days that we ran out of medication for her. The abdominal swelling seems to be back. She vomited once, two days ago. She vomited up a ton of grass. She is breathing hard again. Her gums do look okay. They are still pink. She is back on her full doses of the diuretic. Maybe I just need to give it a couple more days to work the fluid off of her. She is drinking water okay. The diarrhea is back, with blood at the end of the stool again. The only other thing I've noticed is butt scooting. She does that quite a bit and has been doing it for quite a while; even before the illness started. I've always just kind of thought it was an allergy thing.
If ANYONE has had this experience...please give me some advice. I am so panicked and I hate feeling so helpless. I have maybe half of what the doc quoted me saved up for the bloodwork and organ testing. What would you do in my situation? The limited funds thing is REALLY frustrating me. I feel like I wasted it all at the emergency vet. I dont want to say goodbye to my dog. I don't want my daughter to lose her best buddy.
 

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helsonwheels

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[MENTION=13132]Kat and Adeline[/MENTION] only person that had tons of EB coming n going fostering them is [MENTION=15364]oscarmayer[/MENTION], he might shed some light here. Hang on....
[MENTION=2894]2BullyMama[/MENTION]
 
OP
Kat and Adeline

Kat and Adeline

New member
Nov 4, 2014
20
2
Saint Petersburg, Florida
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United States
Bulldog(s) Names
Adeline (Addy)
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  • #3
@Kat and Adeline only person that had tons of EB coming n going fostering them is @oscarmayer, he might shed some light here. Hang on....
@2BullyMama

Thanks so much. The emergency doc acted like this is super common for bullies but so far I haven't been able to find very much information. I looked through the forums but I couldn't find anything. I am sure I am overlooking it.
 

ddnene

EBN's SWEETHEART aka our little GOOB
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Willow (2015) Walter (2014-22) Winston (2012-13) Wellie (2012-13) Bella (2007-13)
First of all, I'm SO sorry to read this... how awful for you and your family to have to go thru this w/your baby.

How old is Addy? I can't for the life of me understand why an emergency vet would recommend euthanasia, instead of just getting her stable and advising you to take her to a specialist for further testing. I agree 100% your vet... I would have bloodwork done and a full exam from head to toe before making any decisions. It's just a shame that you had to spend all that money on the emergency vet.

I will tag some members to see if this has happened before to anyone on EBN...
 
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Kat and Adeline

Kat and Adeline

New member
Nov 4, 2014
20
2
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Country
United States
Bulldog(s) Names
Adeline (Addy)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
First of all, I'm SO sorry to read this... how awful for you and your family to have to go thru this w/your baby.

How old is Addy? I can't for the life of me understand why an emergency vet would recommend euthanasia, instead of just getting her stable and advising you to take her to a specialist for further testing. I agree 100% your vet... I would have bloodwork done and a full exam from head to toe before making any decisions. It's just a shame that you had to spend all that money on the emergency vet.

I will tag some members to see if this has happened before to anyone on EBN...

Thank you so much. Addy was a rescue so we are not 100% sure on her age but we are guessing she is in the 7-8 range.
My husband also reminded me that the emergency vet said that this especially happens with white bulldogs...which seems weird to me but I suppose if we are talking about genetics...
Yes, my vet was confused and, I think, a little angry that they didn't do more testing. She asked if they drew any of the abdominal fluid (they didn't). If they did any xrays (nope). Did they pull any blood (no...). They did ultrasound enough to do the procedure and that was it.
I keep blaming myself. I should have gotten pet insurance...I should have waited on my vet...I should have noticed something was wrong sooner. Ugh. I hate seeing my girl this way.
 

Manydogs

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I can't believe that the emergency vet just wanted to euthanize her right away! How can she say those things just by "looking" at her. I had a dog who had congestive heart failure. She lived 3 more years,with me giving her shots when needed, for excess fluids(as prescribed by vet) and daily fluid pills.
If you have been seeing your vet for awhile, I would beg him to let me pay on time for any treatments he can give Addy to help her!(My vet does-he says "I know where you live.....!" Do all you can-use your credit card. Don't give up yet!!Never seen it, but a website called "Go Fund Me...." Praying for you and Addy:pray:
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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What a precious pair of babies!

I have no experience but. If anyone here will have insight it is [MENTION=15364]oscarmayer[/MENTION]

Sending lots of prayers, hugs and positive thoughts


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Kat and Adeline

Kat and Adeline

New member
Nov 4, 2014
20
2
Saint Petersburg, Florida
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United States
Bulldog(s) Names
Adeline (Addy)
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Read the info in this link. We have seen this numerous times but it is not common in any breed. IMO, the emergency vet may be spot on.

Hemangiosarcoma — Canine Cancer

Heartbreaking. It does sound very likely. Thank you for your response. I will do what I can for her and see if we can get her some testing. I will keep this updated with the findings in case someone else has this experience in the future.
 
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Kat and Adeline

Kat and Adeline

New member
Nov 4, 2014
20
2
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Country
United States
Bulldog(s) Names
Adeline (Addy)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
I can't believe that the emergency vet just wanted to euthanize her right away! How can she say those things just by "looking" at her. I had a dog who had congestive heart failure. She lived 3 more years,with me giving her shots when needed, for excess fluids(as prescribed by vet) and daily fluid pills.
If you have been seeing your vet for awhile, I would beg him to let me pay on time for any treatments he can give Addy to help her!(My vet does-he says "I know where you live.....!" Do all you can-use your credit card. Don't give up yet!!Never seen it, but a website called "Go Fund Me...." Praying for you and Addy:pray:

Thank you very much. I am going to do everything that I can for her. I am trying to raise funding and am currently looking into taking out a loan.
 

oscarmayer

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It truly is heartbreaking. Visceral Hemangiosarcoma symptoms are similar to Congestive Heart Failuree. IMO, it is often misdiagnosed as CHF. Regardless, if further testing proves that it is, in fact, a heart based hemangio there is nothing that can be done to correct it. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is advanced. Mortality is imminent. I hate being the one to tell you this and I pray that I’m wrong but I’m also not one to give anyone false hope.
As one last act of love and kindness towards our pets, we as pet owners, are afforded the opportunity/ability to not allow them to needlessly suffer.
I wish you and your family well in this most troubling period.
 
OP
Kat and Adeline

Kat and Adeline

New member
Nov 4, 2014
20
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Saint Petersburg, Florida
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United States
Bulldog(s) Names
Adeline (Addy)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
It truly is heartbreaking. Visceral Hemangiosarcoma symptoms are similar to Congestive Heart Failuree. IMO, it is often misdiagnosed as CHF. Regardless, if further testing proves that it is, in fact, a heart based hemangio there is nothing that can be done to correct it. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is advanced. Mortality is imminent. I hate being the one to tell you this and I pray that I’m wrong but I’m also not one to give anyone false hope.
As one last act of love and kindness towards our pets, we as pet owners, are afforded the opportunity/ability to not allow them to needlessly suffer.
I wish you and your family well in this most troubling period.

Truly; thank you. I will take a hard truth over false hope any day. If this is going to be something that I have to accept, knowing the truth about it is a good first step. She had a pretty good day with us today. We took a ride, which she was very excited for, to Petsmart. She had a great time. When we got home she finally ate about a half a can of junky dog food (at this point, I'll take what I can get.) The husband made a good point to me earlier. If we are going to lose her soon, why not try to celebrate every day we have left with her rather than mourn her before shes even gone. So that's what I am working on. Thanks; all of you.
In the meantime, does anyone have any hospice tips? She is still drinking on her own with a little encouragement, but I have my eyedropper ready. I offer food to her often, but today she has been refusing it for the most part. I would think this is due to her stomach being so upset. I suspect her stomach is upset because I have been offering her basically anything to get her to eat. I wonder if it is a good strategy to continue doing that or if I should only allow her bland healthy foods? I will call her vet on Monday and see about maybe getting her a good RX canned food that could help with her tummy trouble.
 

helsonwheels

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2016
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Alberta
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Canada
Bulldog(s) Names
Nyala, Jake (R.I.P. Duke)
Truly; thank you. I will take a hard truth over false hope any day. If this is going to be something that I have to accept, knowing the truth about it is a good first step. She had a pretty good day with us today. We took a ride, which she was very excited for, to Petsmart. She had a great time. When we got home she finally ate about a half a can of junky dog food (at this point, I'll take what I can get.) The husband made a good point to me earlier. If we are going to lose her soon, why not try to celebrate every day we have left with her rather than mourn her before shes even gone. So that's what I am working on. Thanks; all of you.
In the meantime, does anyone have any hospice tips? She is still drinking on her own with a little encouragement, but I have my eyedropper ready. I offer food to her often, but today she has been refusing it for the most part. I would think this is due to her stomach being so upset. I suspect her stomach is upset because I have been offering her basically anything to get her to eat. I wonder if it is a good strategy to continue doing that or if I should only allow her bland healthy foods? I will call her vet on Monday and see about maybe getting her a good RX canned food that could help with her tummy trouble.

RX can will basically be soooo not good. Why don’t you just cook some ground beef or chicken n add some fresh semi cook green beans. At least she’ll eat it n it’s much healthier as food. Her stomach will be happier than them vets can. Just a thought.
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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Jul 28, 2011
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Gilbertsville, PA
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Bulldog(s) Names
Lambeau, Chelios (Frenchie), Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014)
Truly; thank you. I will take a hard truth over false hope any day. If this is going to be something that I have to accept, knowing the truth about it is a good first step. She had a pretty good day with us today. We took a ride, which she was very excited for, to Petsmart. She had a great time. When we got home she finally ate about a half a can of junky dog food (at this point, I'll take what I can get.) The husband made a good point to me earlier. If we are going to lose her soon, why not try to celebrate every day we have left with her rather than mourn her before shes even gone. So that's what I am working on. Thanks; all of you.
In the meantime, does anyone have any hospice tips? She is still drinking on her own with a little encouragement, but I have my eyedropper ready. I offer food to her often, but today she has been refusing it for the most part. I would think this is due to her stomach being so upset. I suspect her stomach is upset because I have been offering her basically anything to get her to eat. I wonder if it is a good strategy to continue doing that or if I should only allow her bland healthy foods? I will call her vet on Monday and see about maybe getting her a good RX canned food that could help with her tummy trouble.

I agree with your hubby... celebrating with her each day will help you all and you’ll be less stressed when her time comes.

I would feed her ground turkey or beef.. drain any/all fat and add some mashed veggies... as Helene said, it is better than the RX food and probably cheaper too.

Hugs to you all


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ddnene

EBN's SWEETHEART aka our little GOOB
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Jun 19, 2013
14,538
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Nashville, Tennessee
Country
USA
Bulldog(s) Names
Willow (2015) Walter (2014-22) Winston (2012-13) Wellie (2012-13) Bella (2007-13)
Thank you so much. Addy was a rescue so we are not 100% sure on her age but we are guessing she is in the 7-8 range.
My husband also reminded me that the emergency vet said that this especially happens with white bulldogs...which seems weird to me but I suppose if we are talking about genetics...
Yes, my vet was confused and, I think, a little angry that they didn't do more testing. She asked if they drew any of the abdominal fluid (they didn't). If they did any xrays (nope). Did they pull any blood (no...). They did ultrasound enough to do the procedure and that was it.
I keep blaming myself. I should have gotten pet insurance...I should have waited on my vet...I should have noticed something was wrong sooner. Ugh. I hate seeing my girl this way.

Don't beat yourself up... please...
I had a HORRID experience w/pet insurance, and I got royally screwed. Now I just keep extra money in a savings account in case we need it.

I think that your emergency vet made a series of ridiculous assumptions, and thank goodness you decided against his advice. Fluids pulled from the abdomen, x-rays and blood work IMO would've been the first order of business before making a diagnosis.

Hopefully your vet can get to the bottom of this, or send you to a specialist. I'm SO sorry that your girl is suffering...
 

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