Severe Pulmonary Hypertension

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    My 13.4 year old toy poodle was diagnosed with "some degree of pulmonary hypertension" in July. He had an unproductive hacking cough a few times a day that we discussed at his July physical, so our vet took xrays and bloodwork. The xrays showed activity in the lungs and the vet didn’t seem concerned about bloodwork although now I see the liver levels were way off as well as thyroid. She was concerned that he could have had fluid in his lungs from pneumonia or that it was congestive heart failure, started him on antibiotic (in case it was pneumonia) and sent us for an echocardiogram. At the echocardiogram we were told that there was no fluid in the lungs, no pneumonia and that his heart looked good but he had "some degree of pulmonary hypertension" and we should continue on antibiotic that he was taking, if no improvement to move onto prednisone. The antibiotic at first seemed to help the cough. His breathing was becoming labored and his energy was diminishing though – little by little, nothing drastic. At the beginning of September we noticed he’d hardly want to walk around at all – he’d go a few feet, go the bathroom and want to be picked up. We started the prednisone steriod at that point. He took that for a few weeks but it wasn’t helping, so vet had us wean him off of it slowly. On 9/27 at 3:30 a.m. my husband got up to let him out to pee (took him outside and put him down) and when he brought him back in, he collapsed. His front limbs outstretched and he collapsed to the side. We thought he had died. We rushed in the car to 24 hour animal emergency. In the car, he urinated. On the way there he began barking so we knew he was alive. When we got there they checked his coloring, oxygen, heart and said it all looked ok. They did more xrays and said his lungs were "very busy" but definitely not a pneumonia or fluid – they thought scarring. They recommended we see a general internist, so we did. She reviewed everything and wanted another echocardiogram to determine the level of pulmonary hyptension. We went back for another echocardiogram and this time were given a # – 86mm. I am told anything over 79 is severe, also "enlarged right heart" and "tricuspid valve regurgitation of high velocity 4.6 m/s." We were told that the only medication left was Viagra which helps in 60% of cases to subside the symptoms temporarily. We began this that Monday night. His breathing seemed to improve, but still no energy. He’d eat really only if you brought it to him. We are unsure but believe he may have had a collapse or the beginnings of one on Wednesday morning and possibly Thursday. On Friday night he had another. We were told there is nothing to stop these other than trying to avoid exercise, excitement, etc. Sunday morning he collapsed again and once again on Sunday evening. This was without any exertion at all – just laying on the sofa. We brought him to be put to sleep Sunday evening but left because we could not do it! Monday morning (10/4) we woke at about 7:15 and he collapsed again – this one seemed worse. When he came out of it, he didn’t quite seem himself. At this point he would no longer eat or drink. At 8 a.m. I called the echo expert and he told me that he was not surprised we were in this situation with the severity of the hypertension and that the collapses could cause brain damage and wasn’t fair to put my dog through. We had to make a decision. We called his vet after that and made an appt. When my husband and I got there and I went inside, my husband waited in the car with him and he again had another collapse – this seemed to be the worst – urinated, some twitching, etc. – we went in and we were told that he was almost gone himself – no struggle – ready to go. I was wondering if anyone else had any experience with pulmonary hyptertension severe like this? The vet told me dogs can compensate being sick and have a way of not showing us until the end. It just seemed to happen so suddenly. The last week/weekend being the worst



    I’ve never had any experience with what you’re talking about here…and I came across this post very late. But I was just wondering how things have turned out, how you are, and wanted to wish you well. It’s so hard going through something like this. I hope you have found some comfort.

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