I’ve been up quite a bit for the past several months with my BamBam, a small Brussels Griffon female, age 11 years. I had facial surgery done that was recommended to help her sight as a first step with the next step being cataract removal. That was in January this year. She is still coughing with every breath. I was sent on to my regular Vet, Dr Shook, Medallion Animal Clinic who diagnosed it as Kennel Cough, and when those meds didn’t help, he changed the diagnosis & said phneumonia. Put her on meds and the same coughing continued. I took her back to the surgeon since that’s where it all began. He heard the cough, rushed her to his emergency center, located in the same building, came back saying she needed a Diagnostician/Internist. A lot of money later, she is still coughing. Wrenching her entire body with every breath. I can see the life draining from her. She’s on Terbutaline, Hydrocodene liquid, and Prednizone to help but something in my heart tells me they are all wrong. I feel she was damaged in surgery. This cough started that day and hasn’t let up. Six months after the facial surgery, that surgeon called to ask how she was. I have been so upset I couldn’t talk to him. I had taken her to see everyone recommended to no avail. She is miserable but trying to keep that happy smile for me. I feel so taken advantage of and she is paying the price. I only wanted to give her every chance of being able to see again instead of bumping into things. She has been the faithful, loving creature, meant to be my friend and at this point, I feel helpless in finding adequate help for her. I feel blind. Here’s what I have found that is my layman’s diagnosis of what happened:
This condition occurs primarily in older dogs of the toy breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Toy Poodles, and occasionally in young dogs as a congenital defect.
Collapsing trachea occurs because the C-shaped tracheal rings do not possess normal rigidity. As a result, the involved wall of the trachea collapses as the dog inhales. Obesity is a predisposing factor, as is chronic bronchitis.
The principal sign of collapsing trachea is a characteristic goose-honk cough. The cough is made worse by stress and exertion, including pulling against a collar. Coughing may also occur when the dog eats or drinks. Respiratory insufficiency develops as the disease progresses.
Treatment:Examination by a veterinarian is the first step. Diseases of the heart and lungs should be ruled out before making the diagnosis. Dogs with mild to moderate symptoms respond to proper nutrition and a low-stress routine that avoids situations that trigger episodes of coughing. Moderate exercise is beneficial. Using a harness or head halter instead of a collar is important.
Overweight dogs should be put on a weight-loss diet. Eliminate cigarette smoke and other atmospheric pollutants that can trigger coughing.
Bronchodilator drugs such as aminophylline, theophylline, or albuterol are beneficial for many small dogs. Mild low-dose sedatives during stressful periods also are helpful. Cough suppressants and corticosteroids may be prescribed when the coughing is particularly severe. Respiratory infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics.
She doesn’t have the congenital defect, worms, wasn’t overweight, nor any of the other things that could have caused this condition. She was in great health except for the cataracts. She had a history of allergies/ear infections which we’d found Selsun Blue shampoo to control, so the allergy meds had been eliminated and I cut the tree/bush down. I talked with the breeder I bought her from and no other puppies have ever shown this condition. I’ve done my homework and it still falls on the surgeon. I am alarmed I will lose my dog when I only wanted to restore her sight. This has definitely shortened her life. Drinking/swallowing brings on harder coughing so she needs her back patted like a baby’s to be comfortable. No words can comfort me so there were no words I could speak to the surgeon that would be anything but cruel. He’d just opened his practice, celebrating his 1st year a few months ago, and Dr Shook recommended him. Since then, I have found other Vet places who do cataract work on animals with a long history of successes and a lot closer to my home. As charming as this Surgeon and his staff were, I am wondering if smiles and charm are a cover-up. Upon my entering his business, a young lady was leaving, crying. I asked her briefly if she was ok – her reply was “the surgery went wrong”. I had no clue if she’d worked there or was a client. I hesitated in proceeding. My gut trembled but I am over-protective of my dogs, so I went on in. I did ask what happened in her situation. They said she got some bad news on her older dog. I now wonder if the same thing happened at that time. He put my BamBam up as his success story for February 2013 on Face Book. Hearing the coughing made him nervous…. and he told me, it just the after effects of anesthesia. Rest at home, water, and soft meal should have stopped any side effects but here we are, still coughing our guts out. She has begun to spit up some, like bubbles, and looks totally worn out from fatigue. These few months have taken years off of her life. She is suddenly looking old and this past week, while we had so much rain, she acted seriously sickly. I even called the Diagnostician and was told to continue the meds as prescribed unless I want to bring her in. She’s gaining weight from the Prednizone so she doesn’t want to jump n play much now. Walking is an effort. It looks as if the Veterinary business has gotten as bad as the doctoring for the over 60 group of humans… it stinks. Surely, there’s a Super Man somewhere who can help my friend and companion, BamBam. AND, I am beginning to feel the surgeon/my Vet, should be toting the bill, as I am not an endless pit. I trusted them with a jewel and look what has happened! I have another appointment with the Diagnostician soon. I could hear in his voice that he too had little hope for recovery but is doing the best he can. He’s a Specialist on small dogs. When I had insurance on all my dogs, one got a broken toe and I sent in a claim. To my surprise, they rejected it, saying it was a pre-existing condition. I called them asking what they were talking about. The reg Vet had first diagnosed her as allergies in that foot and not X-rayed it even though I’d told her what happened with the door. That along got the entire thing sent out as a pre-existing condition even though it showed X-ray proving a broken toe condition caused the swelling and pain. We need better Vets. I did tell my thoughts to that Vet and she no longer practices at that clinic after I reported her to the Chain’s Corp office, plus, I canceled the insurance, who keep trying to get me to return to them. They just want money and it’s a miracle if anyone’s Vet bills get paid.
I need Jesus in my life at this time – things are overwhelming.