Heart issue or drug side effects?

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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » September 19th, 2010, 11:52 am

Jasmine has given up use of one of her forelimbs since May. She is a 13 y/o lab/pit mix. We were unable to diagnose the problem. Xrays and bloodwork came back normal. We decided not to do further testing for this issue, as she seemed to get relief from the meds prescribed.

She has been on gabapentin in the morning, metacam in the evening, and tramadol as needed for pain.
For the past week or two, she has had a decrease in appetite. She's always been kind of finicky, and now she's an old lady, so I wasn't too alarmed. She will eat what she wants when she feels like it now. I'm fine with that although it has been a little difficult finding super yummies she will eat.

Lately she has been out of breath after normal activity, like climbing the stairs. Over the past couple days I noticed her coughing a little bit. This cough doesn't happen often. I've heard it after she's had some water to drink and after we lift her (putting pressure on her chest?).

To me, the symptoms would point to a heart problem... but obviously I was hoping it may be a drug side effect. Anyone had side effects from any of these meds that might match up?
I will be talking with my friend who is a vet in the morning and making an appointment to have a check up by her normal vet. I'm worried about them wanting to sedate her for an xray.
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Postby Marinepits » September 19th, 2010, 2:19 pm

ParisStreetPitCrew wrote:She has been on gabapentin in the morning, metacam in the evening, and tramadol as needed for pain.


Katy was on a similar drug regimen and never had the coughing/out-of-breath issues. I hope Jasmine tests out okay.....
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Postby plebayo » September 19th, 2010, 4:36 pm

I don't want to freak you out but since you have not figured out what the cause of the lameness is, osteosarcoma [bone cancer] often metastasizes to the lungs. Given the fact she's had limb issues I would definitely have this checked out. We've got patients on that sort of a drug workup and have never had complaints of a cough, I too hope things check out okay and it's something simple. :hug3:
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Postby iluvk9 » September 19th, 2010, 4:40 pm

Try MIghty Dog canned from Walmart. I swear it is like crack for dogs.
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Postby plebayo » September 19th, 2010, 7:12 pm

iluvk9 wrote:Try MIghty Dog canned from Walmart. I swear it is like crack for dogs.


I definitely second this... although for Sofie it has been pedigree and the occasional can of alpo :p They like their junk food!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 19th, 2010, 7:26 pm

No idea about side effects, but I wanted to send good thoughts Jasmine's way. :goodthoughts:
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » September 19th, 2010, 7:47 pm

Thanks all.

Yes, we've known osteo could be a possibility with the arm, but it never occurred to me that this could be connected.
Could these things be detected with bloodwork?
I REALLY do not want to have her sedated for xrays. Do you think this is unreasonable?
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Postby plebayo » September 19th, 2010, 10:50 pm

ParisStreetPitCrew wrote:Thanks all.

Yes, we've known osteo could be a possibility with the arm, but it never occurred to me that this could be connected.
Could these things be detected with bloodwork?
I REALLY do not want to have her sedated for xrays. Do you think this is unreasonable?


I don't think as far as looking for a chest mass that anything would show on bloodwork, even if it is a heart issue they will have to do chest rads. I would talk to your vet and ask if you can do rads not sedated... we rarely sedate for x-rays unless the dog is really bad/seriously painful and to at least get a lateral [side view] IMO would not be so stressful on your dog that they couldn't perform it.

I don't think it's unreasonable to not want to sedate a 13y/o dog, having lost a young cat to anesthetic I don't think it's unreasonable at all. Talk to your vet friend, see what she thinks. You may go to the vet and if the chest sounds fine not even have to do rads. I mean, they could push on her throat and maybe instead she has some collapsing trachea issues or even could have picked up a bug causing her to cough.
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Postby Malli » September 20th, 2010, 12:36 am

I second this. When I was working at an ER vet, we rarely sedated unless the xray position was exceedingly painful or the dog was a big flaily spaz and couldn't be calmed.

I think its worthwhile to look into it, though.
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Postby BullyLady » September 20th, 2010, 1:49 am

I 3rd that chest radiographs are totally do-able without sedation. I'm so sorry to hear about her new symptoms, sending lots of good thoughts. :goodthoughts:
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » September 20th, 2010, 6:33 am

I am glad to hear it could be done without sedatives. One of the reasons I didn't go further with the limb diagnostics is that they wanted to sedate her for better xrays. The initial ones were done while she was awake.
I'll talk with my friend today and call the vet. The coughing is very sporadic, but hopefully that means we've caught on early.
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » September 20th, 2010, 7:34 pm

Jasmine will go in for a chest xray tomorrow afternoon. Wish us luck.
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Postby plebayo » September 20th, 2010, 7:54 pm

ParisStreetPitCrew wrote:Jasmine will go in for a chest xray tomorrow afternoon. Wish us luck.



:goodthoughts: :goodthoughts: :goodthoughts: :goodthoughts:
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Postby hugapitbull » September 20th, 2010, 8:53 pm

Fingers and paws crossed for both of you. :groupHug: Poor little senior dogs...they are a challenge at times.
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Postby amazincc » September 20th, 2010, 9:03 pm

Tons of good thoughts coming from us, too. :hug3:
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Postby call2arms » September 20th, 2010, 9:37 pm

Often high levels of calcium show on bloodwork of animals with cancer... My cat had a "Hypercalcemia of malignancy" test done to double check a high level of calcium on a blood tests. Turns out that his hypercalcemia is due to renal issues, but it's still a first pointer to cancer.

Metacam can also cause renal problems - here's the side effects: The most common side effects of meloxicam are nausea, appetite loss, vomiting or diarrhea. If any of the above are noted, meloxicam should be discontinued and the pet brought in for a liver enzyme and renal parameter blood test. In most cases, the reaction is minor and resolves with symptomatic relief, but it is important to rule out whether or not the patient has more than just a routine upset stomach.
If a patient has borderline kidney function, NSAIDs should not be used as they reduce blood flow through the kidneys. It is also important that NSAIDS not be given to dehydrated patients because of this potential side effect. This is particularly true in cats.
The hepatopathy side effect (usually occurs within the first 3 weeks of use).

So definitely go for a blood test, wether it's related to use of meds or not, Jasmine sounds like she could use it. And I concur, chest rads are easily done without sedation, unless the dog is super stressed out/fighting or downright aggressive (which I doubt Jasmine is). They'll see if there's heart enlargment or fluid buildup around it/in the lungs, or if there's any metastasis in the lungs as well. And, with loss of appetite it's worth shooting the abdomen as well, check out the liver and kidneys while she's on the table.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 20th, 2010, 9:45 pm

So many good thoughts for tomorrow!
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » September 20th, 2010, 10:54 pm

Thank you everyone. I will let you know what we find out.
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Postby iluvk9 » September 21st, 2010, 5:59 am

Good thoughts for you today! :hug3:
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Postby madremissy » September 21st, 2010, 9:24 am

Allie, I am sending so many good and positive thoughts for Jasmine today.
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