Cougestive Heart Failure Terrier Mix Schmoopie 12 years old

Dear Dr. Yoza,

Schmoopie, our baby from the Humane Society, who is a mixed terrier, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on August 2008.  Because both valves on the left side of her heart were not functioning normally, she began a process of deterioration; we tried as much as possible to keep her comfortable, happy and give her the best quality of life that we could.  As a member of our extended family, popular character in the neighborhood, mascot of a local bank and licensed therapy dog, she brought joy to a great number of adults and children.

Through the following months, Schmoopie’s lungs and body continued to fill with fluid and we gradually increased her Salix (diuretic) from a pill 3X a day to the maximum her weight can tolerate which is 3 pills 3X a day. Each gradual increase stopped her coughing and eliminated the fluid build up until her body would get used to each level of increase. Schmoopie also took Enalipril to widen the heart arteries and when that didn’t seem to work any more, we changed that medication to Benazepril. Finally, Schmoopie also takes Pimobenden to help her heart function.
Simultaneously, we also began making Schmoopie’s food special for her because she needed to be on a salt free, low fat diet and it was impossible to find exactly what she needed. In consultation with her vet, we tailored her diet specifically for all of her health needs and making alterations as her health changed. Basically, we give her organic skinless, boneless chicken breast, rice, vegetables, and specific vitamins and supplements. Recently, we began giving her a daily dose of mashed banana and honey for breakfast because her glucose is low and she needs the potassium.
We have had a few moments when we thought and our vets also thought that Schmoopie was going to leave us, but somehow she always bounced back. However, each successive moment was worse than the previous one so that we always thought this moment would be the last. Schmoopiegrew weaker and weaker in between plateaus over the months.

Finally, on January 8, 2010, Schmoopie was running , collapsed, could not get up or breathe and. She struggled to get up but couldn’t. I carried her home and we rushed her to the vet. He said she wouldn’t make it, but both of our vets worked on her for a couple of hours till we could bring her home. That night she got worse, couldn’t breathe, and the vet suggested taking her to VCA Hospital. Schmoopie was placed in an oxygen tank for 24 hours and then they let us take her home saying that her prognosis was poor. We wouldn’t give up on her and decided to build our own oxygen tent. My husband found a medical supply company that was willing to rent oxygen equipment to Schmoopie. Our neighbor, a chemistry professor, made sure the oxygen and carbon dioxide circulation was correct and one of our vets came over to check the set up to make sure everything was perfect forSchmoopie.
For awhile, Schmoopie was doing fine. Every time she couldn’t breathe, she would go into her tent which was an indication for us to turn on the oxygen. Finally, it got to the point where Schmoopie was in the tent all day and all evening. One night at 10:30, she began having a really rough time breathing in the tent and this lasted for an hour. We began to worry because we had tried everything and felt that there was nothing left to do. We felt helpless and Schmoopie was suffering.

At that point, some friends told us about you Dr. Yoza, and we made an appointment.
Many positive things happened to Schmoopie since you began working on her. Three days after her first treatment, she did not go into the tent at all! She felt so good that she picked up her big rawhide bone that night and ran around the house with it in her mouth with her head held high. After running around back and forth for a few minutes, she hid the bone and guarded it. This was her nightly ritual for many, many years until November of last year when she became very weak. Nothing could have made us happier than to see Schmoopie “alive.”
Three days after the second treatment, for the first time in months, Schmoopie slept through the night without having to go out several times to urinate or being incontinent while sleeping. So far, Schmoopie has remained out of the oxygen tent, plays with her bone several times and sleeps through most nights. Everyone in the neighborhood notices that she has energy and looks great. The change is so remarkable and noticeable by everyone.
It seems like a miracle! Thank you very much.

Renee F.  May 6, 2010