Or in more simple terms, an enlarged heart.
A few days last week Cincy was coughing a bit, and even though she was trying to make herself sick, she would never empty her stomach, but just cough up flem. So we called the vet and they wanted to see her.
After listening to her heart and lungs, the vet didn't hear anything, but wanted to do an X-ray to be sure everything was okay. Lucky he did! The heart is suppose to take up an area, roughly 3 rib widths apart, whereas Cincy's is about 3 3/4. Her heart is also sitting lower then normal, so it is putting some pressue on the diaphram.
The good news is we caught it early. Reading online, dogs often aren't diagnosed with DCM until they expereince symptoms of heart failure, making the prognosis realtively grim. Cincy situation is better and that is what I keep telling myself.
What happens with DCM, is that the heart walls thin out and the heart expands. As the chambers stretch, the valves can no longer completely close, and the dog develops a heart murmer. As the blood is pushed less and less effectively through the body, they develop pulmonary edema, and other issues.
Since the vert did not hear anything in her heart (no murmur), and her lungs are mostly clear, it seems we caught this very early. What happens now depends mostly on Cincy's reaction to medication.
She is now on two drugs, a diuretic to help her body remove excess fluids, and and ACE-inhibitor, which will help her blood flow better. At the this point, the vet feels there is no need to limit her activity. She will go back to the vet in a month to see how she is reacting, and if the size of her heart has decreased. At this time, he will mostly likely start her on a third medicine (which I did not write down the name of). Our vet has been using this course of treatment for about 4 years now (although the third drug was just recently approved by the FDA, God love Canada!), with good success.
So, for now we are parying and waiting. Of course, Cincy hasn't changed a bit. She is her usual, active, tennis ball chasing self. She had a blast playing in the snow today, and all three dogs, helped me walk the Chrismas Cards to the mailbox yesterday. As with every health challenge she has faced in her 6 short years, she is the postive carefree puppy she has always been!
Please keep our baby girl in your prayers.