my little champ is about 13 maybe closer to 14 but he's developed a cough and he was kind of "losing a step" so to say, we took him to the vet and he told us he had a heart rate of about 60 , which he explained to my wife is very low , he then prescribed simplicef ,prednisone and some cough medicine. I personnaly am worried about heart disease or some other serious issues , is my vet wasting valuable time here? please help if you have any information that might help me make his life as good as possible in his older age
Has he had a heart/lung x-ray? If so, is his heart enlarged or does his lungs look funny? He might need to have an echocardiogram done. Sometimes an internist can do this but usually a cardiologist does. When I lived in Houston, the internist was able to do it but I was prepared to go to a cardiologist to have it done. Since you are close to Dallas, I am sure there are excellent specialists that can see your boy. What about blood tests? Is anything abnormal there? You may want to start off with an internist if you do want your regular vet to do more testing.
My boy who is almost 11 is having coughing/hacking but it looks like lung problems as his heart looked good on the x-ray. His blood tests were normal.
Sometimes regular vets do not put a lot of time or emphasis on elderly dogs. I think it is due to some owners not wanting the hassle of taking care of an older dog and the expense of it. I believe dogs of all ages should get quality care especially if the owner requests it!
What was the diagnosis? What are the drugs he prescribed supposed to be treating? If he is treating for inflammation, how did he confirm it, x-ray or ultrasound? Do they have a specialist that comes in for consults or can they refer you out?
Also, what has your dog's heart rate been at previous exams? My dogs all have low heart rates because they are canine athletes and just like human athletes their resting heart rates are lower than non-athletes.
You really need more information. If the vet isn't willing to give more info then you really need a second opinion.
The drugs prescribed were to treat the cough. The vet performed heart worm test and white blood cell count there in office and said the white blood cells were fine and no heart worms. The vet said if the cough is still around a week from now, and/or Bailey doesn't seem to be feeling any better he wants to do an ECG. He explained Bailey might just have a naturally slow heart rate, and it might be decreased because he is a little under the weather. Bailey has always been an athletic dog, so like you stated lvoss, that might be the case. The vet spent a lot of time listening to his chest, said there was no murmur or swooshing sounds, which was good.
Truthfully I am unsure of his heart rate at previous visits. It was never brought up as a concern before.
What concerns me most is how sudden his symptoms came about. He is getting older, but this wasn't gradual. Within a week the coughing got bad and he was tired and out of breath only 1/3 of the way into his normal walk.
I'd also have him tested for Valley Fever. Although the Dallas-Fort Worth area isn't really within the Valley Fever Map, the map is from 1957 so things could have changed dramatically since then.
Although Valley Fever in its initial stages affects the respiratory system, in its disseminated stages, it can affect other organs, including the heart.
It's certainly something I'd want ruled out.