tigger’s heart

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tigger, my oldest dog, was diagnosed with a heart murmur a few weeks ago.

i took him to the vet because he was coughing whenever he played with winston. the vet said he has a heart murmur that wasn’t apparent at his previous appointment, which was back in january or february. since he was only coughing while playing, the vet said to keep an eye on him and to bring him back if the coughing got worse.

within the last week, he started coughing when he wasn’t doing anything. he was also breathing heavier and snoring while sleeping. now, winston snores like a freight train because of his flat face, but tigger has never snored, so it struck me as very strange.

i took him to the vet yesterday and they took x-rays. the x-rays showed that both his heart and his liver are enlarged. the vet said he doesn’t think tigger is in heart failure yet, but he is concerned with how quickly the coughing progressed. he prescribed four medications: two antibiotics and two medicines that will help relieve the stress on his heart. and i have to take tigger back to the vet tomorrow so they can do a cardiac ultrasound, which will tell them how serious the damage is and will help them figure out why the liver is enlarged. i have to leave tigger there all day so they can do it.

tigger is not even nine years old yet. he’s not old. he’s a small dog so we thought he’d be with us until he was 15 or 16 years old. i don’t know if that’s even remotely possible now. i don’t know what i will do when tigger is gone. he’s my baby — literally, since josh and i are choosing not to have children. he’s the first pet i’ve ever had. i’ll never forget when we brought him home, all three pounds of him curled up and trembling on my lap. i was as scared of him as he was of us. i grew up terrified of dogs, yet i let josh talk me into getting one. and now i can’t imagine life without both tigger and winston.

tigger hasn’t coughed since i started him on the medications yesterday. hopefully the ultrasound will show that the damage isn’t that bad and can be managed with the medications. i may post an update tomorrow; it really just depends on what the vet tells us.

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