X-ray reveals no lung improvement. Coughing worse than ever. Details to follow...
Update: Well everything was going great for a while.
Skeletor went into the Vet for his vaccinations on Thursday. I mentioned when I dropped him off that we were out of Vetmedin (which was the only drug he was taking, aside from the occasional Viagra that I was able to administer.)
I wasn't sure if he was supposed to keep taking it or not at this point. I was hoping since he had been doing so well that he may be ready to start weening off. (It's over $80/bottle!)
Melanie picked him up that afternoon and I forgot to tell her anything about the Vetmedin.
Long story short, we were all out and the weekend was upon us. We would have to wait until Monday to get another bottle.
Now, it's unclear if the lack of medication was a factor or not, but Saturday night he just started coughing. Coughing, coughing and coughing. He has always had a little bit of a cough... but this was the worst Mel and I had ever seen it.
The fits were measured in minutes, not seconds. He would cough and cough until he hacked, and sometimes vomited... then cough some more. I had some leftover Tussigon that was prescribed before when his coughing was really bad. I gave him a pill. He wretched it up a few minutes later along with his food :(
The next day, his condition had not improved. He was not lethargic. His appetite seemed normal. It's just that he could hardly stand up without inciting a coughing fit. We tried not to excite him. We did online research. We wondered what we could possibly do for him!
This morning, Melanie took him back to see Dr. Chick. They performed an x-ray and compared it to one from a year ago. His lungs and heart didn't look any better on the x-ray. :( Both organs are still functioning on an impaired level.
The vet has always been very clear about the fact that the damage to his cardiovascular system was most likely permanent. However, it was a sad truth that I had optimistically pushed to the back of my mind. It was easy to do when he was going months at a time without any bad symptoms or complications.
Now he's back on a whole host of medications! He's on antibiotics to clear up any possible infection in his lungs. We've got more Tussigon for his coughing. He's got another bottle of Vetmedin. He's on another pill called Furosemide which is prescribed to reduce water retention.
The poor guy has to take over 10 pills a day. I sure hope they work. He certainly doesn't mind as long as we don't run out of pill pockets!
It's not all doom and gloom of course! His appetite remains strong. He's not showing signs of lethargy (when he's not zonked out on cough suppressants that is!) And he's not showing any indication of the dreaded anemia that he's battled with so often in the past.
He's so strong and happy that it's easy to forget how close to death this dog has been. Every so often, he'll give us a scare and we're reminded just how fragile Skeletor's life really is.
As I write this, Skelly is snoring peacefully behind my chair on his comfy bed.
Hang in there, bud!