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Congestive Heart Failure... Need Advice

piggygal

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Hey all,

I am new to this forum but this seemed like a good place to join.

My 3.7 yo male skinny Truffle is sadly in heart failure I believe. He was diagnosed with an enlarged heart a year ago and has been on Pimodenan twice a day for the past year. Periods of wheezing and hooting would present themselves, but he’d always bounce back. The past 2 weeks I’ve noticed his breathing looking laboured near his abdomen but he was still very much himself. Three days ago he started to go downhill however. He no longer purrs when someone enters the room, doesn’t seem to be drinking much, very lethargic and his poops have become very small, soft, green, and sometimes stringy (although I haven’t noticed the stringiness in the past day, and his poops seem to be more formed than before). He also doesn’t seem to be retaining as much body heat and has lost a significant amount of weight.

Three days ago we brought him to the vet and the doctor suggested for him to be euthanized that night. We couldn’t do it, and I believe we made the right decision because he has been holding his own. She said that she could hear lots of crackling in his lungs upon listening with the stethoscope and his sides/abdomen were squishy indicating fluid. She gave him a “one time injection” or furosemide to relieve the fluid retention. He still eats like a pig (ha, ha) and perks up when presented with food. But he is squinting his eyes (no discharge however), and facing the wall of his cage in a hunched position (both abnormal for him). His breathing is very laboured. I do note frequent grinding of the teeth, which I know can be an indicator of pain. He is no longer vocal; he used to be a purring machine.

With all of this, the compassion in me wants to make his passing comfortable and bring him to the vet to be put down. But he comes to life when he’s around food - his eyes widen and he eats everything, although his pace of eating has slowed down and he takes little breaks between chews (abnormal for him). He just wants to be cuddled all of the time and is sleeping a lot.

How do I know when is the right time? The doctor said the prognosis isn’t good, and as mentioned earlier she suggests for him to be put to sleep. This is so hard to come to terms with when I look at him eating food and he looks “normal” (minus body weight and breathing). I don’t want to hang on to him knowing that he is possibly suffering.

What do you all recommend? I am mentally prepared to bring him down to the vet today.... I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it through the night.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
 

Claire W

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I'm so sorry that you're going through this :(

I've had to make the heart breaking decision to help piggies of my own pass in the past. I truly believe that the piggy lets you know when they have had enough. I also usually go with the moto that it's best to let them go a day too early rather than a day too late to prevent any suffering.

if a pig is suffering and no longer living and enjoying their life as a guinea pig should, that in my view is the time to let them go.

(((hugs))) xx
 

Tiamolly123

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Did the vet give you any painkillers?
Do you absolutely trust your vet?
Ask the vet whether this is taking its toll on his body, is it wearing him down.
Then I would discuss it with the vet whether this is just buying time.
At the end of the day you love Truffle, but if you love him. You must make a decision for him.
Don't hold on,because you to want to keep him alive, a good piggy slave with let him go, before it gets worse.
You have a hard decision, in your heart you will make the right one.
My thoughts are with you.
 

piggygal

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Thank you both for the replies! I currently have him out on their floor time blanket with his cagemate. He’s not popcorning or being foolish as he normally would be, but he is engaging with chew toys and his cagemate. They’re playing follow the leader for the most part, and enjoying their floortime. Truffle is eating his snacks and exploring around. Still not vocal (he’s typically chirping away during floortime) but he seems to be enjoying himself for the most part! He does not seem stressed, although at this moment he is taking a little break and just sitting. Breathing is the same. I managed to syringe feed him some water earlier which has helped a bit I think.

When I see him like this, it’s hard to make the decision.

The vet didn’t give him any painkillers because she does not believe he is in pain. But when we have him up he is grinding his teeth. It must be such a struggle on his respiratory system. This was the first time I had met with this vet, but it just so happened that we went to high school with one another, although we weren’t friends. She empathized with me immediately and wished we weren’t meeting on these terms (it’s been over 10 years).

Perhaps we will bring him down some time today and get the vets opinion again. Although I know she will recommend him to be euthanized.

Thanks again for your replies and compassion. Even just speaking about it with piggyparents who get it, really helps a lot. I appreciate you.
 

VickiA

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I’m so sorry. Only you can make that decision. I am of the school of thought that it’s better to make it a little too early than leave it a little too late. You have to decide on the quality of life and whether you believe he’s suffering. Such a tough decision.
 

piggygal

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Thank you for all of your replies. I decided to finally let him go tonight. I agree that it’s better to let him go a little too early than a little too late. He enjoyed some of his favourite food before we brought him down to the veterinary clinic. I initially felt guilty playing “God” but I keep reminding myself that this was the kindest thing I could do for him at this point. He wasn’t going to get any better.

We brought him home to help his cagemate process the loss. This forum helped me in what to expect. We are now bringing him back to the clinic to see him off for the last time.

Thank you all again for the support you’ve given. It truly means a lot to me. You are all so kind. xo
 

Livia Rabideau

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I am sorry for your loss! You are a very brave and caring owner! You have done everything you can! Hugs to you! RIP Truffle.
 

Merab's Slave

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So sorry for your loss.
It's always a hard decision to make for a pet we love.
Please feel free to post a tribute to him on the Rainbow Bridge Thread.
Be gentle with yourself as you grieve.
 

helen105281

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Sorry that I missed that I had been tagged too, I didn't get a notification. I completely agree with better a day too early, we did the same recently for our Tim. Sleep tight Truffle.
 

Melly78

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Hugs, you did your best and the right thing by him, it's always heart wrenching. Give your other piggy lots of attention as it'll give them and you comfort.

Be kind to yourself X
 
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