Ever been around a dog that sounds like they have a cold? I have. It happened gradually, over the course of a few weeks. It is hard to describe all of her symptoms. She just sounded like she was really congested. There was some sneezing, no coughing but I could hear her breathing. And it was hard for her. It was so bad, she would wake herself (and me) up in the middle of the night. She also started to reverse sneeze – a lot.
What is reverse sneezing? Imagine your dog hyperventilating. At first, it is scary to see. I really thought she was dying each time. I finally Googled it to figure out what was going on with her. Taking her on walks was really hard because if she pulled even slightly, the reverse sneezing would kick in.
She was rough.
Raise your hand if you use WebMD to figure out what is wrong when you are sick. Admit it. You do. And it typically tells you that you are dying. I had avoided doing that for Josie – surely it was just a cold. Maybe allergies. That happens to dogs, right? Finally, I turned to Google and started looking up congestion in dogs. The trail I followed lead to congestive heart failure. Given her age, I realized I had ignored it for too long and she needed to go to the vet to make sure she was ok. If anything, I needed a decent night sleep. And so did she.
The vet fit us in on a Thursday. He gave her a quick exam and tried to listen to her heart and lungs but couldn’t hear anything because there was so much noise. He prescribed some antibiotics and some prednisone and said to call with a status on Monday to make sure she was improving. He did look concerned, so that reassured me I wasn’t overacting. As we were leaving, he asked if she was the one who had gotten the nose bleed. I said yes, he nodded his head and said nothing more about it.
She immediately improved. She sounded better. She started sleeping through the night. And she started acting like a puppy again (that was the prednisone – steroids make pups feel great!) But she still was having a hard time breathing.
So I called them on Monday, gave them the status – even mentioned she was still having a hard time breathing. I specifically asked if the meds could just be masking what is wrong. “Nope. If she’s improved, it was just something she caught and the meds are clearing it up.” I trusted them. After all, they are the experts. Not me and my Google-foo.
By the time Josie saw the vet for the congestion, it was November 13, 2014.