We've been to the vet twice since Koo's initial diagnosis for follow up appointments. I'm happy to say that the medicine is working wonders for her. On the xrays we had taken Friday, her heart and lungs were clear. It was much easier to see her organs on the xray than it had been previously.
Side note, I find it both amazing and cool that I've seen inside my dog. I know not everyone would, but I find this stuff fascinating.
I had strongly suspected that the medicine was working because of how Koo was acting. It's strange - when a dog gets to a certain age, you (or at least I) write off things as "getting old". Oh, she's laying around all the time and has kinda lost interest in her toys. Must be she's getting old.
It's the little things. When she lays on the bed, if you walk by, she'll immediately sit up and watch you. She's more bossy about her food. More eager to ask us to go outside. Wants to wander the yard. More playful. Extremely cuddly. Sleeping through the night like a boss. Giving me kisses. Chasing Aeris around.
When things don't degrade overnight, you can see why losing these things can look like old age. Getting them back has been a pleasant surprise. I love seeing her so happy and content.
So the vet thinks that, based on her rapid improvement, and how her xrays looked on Friday, that we caught her heart failure early on. This is great news, because that means medicine has a good shot at being effective for her. The longer we can keep her symptoms at bay, the happier she will be, and the longer she'll live.
She's on lasix to keep fluid off of her heart and lungs, as well as an ace inhibitor to help thin out the blood, so her heart doesn't have to work as hard. We've also added Vetmedin, which dialates the arteries, also making the heart's job easier. Vetmedin came on the market in the US less than ten years ago, which makes it a relatively new treatment. But the trio of medicine has quickly become the "standard" in heart treatment. I've read cases where dogs have lived 4 years after diagnosis with this combination. Based on Koo's age and breed life expectancy (12-15 years) I don't expect we'll see that kind of result. If we get a year and a half to two years on this course of treatment, I will consider it a roaring success.
Overall, I just want Koo to be happy and comfortable for as long as possible. I'll do what I can to keep her that way. While I'm cautiously optimistic that we may yet have some time with her, I do recognize that every day is a gift. I'll do the best I can to take advantage of this time, whether we get one more day, or 730.