White Dog went to bed last night expecting that today would be the perfect followup to our hectic weekend, there would not even be a mailman to bark at so the entire day could be spent lounging and napping and recovering from the social rigors of entertaining, chaperoning, and organizing. It was to be a day all deserved and needed.
But in the middle of the night (well, it started slightly on Saturday) Puff woke us all with a series of horrible fits of deep pulmonary coughing that racked her little body, sent shivers through all of us, and left poor SAWD shaking in fear. She still is not officially cleared from heartworm (not until May) and we know that her heart has been damaged. We also know that she has had issues with lung congestion so we took this coughing VERY seriously hoping with all our might that she had not contracted pneumonia or worse. We gave her cough syrup as Dr. Julia had prescribed last time, and half a steroid, and then to ease her anxiety a couple of Composure, an herbal calming tablet also previously prescribed. We cuddled Puff until the medication took effect and then gently tucked her into bed. Of course, I slept with one eye and both ears open all night.
First thing this morning, we called the vet and arranged to bring our girl in. She was still hacking but it seemed less severe than at night (which I guess is not unusual for lung conditions). Dr. Julia listened and then did a lung x-ray.
Still Another White Dog was still battling a great deal of congestion in her lungs. We saw the x-rays from November when we first adopted her and her lungs were totally clouded with congestion. The ones from January were a vast improvement but there was still quite a large amount of fluid there. Today's films showed not much difference from last month. The vet decided that we were going to treat this reoccurring cough as a chronic issue and fight a little more aggressively. We trust her instincts; she has gotten our littlest one through so much already.
We did decide that we would not put Puff back on a steroid for now but a strong antibiotic and a heavier duty cough suppressant in pill form were in order. I was reassured that SAWD's heart was not inflammed or in danger and that I should not worry excessively that her coughing might trigger heart failure (as a CHF survivor, I flinch at the idea of chronic lung fluid). Puff goes back for a listen next week but we will keep her on this regimen (if it appears to be reducing the congestion) for awhile.
Medicated, our little fighter is sleepy but almost back to her old self. And all in the White Dog Army are sympathetic but also excited because pill time means liver sausage time...for everyone.