One of our longstanding and much loved patients is a gorgeous Old English Sheepdog by the name of Barney. He has been seen over the years for simple conditions, like the removal of a LOT of grass seeds from his feet and general check ups and we are pleased to say that he's always been in really good health, so when he started coughing as he woke up in the morning, his owners were concerned and brought him in for vet Glen to check over.
Coughing is a symptom of many different problems, and so when a course of antibiotics initially improved his cough we thought that he may just have had a respiratory infection, but when he started struggling on his walks and the cough came back, Glen decided that the best thing to do would be to have him in for the day for a proper MOT!
When Glen felt Barney's pulses there was a problem, called a pulse deficit. This means that the timing between the heart beat and the pulse felt in the hind leg is "out", indicating that there may be a heart problem. It was difficult to hear Barney's heart with the stethoscope but Glen could hear a heart murmur.
The next stage was an ultrasound scan of his heart and also an electrocardiogram ( or ECG.) Barney was a very good boy and allowed us to perform these tests with no problem. We also took x-rays of Barney's chest, and discovered the cause of his cough.
Barney has a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy... or basically, a big heart! This big heart was pressing upwards onto his trachea and contributing to his cough.
This condition, if left untreated would deteriorate and Barney would feel much worse.
Barney is now on a myriad of tablets every day, and will be on treatment for the rest of his life but his dedicated owners have been keeping up with it and he is feeling MUCH happier!
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