For the last three or so weeks my dog Tara has not been a well doggie; she has had a persistent cough, but otherwise has remained moderately 'frisky' and her appetite has been good.
As I noticed she was not well a day after I got her back from the kennels, where she had been placed for a long weekend, I wondered if she had contracted the dreaded 'kennel cough'; the next day I took her to the vet and she advised she didn't think Tara showed the symptoms of that malady, but in any case gave her an antibiotic injection with instructions (to me) to contact her again after the following weekend if all still was not well. Unfortunately her conditions remained as bad as before - regular coughing fits, as if she was trying to bring up phlegm, but not succeeding. Another dose of medication was prescribed, this time a ten day course of antibiotics by tablet. Still no joy, so I took her back last week to the vet again and an appointment was arranged with the vet's main practice in Forres, a town about 12 miles east of Nairn (where I live), for her to have an endoscope, ECG and X-rays done.
All that happened today. The upshot is that the X-rays and endoscope revealed that her heart has become quite enlarged and is exerting pressure on her windpipe and her lungs, which show signs of having quite a lot of fluid in them - hence the coughing and efforts to bring up phlegm. Luckily, though, the ECG show that her heart function is quite normal in rhythm. She is also somewhat overweight - 12Kg, whereas she should ideally be just under 10Kg. She has been prescribed two lots of drugs, the first to deal with the fluid in her lungs and the second to encourage her heart to work harder; the present course will last for a week, but will likely be continued for a while longer after further check-ups. My job is to bring her weight down, by reducing her diet a little. The anasthetic she was given this morning, so the endoscope and X-rays could be done, and no doubt the stress of the whole experience, has left her 'whacked' - I hope she will be a little better in the morning. Already, however, the coughing has stopped, so I assume the drugs are already beginning to have the desired effect. She had another anasthetic about four years ago as she had to undergo a small operation to remove a small [luckily non-malignant] growth on one side of her muzzle and I recall her being quite subdued for a few days after that, so I knew what to expect.
Tara is now very slightly over ten years old so, with a little luck and assuming we can 'crack' the present problem, I will have her around for some more years yet.
To occupy a few hours of the time Tara was at the vet today, I took the opportunity to see a movie - that will be the subject of my next posting.