Your older, adorable, Benji-like small dog with no history of heart murmur starts coughing. He's had a collapsing trachea before, so you're not terribly worried. Until it continues for several weeks and he develops a wheeze and trouble breathing. You take him to your vet for an exam and chest x-rays. Benji's heart is large but his murmur is quiet... not typical for heart failure from chronic valvular disease. So what's causing his cough? Is it broncho-pneumonia? Heart failure? Collapsing trachea? Or something else? An echocardiogram and cardiology consultation ordered through ETVETUS gives you answers and a plan to help your baby.
The technical detail: The thoracic radiographs show a severely enlarged cardiac silhouette with left atrial enlargement on all views. The pulmonary vasculature appears normal. There is a mild interstitial pattern to the perihilar area on the lateral view and this is seen on the right caudal lung fields on the V/D view. The trachea is compressed over the dorsal aspect of the heart and elevated in the cranial chest on the lateral views.
Let's look at some echo images.
A trace pericardial effusion was also noted, possibly secondary to congestive heart failure OR a left atrial tear.
what's causing my dog's cough?
The cough is thought to be from a combination of early left-sided congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and tracheal and mainstem bronchus collapse over the heart. Treatment consists of diuretics, pimobendan to increase heart contractility, enalapril, sildenafil to treat the pulmonary hypertension, and cough-suppressants if needed for the tracheal collapse. You're sweet baby can now get the exact help he needs. He'll need monitoring and ongoing treatment but should start feeling much better soon.
Hours of Operation
To schedule an appointment, please call or email. Then, please have your veterinarian's office submit your pet's information from the Refer a Case page. After-hours emergencies that need ultrasound should be referred to your specialty hospital of choice. If we are with a patient and unavailable to answer your call, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
For appointments at Southwind Animal Hospital in Maryville, please call 865-724-1040.
Laura Devlin Bacon
We look forward to helping care for your pets and patients!