Aspiration Pneumonia

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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:48 pm

The surgery is successful without complication more than 80 percent of the time, Milovancev says.
This dog always has to be in the "special" group...

Thanks! I doubt Brina has problems with acid reflux, at least she doesn't have any typical symptoms. The main reason for her problems are liquids (water, saliva, etc.) but other than raising her bowls, I have no idea what to do, everyone so far told me there's nothing I can do to prevent it.:(
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby buckaroo » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:40 pm

You might be able to thicken her liquids a little, making it harder for her to inhale them. There are products on the market that do this. They are powders and sometimes liquids you can add to water that will simply thicken it. The more you add, the thicker the liquid will get.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Cat24 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:58 pm

http://www.thickitretail.com/Products/Thickeners.aspx

http://www.kinderproducts.ca/Drink_Thickeners.html

I've tried different drinks using some of these and the taste doesn't really change. The texture is rather nasty from my personal perspective but it was used in the nursing home I worked at for residents who had issues swallowing.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:20 pm

Oh wow, that's actually a great idea. Thank you both! I will look around the internet here to see if I can get something like this here in my country, otherwise I will have to order it from somewhere else. We can at least try it to see if it helps, we have nothing to lose. She does do better with thicker foods, not too dry, moist, but not with too much added water.

Tomorrow is the last day of her antibiotics and she's still coughing, I don't think she's in the clear, I doubt this brand of antibiotics helped, the one she took last month did a far better job at clearing the infection. I'm going back to the vet soon, I just have to decide where to take her, I need to find somebody who will actually help, not just take my money.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Shoshana » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:11 pm

I hope y'all figure it out!! I know gastric reflux can cause coughing in people too and be the only symptom. I am not sure how you would even test a dog for that tho. I hope the thickeners help!
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:46 pm

The ingredients of that Thick It stuff is basically just corn starch, you can get that here at every drug store, it's used as a thickener for sauces, puddings, soups, etc. The only difference is that you have to boil it to thicken the liquid. The Thick It product works on cold or hot drinks, it says the corn starch is modified. I think I will try our regular corn starch first to see if it works. Can a long term use be harmful in any way? The least I can expect is her yeast infections to worsen a bit, but we can manage that.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Cat24 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:08 pm

Some people have issues swallowing thickened products and can choke on them. Others dislike the taste and will refuse to drink thickened products which can cause dehydration if other liquids are unable to be swallowed.

If Brina doesn't like the taste of corn starch you can also try arrowroot, potato, or tapioca starches as well.

http://dft.ba/-thicken1 - this link has some good information on the different thicknesses of liquids and their usefulness, it's all based on humans but it might be useful.

Another option might be to make her water completely solid using unflavored gelatin with or without a meat broth.
Here's a recipe I found, apparently some people with megaesophagus dogs use it:

1 cup cold low sodium chicken or beef broth
4 packages of Knox unflavored gelatin
3 cups of boiling liquid (water or a mixture of low sodium broth and water)

Pour a cup of cold broth into a 9 x 11 or 9 x 13 baking pan.
Sprinkle 4 packages of gelatin over the top and stir
Add 3 cups of boiling liquid and stir until the gelatin is dissolved
Refrigerate until solid - approximately 3 hours
Cut the firm gelatin into blocks and store in the refrigerator
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:28 am

Thanks! We're lucky Brina is the least picky dog in the world, she will eat or drink ANYTHING you give her so I don't think we'll have any problems with this. Thickened meat and vegetable broths would work great actually, I will try that. It never even crossed my mind to thicken her liquids.

We're going back to the vet today, we'll probably have to do another blood panel to see if the infection went away (I doubt it did) and to see if she needs more antibiotics. And of course to exchange some ideas on how to manage this problem.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:29 pm

Here's a little update... We're currently on week two without antibiotics, but she's still coughing occasionally so I do expect the pneumonia to reoccur. Next time we'll get different antibiotics, I had a feeling the ones they gave us this time could barely keep the infection away. The ones we used the first time worked much better. If the pneumonia returns it will probably be because the antibiotics didn't work as good as we hoped, not because of aspiration, she didn't aspirate anything for the last two weeks, at least not that I know of. :)

The thickening of food and water works perfectly, I use corn starch to thicken all of her liquids and I supplement some of the water with thick probiotic yogurt. Brina is slowly getting used to the idea of no regular water ever, it's kinda weird for her, but that's probably because she's used to fresh water being always in a big water bowl in my room for both dogs. I had to take that away and put one smaller bowl in Jaka's crate which stays closed through the day and I just let Jaka go in for a drink a couple of times a day. Brina gets her thickened water separately, I asked the vet how much liquids does a dog need every day so I measure her liquid intake to make sure she wouldn't dehydrate. But it really works, she stopped inhaling bits of water, so thanks again for this brilliant idea! :)

I've also made changes to her diet, we've tried raw, but after a while it stopped working for her. Her digestion just never adjusted to the new diet, if she didn't have massive bouts of diarrhea, she didn't poop for a week (and no, I'm not kidding, she went from 3-4 days of no poop to a whole week). It's probably because I couldn't feed her as much bone as she'd need, I did supplement with pure bone meal, but bones are needed to help with digestion, not just for calcium. But a dog who aspirates things easily and doesn't really have much teeth left is not a dog who would be able to eat bones on a regular basis. So right now she's on a small amount of grain free kibble mixed with cooked meat and veggies (she gets some liquids from her food also). It works perfectly for her. :)

Oh and I will continue with supplements for improving the immune system, right now she's on echinacea purpurea. :)

I'm optimistic that with the changes we've made we will be able to at least prolong the time between pneumonias, if not completely prevent them over time :)

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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Shoshana » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:31 am

I'm glad she is doing so much better!!!!!!! Peanut sends happy wiggles :) I hope y'all get the right antibiotics soon.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Sagebrush » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:23 am

I hope the surgery works for your dog. Sounds like she is dealing with the main side effect...
I had a dog suspected of having LP go into respiratory distress before we could do the scoping to confirm.
It was the worst day of my life, watching a dog die like that....

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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:53 am

Thanks. The surgery went well and it made a huge difference, I'm glad we were able to do it in time. I know the feeling of watching your dog suffocating in front of you and it's the worst thing you can experience. I completely lost it that day and I'm glad I had my mom beside me who kept her cool through it and my brother who came as quick as he could so we could rush Brina to the emergency vet (ofcourse it was a saturday at 11 p.m. on a holiday). But yes, we're dealing with aspiration pneumonia now, it's not easy especially when you have a bunch of vets telling you there's nothing you can do, plus no vet here really has any experience with this problem. I've found more useful information on my own by googling the hell out of this disease and more useful advice here on this forum than I've got from vets here. But I think in time we'll be able to get this under control, at least Brina is alive and feeling good.

She did inhale her own saliva again a couple of days ago sadly, she was laying on her dog bed sleeping when all of a sudden she jumped up and started hacking and coughing. Now I'm waiting to see if this will develop into pneumonia again, I really hope it won't.
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Nickdawg » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:24 am

thinking of you and hoping no more scarey episodes :hug:
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Enigma » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:54 am

Thanks, right now I'm still waiting to see if pneumonia will develop. She's coughing again so I think it's only a matter of days. I went to the vet yesterday to buy antibiotics so I will be prepared if it does develop, luckily I found a vet who is willing to give me antibiotics without me bringing Brina in for a check up. Oh and she's on some new supplements to help her immune system and we'll see if it will help. :)
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Re: Aspiration Pneumonia

Postby Nickdawg » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:57 pm

glad you found a helpful vet! best to you two!
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