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baby delivery truck
Nov 23, 2007


So around 4 or 5 years ago, I adopted one of my ex girlfriends dogs, an all black chihuahua dachshund mix with root beer eyes, and had my mom take him in. So a few months back he started coughing a lot and breathing heavy. Vet said he had a leaky heart valve and prescribed him diuretics, saying it'd help his organs absorb fluids. He still coughed a lot but was doing okay up until two weeks ago. He had an episode of panting and wheezing ending with him falling on the floor and making GBS threads himself. She rushed him to the vet, who than gave him a diuretic shot. He was fine for 2 weeks after, barely any coughing. Than a couple days ago he was wheezing really bad, I came over to hang out with the dogs while she went to work. He looked really panicky and was wheezing a lot, so she gave him another diuretic pill before she left for work, thinking that's what the vet would do. Within a few hours he was coughing up blood and died while I was petting him, blood running out his mouth. I didn't have a car to take him to the vet and she didn't get back in time to take him.

Now she's super upset thinking that she killed him with a diuretic overdose. She has it in her head that since he ate the pill instead of getting the shot that's why he was coughing up blood, and she's feeling super guilty, won't stop crying. Could that be true? Should he even have been taking diuretics in the first place for a leaky heart valve? How do I convince her it wasn't her fault? I'll get her to send me pics of the good boy asap, but I still feel really bad about. If I had ubered him to the vet could it have made a difference? His blood oxygen levels were consistently in the low 80s which is really bad, so I think it was just inevitable, but idk, gimme some blame or reassurance I guess.

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Tamarillo
Aug 6, 2009


This isn't a qualified or 100% educated opinion because I'm not done with vet school so take it with a grain of salt, but it might help you feel better so here goes.

From my limited understanding so far of heart valve diseases, with the backflow of blood coming from the leaky valve you generally end up with an enlarged heart, not enough oxygenated blood going out into the body and too much blood going to the lungs. The lungs do their damnedest to handle the extra volume but they can only really take it to a certain extent.

End result from all the bodily chaos this causes is a dog that tires easily and has excess fluid build up in the lungs - hence the coughing. You can't really cure it so much as use treatment to try and prolong the dog's life. The diuretic is meant to help him by making it easier for his shonky heart to pump blood through his body and trying to get rid of the excess fluid. But eventually over time there's just too much build up of fluid in the lungs for the body to drain even with drugs. So, from what you've said it doesn't sound like your dog died of a diuretic overdose and your mum is not some terrible dog murderer. I think your dog just hit the end of his capacity to handle what was a terminal illness.

I don't know what would have happened if you'd taken him to the vet, but at our teaching hospital even if they were able to stabilise him then the conversation probably would have turned pretty quickly to quality of life and the possibility of euthanasia. FWIW our case study dog in a similar situation was stabilised and sent home on 3 different drugs but still died of heart failure in the owners backyard a couple of weeks later.

If she's feeling absolutely terrible, I'm sure that if you call the vet they would totally understand and would be happy to give an actual qualified breakdown of what probably happened and provide some closure. I think the final answer is still going to be it's not your mum's fault. But better to check in with a qualified professional than rely on the opinion of a random internet student stranger.

Tamarillo fucked around with this message at Sep 7, 2018 around 09:30

Ema Nymton
Apr 26, 2008

the place where I come from
is a small town


Buglord

At least you and your mom tried to do something about pupper's health problems. There are a lot of people who just do not take their pets to vets.

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