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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Breathing problems in man and beast



We drove to visit family for Easter weekend, and they had a sick dog. Earlier in the week, the dog had a fever, the shakes, and was coughing.  Unfortunately, they decided that the dog was going bette and didn't need to go to the vet.

When we arrived, I heard the dog coughing and knew that wasn't right. (I'm used to hearing people cough - since my three kids and I all have asthma.) But it was different hearing a dog cough. I picked him up and could tell he had a fever. 

I decided that we needed to take him to the vet. Of course, it was Saturday - which meant that the only place open was the emergency after hours pet clinic. We joined several other miserable dogs and one very annoyed cat in the waiting room.

We Googled "coughing dog" and Kennel Cough came up as a possible diagnosis. It made sense because he had been at the pet groomer the week before, so he probably picked up the illness there. (Just like when people pick up colds and flu from school and work.)

The vet said the dog did have Kennel Cough and would need an injection. "Ah, Decadron?" I asked the vet. He suddenly stopped and looked at me with the shot needle in his hand- he seemed a little shocked. "I have asthma, as do all three of my kids - and they have been hospitalized 12 times. So, I am VERY familiar with Decadron and Solu-Medrol. " 

My kids would get a steroid shot (Decadron) to reduce the swelling in the lungs. If that didn't work, they would end up in the hospital and get a steroid IV (Solu-Medrol) that would also help to reduce the swelling in the lungs.

 The doctor said yes, this was a steroid shot and that the dog would also need an antibiotic and cough medicine.

I had to laugh, and said to my husband, "this is just like having another kid!" We are once again at the after hours doc, who is caring for our loved one because they are having a hard time breathing.  Only this time our loved one was a dog!

So, when we went back home, it was easy to explain to family the treatment the dog received at the vet and that now we needed to watch him for pneumonia. (That was the cause of the majority of my kid's hospitalizations.) 

It's interesting that people and animals can have the same (or similar) illnesses and have the same treatment plan too. Only, we can't tell the dog to make sure that he covers his mouth when he coughs and that he needs to remember to wash his hands and not touch his face (to avoid the spread of germs!)


14 comments:

  1. Good job for recognizing the respiratory symptoms in he dog!! He/she must be grateful!

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    1. Yes, and he is still alive! Woot woot!! :)

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  2. Replies
    1. You never know what may come your way.....life is always exciting!

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  3. This Is nerdy gal here (my real name is Taylor) I thought you would find this interesting. As you probably know, Xopenex is a purified form of albuterol, but what exactly does that mean? I have taken organic chemistry and found out what that means. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16083788
    Xopenex is the (R) enantiomer of albuterol. Think of albuterol as a mixture of 2 molecules. (R)-albuterol, and (S)-albuterol. R-albuterol is what actually relaxes your airways, while S-albuterol actually promotes inflammation http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674905007232
    This article explains it good. Xopenex is only the R-albuterol and leaves out the S-albuterol. Which explains why some people respond better to Xopexex vs plain albuterol and less Xopenex is needed to acheive the same effect. There are other medicines like that out there too. Xyzal is the R-enatiomer of zyrtec, S-zyrtec is what causes drowsiness and R-zyrtec is the antihistamine

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    1. I love it when you share what you learn in class!

      Daughter Kitty can't have Xopenex - she has reactions to it in the hospital. We told one doctor what happened, but he said it was impossible because it's so similar to Albuterol. Head Pediatrician came in to Kitty's room in Pediatrics and he said, "well, don't give it to her then! Just use Albuterol."

      Sigh. I love it when you get different stories from different doctors....

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  4. http://m.ksl.com/index/story/sid/34230220?mobile_direct=y

    Check out this story about this three year old boy from utah who has been in the hospital for a month with pneumonia

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    1. How weird! That poor little guy.

      I hope he is feeling better :(

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  5. Hi there,

    I need to send you a PM. Do you have a way I can contact you please? It's regarding a magazine article, thank you!

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    1. Yes, you can email me at stressedasthmamom@gmail.com

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  7. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on breathing problems. I recently read about breathing problems, preventive measures to control and medication for Asthma on breathefree.com. I found it extremely helpful.

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