Date: 2005-09-28 00:55:39 UTC
Subject: digoxin and cardiomyopathy
My ferret Calvin's heart disease has been diagnosed by ultrasound which revealed left side enlargement and valvular disease as well as myocardial disease. He is currently on the max doses of lasix and enalapril, which has improved his heart rate a bit (up to 210 from 180) but his resp. rate continues to rise and he has a bad coughing episode about once a day.
My vet has seen many ferrets but admits he has never put one on digoxin before. However, he gave a script (which I have filled) and suggested I use my best judgement as to when to start using it.
Here's my big concern: Calvin gets very upset by car trips. I know if we start the digoxin he will need regular serum monitoring, which means going in the car. Last week when we went to check his potassium and kidney values I used Rescue Remedy and brought his cagemate along but the drive home was really bad--at one point he was open mouth breathing...
My vet sees digoxin as a last resort and I got the impression I should wait as long as possible before starting it. But from searching and reading the FHL archives I've gotten a totally different impression!
My question is how frequently should we do bloodwork to monitor Calvin's levels once I start giving the digoxin, and should I wait till his coughing and resp rate worsens or start ASAP?
Skyla and Calvin