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Extremely frustrated re: Brody's health

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am so frustrated right now I feel like I am going to cry!

Most of you are aware of Brody's health condition with the heartworms but just in case I am going to give some of the background info in my post.
I am really hoping someone with an outside view might be able to offer a suggestion or ideas on what could be going on. I don't know what else to do.

Brody was dropped off on our doorstep on Thanksgiving. In December I brought him to the vet for a check up and shots. We found out he had a bad case of heartworms. The vets treament procedure was to give Brody Heartguard once a month for 6 months, then in June to go through with the final treament (don't remember the name of the medicine but it's the dangerour stuff with the arsenic) to kill the heartworms. He would then be confined to his crate for 6 weeks as the Heartworms die and leave his body. This is a very critical time since any excitement can cause his blood flow to increase and the dead worms could form a clot which could instantly kill Brody.

A couple of weeks after that appointment (still in December) Brody began vomiting quite often and coughing as well. He was diagnosed with either Kennel Cough or Canine Influenza. He was on medication, but I did a lot of research on Kennel Cough and due to the incubation period it didn't make sense that was what Brody had. So I figured it was the influenza. He seemed to get better after the medication.

He got his first Heartguard pill January 15th. He spent the day at the vet and responded well. A few days after though, the vomiting returned. He began vomiting daily. The vet said it was probably a reaction from the pill, nothing to worry about.

Fast forward 2 weeks (beginning of February). I became concerned about the amount of food Brody was eating daily. He was eating Iams small chunks, but didn't seem overly happy with it. He was eating maybe 1/2 cup once a day, at night. I was worried and decided to switch his food to see if he would do better on something else. I bought him Royal Canin Special 30, which is for small dogs. He seemed to like it better, but still seemed to only eat 1/2 cup daily.

The vomiting began to become less frequent during this same time, but I would say it still happened about 4 days a week. There were mornings that I would take him outside to use the bathroom and he would just stand there and throw up He wasn't acting sick though, he still had energy and acted fine otherwise.

February 15th I gave him his 2nd dose of Heartguard. He did manage to go the week before that only vomiting once. I hadn't made any changes to anything, it just seemed to go away. One week ago now (so it's one week after the Heartguard pill) the vomiting has returned. It is occuring daily and he is hardly touching his food. I am extremely concerned for Brody. Last night I woke up at 2am because he was sitting next to my bed practically choking, and acting like he needed to throw up, but couldn't get anything out. He hadn't eaten anything though.

I called his vet this morning. I was frustrated and wanted to know if the vomiting was an affect of the heartworms, or possibly the medication. They said most dogs with heartworms do not throw up. She wants me to buy a brand new bag of Brody's food and throw the old away. I explained to her I didn't think there was anything wrong with his food because this has almost always been a problem with him. She is going to talk to the vet and call me back to let me know what he thinks.

One thought on my mind is Brody's lack of nourishment. Should I be giving him some sort of supplement during this time? He isn't eating much, and with all the vomiting he can't be getting much nourishment. He does drink a lot and I give him pedialite....

The other thought is this vet. I have spent ALOT of money on Brody's vet care. I am considering getting a second opinion, but that will be a big expense and it is going to be hard to afford right now. I am also concerned because he is on his 2nd month of heartworm treatment and I do not want to set back his care.

What should I do at this point? I mean, does anyone have any thoughts as to whether or not this vet could be mistaken and the vomiting could be a result of the heartworms? If so, that's fine, but I need to figure out how to keep him nourished.

If it's not from heartworms and it is something else, how on earth is this poor dog going to make it through dealing with another health problem while he has such a bad case of heartworms?

I am trying so hard to do all I can for him and he just won't get to feeling better. I feel so frustrated about it, I am angry with my vet because I can't get any answers as well. I am also scared about further veterinary cost as well. I am all ready trying to get some money saved for the big heartworm treatment in June. It is going to be at least $400 and my budget is tight. I would not have willingly gone out and gotten a dog strictly because of my financial situation right now, but remember Brody was found running the streets and was dropped off on our doorstep....

Sorry guys, I am just scared for Brody and frustrated and needed to vent.
post #2 of 26
How much does he weigh? And does he seem skinny?
I'm not sure what to tell you about the vomiting
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Arlyn
How much does he weigh? And does he seem skinny?
I'm not sure what to tell you about the vomiting
He weighs 20 pounds... His breed average weight is 19-30 pounds. When we first found him he weighed 19 pounds. He probably gained 3-4 pounds in the first month but has lost it again.
post #4 of 26
Does he seem skinny to you, like no body fat at all?

I ask because you seem worried over his food intake.
I have a 90 pound dog on a high quality kibble, he only eats 2 cups a day.

If he is getting sick a lot though, a few extra pounds would certainly be a good buffer for him.
Try getting some good canned food into him, and maybe ask your vet for some of that high calorie paste to add to it.
A little pedialyte in his water on his bad days would help too.
post #5 of 26
Yes, I agree with Arlyn, try some canned food. The smell alone should entice him to eat. When he vomits, is it right after he eats or like an hour later? I know you don't want to hear it, but I would strongly advise a second opinion. Especially on the BIG treatment coming up in June. I mean I've had dogs all my life, and have never heard of such a harsh treatment that sounds just awful! We lost our beloved Ricky (RIP) to a blood clot, so that is something I would NEVER bring on intentionally. I'm soo sorry your poor Brody is going through all of this. You are such a GREAT person for giving him a chance
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by chichismom
Yes, I agree with Arlyn, try some canned food. The smell alone should entice him to eat. When he vomits, is it right after he eats or like an hour later? I know you don't want to hear it, but I would strongly advise a second opinion. Especially on the BIG treatment coming up in June. I mean I've had dogs all my life, and have never heard of such a harsh treatment that sounds just awful! We lost our beloved Ricky (RIP) to a blood clot, so that is something I would NEVER bring on intentionally. I'm soo sorry your poor Brody is going through all of this. You are such a GREAT person for giving him a chance
The treatment, the one containing arsenic, is actually what they have to use to kill the worms. I have read about that everywhere. It's tricky because they have to use enough to kill the worms, but not the dog. I have found that some vets, if the heartworms are minor, will choose not to go through with the treatment because it is so hard on the dog. They will opt with keeping them on the Heartguard forever. Brody's worms are bad. His lungs have been affected so they have to be treated.
I am going to pick up some canned food, and also a coworker suggested looking for food that is for dogs with sensitive stomaches. I am going to call and talk to Dori's old vet and see if he might help me out with Brody.

He doesn't normally throw up right away after eating. It usually occurs hours later. The vomit is usually bile....
post #7 of 26
In that case, I would suggest you add some plain yogurt, or some pro-biotics to help aid in his digestion. Make sure to check with the vet first though, to avoid any interference with the heartworm meds. I would also make sure the food is chicken based. Veal, venison, rabbit etc.. based foods can be very rich, and upset an already upset tummy

As far as the treatment in June- sorry for questioning the treatment. I just have never heard of such a thing. We had dogs with heartworms before, but it was'nt near as bad as poor Brody's. The blood clot side effect just scared me, and I did'nt want you to go through the pain I did. I hope the treatment works for him I will ask the question about the heartworm meds making the tummy upset to some fellow dog people, and let ya know what they say tommorow.

Just out of curiosity- do you ever feed him table scraps? And if so, does he seem to throw up after eating that? or not?
post #8 of 26
Dogs do cough when they have heartworm, is it possible that he coughs to the point of throwing up? Maybe he's coughing up phlem and choking on it? Two things I would check, (although with the amount of money you've spent, you may already have) did you do a stool sample? I know he's been on heartworm pills which also take care of most worms, but not all. Also, I'd have a blood panel run to make sure his organs are ok. If it's neither of these, I'd take an abdominal x-ray, and lastly, change his food. Some dogs can't tolerate certain food. Keep us posted! Good luck!
post #9 of 26
Poor Brody. He's on such a long hard road to recovery. I hope you find a food that he will keep down. I'd imagine that wet food would whet his appetite more.
Sending him some healing vibes {{{{}}}} and to you for doing so much for him.
post #10 of 26
I don't have any advice, but I am so sorry for what you and Brody are going through and all of the frustration involved.

Tons of best wishes... and I hope he gets to feeling better and everything works out.
post #11 of 26
I have no advice either, but the little pup is still in my thoughts!
post #12 of 26
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats
I have no advice either, but the little pup is still in my thoughts!
Me too.
post #13 of 26
Please feel better, precious little Brody!
post #14 of 26
oh Tanya I just saw this
feel better sweet Brody
post #15 of 26
Tanya, perhaps you should ask your vet about a high-calorie prescription diet for Brody. Such a thing does exist, and is fed to working dogs (search & rescue dogs, for example) in times of stress. You could also try cooking for him - chicken (or ground beef, if it's very lean, and don't add oil; stewing beef would be fine, too, but chicken is probably the most advisable) with rice, a few veggies like carrots and peas, and a spoonful of vegetable oil. Dogs are omnivores, so feeding them a home-cooked diet isn't as tricky as feeding cats one.
It's been a while, so I wouldn't swear that the proportions are absolutely accurate, but we used to use one boiled chicken (pick it off the bones very carefully) to 1 - 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice, about a 1/3 - 1/2 cup of frozen vegetables, and two teaspoons of Mazola. I would boil the chicken, pour the broth through a strainer to "catch" any bones, and then add the rice and veggies to the broth and cook them while I picked the meat off the chicken. That usually was enough for two or three days, depending on the size of the dog. You should also try feeding him several very small meals a day, rather than just one or two larger meals.
P.S. Hubby just reminded me that we used to cook liver about once a week for fresh-out-of-the-pound, underweight dogs, as most dogs love it, and sometimes used small elbow macaroni as an alternative to rice.
Puppy food would supply more calories, as Beckiboo suggested.
post #16 of 26
I agree with trying two smaller meals, maybe he will absorb the food better. Our Rainbow Bridge dog Logan would eat as much as we fed him...he had no sense for how much to eat. We had to limit his meal sizes. Maybe Brody is eating more than his tummy can hold.

And the amounts they recommend on the dog food bags are always off...they always recommend a dog eat more than they should.

I wonder if adding some puppy food would help up his calories some. After all, he is battling a severe illness, and it might be easier to digest, too.

Thankfully I've never dealt with heartworms. But you should be able to call around to as many vets as you find in the phone book, and let them know you are dealing with a french bulldog (if memory serves me right) with a severe case of heartworm. Let them know the extent, and what the current vet recommends. Ask for their recommended course of treatment, and the cost. They will think you are just bargain hunting...but in reality while you may save a few dollars, you may also get some differing opinions on how to treat him. If they all recommend the same will know that is probably best. But maybe someone else has some other ideas.

This is a guess on my part...but I would think you could talk to a vet tech, who could explain things to the vet, and give you a quote on cost and care. After all, a vets office is a business, and you are just looking for the best for little Brody. He was very wise to chose you to care for him!

FYI, when our Logan got old and sickly, he lost his appetite. We went from high quality dry food, to cheap cans from Wal-mart, because he would eat it. And I had a friend who's sick dog was fed hamburger mixed with rice until his tummy settled.
post #17 of 26
Feel better soon Brody
post #18 of 26
post #19 of 26
Hows Brody doing this week? have you tried the canned food?
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
OOPS, I have forgotten to update this thread! I am so sorry

Brody is doing MUCH better. I used several ideas from you guys helping him, and I thank you all so much for the help.
6 days have passed since Brody last vomited. As of yesterday he is back to eating his dry food. For the days before that though I cooked him some white rice with deboned chicken and peas, I even added the vegetable oil as Tricia suggested. That was actually one of the first things he kept down. After trying that I went and picked up some Merrick Wingaling wet food (chicken) and he wasn't able to keep that down. Stephanie mentioned to me that it might be smart to try California Natural since their food doesn't tend to be as "fancy" as Merrick. He did well with that and things continued to improve.

After speaking with the vet, and not the secretary, and explaining everything to him he believes this could be an affect from the monthly heartworm pill. He also ok'd me using puppy food for Brody if we go through this after his next pill, which he gets on the 15th.
post #21 of 26
Yay! I'm so glad Brody is feeling better!
post #22 of 26
Thanks for the update... I've been checking off and on hoping to hear how he was doing.

So glad to hear things are getting better.
post #23 of 26
I'm happy to hear that Brody is doing better, and managing to keep his food down! The poor little guy got lucky when he found you.
post #24 of 26
Originally Posted by jcat
The poor little guy got lucky when he found you.
he sure did!!! Your a wonderful person looking after Brody so well

Glad he is feeling better - I have been thinking about him alot! Fingers crossed all goes well with his next pill on the 15th
post #25 of 26
Glad to habout the improvement. I hope he does ok with the next pill on Wednesday. At least you'll be prepared for his reaction this time.
post #26 of 26
i am just seeing this but i would seriously question your vet on his decision to do the OLD arsenic treatment method of treating HWs. There was a new drug introduced that is much easier on dogs and does a much better job of killing heartworms in dogs. Its a seriesof injections in the dogs back muscle that work much better and with fewer side effects than the arsenic treatment. This widely available drug is called immiticide.

Melarsomine (immiticide) is preferred over another drug, thiacetarsamide, that kills adult heartworms because it is less likely to cause a reaction where injected, it is more effective, less likely to cause liver damage, and can be used more safely in dogs with severe heartworm disease.

thiacetarsamide goes in the vein and is horrible horrible crap. both contain types of arsenic but Immiticide is much easier on the dogs liver than Thiaceta. You will have to confine Brody for a period on each drug but Immiticide is much much safer.

please ask your vet which drug he uses. even contemplate I wish you luck in your journey--

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