Health Issues in my Chihuahuas

Good morning!  It has been way too long since I’ve created a new post here on my website.  Life gets busy!  My 8-5 job is hopping and I’ve been putting in a lot of overtime there, which leaves me with less personal time to spend on my website.

My husband and I recently took all four of our Chihuahuas in to the vet for their annual checkup.  It was time for shots and blood work and nail trims.  As you can imagine, it was a little expensive.  But you have to take care of your babies!


Two of our pups suffer from a chronic health problem.  Katy, our oldest at 13, has had a hacking cough for about six months. I took her in when it first started, and our vet, who is a wonderful doctor, suspected chronic bronchitis.  He prescribed prednisone, starting with .03mil twice a day for five days, then dropping it to once a day for another five days, then going to every other day.  He also put her on an antibiotic for a two-week period.  This seemed to help and she got a little better.  Still coughing, but not nearly as much.  However, it seemed when we got to the dosage of every other day, her coughing spells started increasing again.  So back we went to the vet.  He tried a different medication, and again, it helped while she was on it, but as soon as the meds were gone, the coughing got worse.  When we took them all in about three weeks ago, I spoke with Dr. Terry about Katy’s condition.  He is concerned that we can’t seem to get it under control.  He put her on a medication (I wish I could remember the name of it) that she gets a half a pill twice a day.  And she’s still on the every other dose of the Prednisone.  So we’re keeping up with that regimen, but I have to say, it’s not working as well as I’d like.  It hurts my heart to hear her hacking cough.  She is a little better – she had been waking up in the middle of the night with this cough and now she’s sleeping through the night at least.  That helps, because I always wake up when she’s coughing.  I have been doing some research of my own on the Internet and found a video on YouTube that demonstrated a procedure called Coupage that you can perform on dogs with bronchitis.  It involves cupping your hands and tapping them rather hard on the side of their chest.  Not too hard, not hard enough to hurt them, obviously.  But the vet that was in the video described the sound of the taps as “a horse clopping along”.  So I’ve tried that when Katy is having a coughing spell, and that has seemed to help a bit as well.  I plan to continue doing more research to see if there are other things I can do – especially holistic methods that I can do – to help her.

Our other girl, Kissy, who is eight years old, was diagnosed with a slight heart murmur.  Dr. Terry asked how she does with exercise, if she is resistant to exercise.  She is not very active and doesn’t like to go outside at all, so she doesn’t get a lot of exercise.  We actually have to pick her up to take her outside.  Once she’s outside, she seems to enjoy it, but she won’t go out the door by herself.  Dr. Terry didn’t really give us a whole lot of information about symptoms, or what we could do, if anything, for Kissy.  So again, I started my own research campaign.  I learned that for dogs diagnosed with heart murmurs, there are different stages of “loudness”.  They’re described as different grades.  A grade 1 is a very soft murmur, detected only with effort.  Grade 2 is a soft murmur heard clearly by an experienced examiner.  The list goes on to grade 6 being a very loud murmur that is still audible after the stethoscope is removed from the chest wall.  Unfortunately, our vet didn’t tell us what grade her murmur was, I need to call and get that information.  However, he didn’t seem overly concerned, so I’m hoping it’s not that bad.


The research I’ve done so far indicates that a diet low in sodium is best for dogs with heart murmurs.  So I went out and purchased some low-sodium dry dog food from Science Diet especially for Kissy. It arrived yesterday, so I put some in a bowl for breakfast this morning.  She doesn’t like dry food at all, but I could usually get her to eat some of what I buy for all the pups, which is Simply Nourish.  This morning when I tried to get her to eat the new kind, she turned up her nose at it.  She wasn’t interested at all.  So I don’t know what to do about that.  I may try mixing a teaspoon or so of wet food in with a little bit of the Science Diet kibble to see if I can get her to eat.  It worries me when she doesn’t eat breakfast.

The other thing I found that is recommended to use for dogs with heart problems is Omega 3 fish oil.  So I also purchased some of that.  The recommendation for its use is to put a small amount, dependent on your dog’s weight, on their food.  Since I do feed wet food in the evening for dinner, I will start Kissy on that tonight.  I figure I will put it on all the dog’s food, as it is supposed to help with heart health among other benefits.

I’ll keep you posted as to how these treatments are working.  I really hope I can get my girls healthy.  The two girls are the oldest dogs at 13 and 8.  Our two boys, Ike and Roscoe are both about the same age, about four years old.

Other than those two issues, they are all relatively healthy and doing well.  Kissy is a little chubby at 7.3 lbs.  She could stand to lose about a half a pound or maybe even a pound.  Roscoe weighed in at 7.9, which really surprised me.  He doesn’t look like he’s that heavy.  Ike was a very healthy 9.3, and Katy had lost a couple of ounces (she’s been on a diet to try to help with that cough) and she weighed 8.9.

Love your pets!


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Julie Harris

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