Alternative Medicine for Pets/heart meds


I will try to make this as brief as possible, which isn't easy..

My little Chihuahua, Mocha, had developed a cough when she was 6 years old. X-Rays were taken on June 27, 2011 and sent to the University for evaluation. Murmur was discovered for the first time at this vet visit, also.

Findings were: left ventricle and adrium were moderately enlarged; pulmonary vessels and lungs were normal as was the intrathoracic trachea and bronchi. Nasopharynx collapse on one view and hyoid apparatus caudally located. Cervicle trachea, normal,as was included abdomen. Mitral Valve degeneration was diagnosis w/o heart failure. They did not think that any of this was the source of the cough but possibly lower airway inflammatory disease, and recommended she come to the UofM for invasive tests. We thought about it and declined.

Prednilosone was prescribed, as well as Hydrocodone cough syrup to use also if needed. In June, 2012, about a year later, she developed severe breathing problems and bloated abdomen. With this visit, X-Rays were also taken, which almost killed her, as her tongue turned purple!  She weighed 7.75# and I was told to take some weight off her. She was put on Pimobendan, (1.88 mg)divided, Enalapril, (3.75 mg)divided and also Furosemide, (.5 mg) 2x a day, as it was thought that she could go into heart failure at any time, if she wasn't, already! These X-Rays were also sent to the University for evaluation.

Findings were: Heart was significantly more enlarged than the previous year. Liver enlargement; Trachea was misplaced dorsally, from the enlarged organs. Pulmonary and lungs are still normal, with no heart failure.

She seemed better for awhile with the meds, but then developed a "different" type of cough that almost knocked her off her feet! It was horrible and often! I did some research and discovered that the Enalapril given was enough for a 14# dog, even though she had been losing weight, and had been on this dose for several months! I reduced the dose to 1.25 mg, (she now weighed 5.75#) in divided doses and the cough resolved, so I kept her on this lower dose of Enalapril.  Then she developed another severe bout of breathing difficulty on Christmas Day, 2012. We gave her oxygen at home and increased the furosemide dosage. The next day she was better, but the breathing has never really improved much, and by the end of March she was having difficulty eating. She would go back several times to her food. I thought it was because of the breathing problem, but have since discovered she is having abdominal pain instead. With every episode she had been getting vet care, with Valium added, because her heart pounds so hard from the drugs that she can't sleep at night. Last Tuesday night, she had such severe cramping that she was yelping in pain, and moving blindly, and having terrible breathing problems. I got her in a crate and thought she would die!  Everything went through her. We gave her oxygen, and I had planned on having her pts the following morning if she survived the night. I had her to the vet's when they opened in the morning and she was on oxygen for 6 hours. She was very weak. I went back home and called at 4, and they said, "no change." I went up there to have her put to sleep, but the little stinker showed a spark of life, and was stronger on her feet, even though the vet didn't have a good feel about it. He didn't think she'd be able to maintain her breathing on her own. I took her home. She had missed 2 or 3 doses of the heart meds by now, but was still on the Furosemide, which I syringed into her. I had been up with her day and night for many nights by this time. I came home with Buphrenorphine, colic meds and Pepcid D on top of everything else for the pain.
She continued to show improvement, and I started giving the Pimobendan again, leaving out the Enalapril, suspecting it was causing the dyspnea. Her breathing has been excellent since stopping that drug! No Oxygen at home! By yesterday, we had a brand new dog! She was playing, barking, chasing her tail and begging for food and for treats! It was a miracle, as she has been on Death's door several times.  Last night, she started leaving her food again. I now realize it is stomach/abdominal distress rather than the breathing because her breathing is very good! She sat up all night, miserable, with this pain. She can't lie down. I gave her stomach soothers and water, and smaller doses of Furosemide more often. She is more alert this morning, took a little meat, but is not good, still preferring to sleep standing in the chair, but is lying down for up to a minute at a time. She is very, very, tired. (me too!) My question is, could this drug, Pimobendan,which works so well for many, be the cause of her abdominal distress after being on it for so many months? Stopping the Enalapril has improved her breathing 99%. If intolerant of one, could she be intolerant of the other? Then what? Is there a substitute that could be tried?
OR, could the Enalapril have been the source of her abdominal distress and she is still feeling the effects, even though it's been two days without?  Her last dose Pimobendan was last evening. I haven't given her any, today.
I did read that almost 13% of the dogs in the Pimobendan trial got excellent results from the Pimobendan at the dosage of .2 mg/kg, rather than the recommended .5 mg per kg. I'm wondering if I should wait a few days and then start in at this lower dose to see if she is one of those? I'd like it to work, as testimony I've found on Pimobendan has been very positive in most cases.  I just want my happy little dog back for as long as possible.
Thank you so much for this very helpful site!  I'm very thankful that I came across it.  If you have any questions, or don't understand some of my rambling and time-line, please write! This is one tough little dog, with so much spirit! I hate to give up on her, but we definitely need more help and ideas than what the Vet's have.
Thank you so much, and God Bless!

Dear Judy,

The thought of your girl on all of those meds absolutely horrifies me. I am not really qualified to answer your questions, but I can certainly send you to someone who is, and someone who can possibly help you save your girl's life.  His name id Dr Gerald Wessner, and he is a holistic vet. Many years ago, he actually gave up practicing veterinary medicine for 5 years because he could not tolerate what allopathic medicine was doing to the animals. Once he discovered the holistic approach, especially homeopathy, he took certification courses in several alternative methods and began to truly heal the animals he so cherished. If you would give him a call at 352-245-2025, you can schedule a phone consultation. I know you will love can feel his compassion over the phone.

Keep me posted.


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Susan R Griffin


I can answer questions concerning pet allergies, natural flea control, breeding and dog breeds, puppy training, pets and stress, and pretty much any dog related question.


I have been a Holistic Pet Care Consultant for over 20 years. My specialties are nutrition and flea, skin and coat problems but I have experience with other health issues as well. I have been studying canine nutrition for over 20 years as well and have a broad knowledge base there including breed specific information. I am the author of The Healthy Pet Handbook and Simple Steps to a Healthy Pet as well as many other pet related articles; and have hosted radio talk shows on natural pet care. I conduct seminars on natural pet care, relationship training and the spiritual, energetic relationship between people and companion animals. I trained my first dog in 7th grade, bread my first litter in 12th grade and began showing at age 20 (I'm now 60). I have studied dogs all of my life and I have a degree in Psychology with minors in Ecology and Animal Behavior from Utah State University. I am a graduate of The New York School of Dog Grooming (1972) and Orchard Kennels School of Training (can't remember the year). I am the founder and owner of Naturals For Animals in St Petersburg, FL and the developer of Critter Oil and other natural products and Pet Energy Therapy, a pet assisted therapy for people. I look forward to answering your questions and feel free to read the articles on my site,

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As stated above: Graduate, New York School of Dog Grooming, Orchard Kennels School of Training, Utah State University (BS), Certified Hypno-therapist, Certified Stress Management Consultant and ordained minister. Personal studies over 20 years in Canine nutrition, alternative therapies and holistic medicine.

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