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a new diagnosis

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:24 am
by gagesbarb
I've written about Gage before and the saga continues. Started when he had a fainting episode last February. He had a work up at our specialist group by a cardiologist who said his heart had a mild valve issue, but it was not causing problems and didn't need treatment. He did have diffuse inflammation in his lungs which was diagnosed as chronic bronchitis, unknown cause. He was put on prednisone and got better. In mid summer, he began coughing more (no more fainting though) and after more tests, Dr. said his lungs were OK overall though she could hear "crackling" when he coughed. Put him on theophylline and benedryl and increased prednisone for a couple of weeks, then back to maintenance of every other day. Prednisone is wonderful and horrible; cleared up his lungs, but the side effects, particularly hunger, was hard. I noted a relationship between increased mold counts and increased coughing. Mold count down now and we lowered prednisone to 5 mg every other day and Gage seems calmer and coughing has not increased; in fact, some days, no cough and most days, coughs once or twice; when I say cough, it is like he is clearing his throat. However, he had a couple of fainting episodes, occurring when he has a coughing episode that is little longer. Ended up diagnosed with vasovagal syncope. Good news is that the cardiologist said the fainting is unlikely to "result in sudden death;" it last 15-20 seconds and then he's fine. Bad news is she prescribed a narcotic cough suppressant at a high dose. I wasn't comfortable giving him so much medicine for something that so far is not happening much and presumably is not dangerous. Talked to my wonderful regular vet who agreed that this was a bit of overkill and helped us develop a plan to use it at a lower dose if Gage developed more of a cough. I am also going to try to get to him when he starts coughing and try to help him stay calm...Anyway, I'm sad we have yet another thing to deal with but happy that we don't have to increase the prednisone and this is not life threatening (as best we know)...of course, I don't think we know exactly why this has developed, except that it doesn't seem to represent major heart problems; my regular vet said he had considered L-P or tracheal collapse, but Gage didn't really have the whole picture of those...Since the time we adopted Gage, he has coughed with any pressure on his neck; other things about his behavior make me suspect he may have been "trained" harshly (jerks on collar?) and I wonder if his trachea was injured...don't know as he was picked up as a stray... Nevertheless, although I worry, Gage continues to be his usual happy, energetic, affectionate self :D

sorry for the length of this post, but it helps me to "say" it all out loud

Re: a new diagnosis

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:18 pm
by Cindy
Say it out loud all you want - I understand. Interesting medical issues going on but it sounds like you are making good decisions about quality of life vs medication vs not panicking :lol: . I forget - how old is Gage?

Re: a new diagnosis

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:37 am
by gagesbarb
Thanks, Cindy :D We think Gage is somewhere between 11-13 yrs...