Puppy's Neck and Throat Pulsating like a Heartbeat
We got our 6 week old Lab puppy a week ago, her name is Lily. We took her because she was the runt of the litter, malnutritioned, and obviously sick. We hoped we could help her. She made lots of gurgling noises when breathing, and her throat pulsated in and out like a heartbeat with every breath she took.
When she nursed from her mom, she spit up the milk every time. Now that we have her, we are giving her Hartz puppy milk, mixed with wet canned puppy food to make it a mushy mixture. She does really good at keeping this mixture down but still hacks and gags regularly. Her belly is extremely bloated, and makes popping noises on occasion. She can't drink water because she spits it up every time.
Our first vet had no idea and had never seen anything like her in all his years. He couldn't help us. Our second vet took 2 x-rays of her lungs and her throat, one with dye. The x-rays showed that her right lung was full of food and bacteria, and the dye went straight to her lung instead of her stomach. Her stomach was completely empty. The vet couldn't see what was going on with her throat but said it has something to do with her trachea/esophagus. She has aspiration pneumonia. Vet says she must be put down, but we are still searching for a remedy.
Permanent gastrotomy isn't affordable for us. The vet said it wasn't megaesophagus. Her stomach is full of air/gas which is why her belly is so big. Please help us! What could be the problem in her throat? We don't want to lose our little girl!
I am SO sorry to hear about what your little puppy (and your family) is going through. It certainly sounds as though she has some serious problems and that's probably why she is so tiny and frail.
I'm afraid I'm not a veterinarian and there's really no way I can give you help or advice that can match that of a vet, I wish I could.
However, it definitely sounds as though there's something seriously wrong with her esophagus, perhaps her soft palate is part of the issue too. I'm assuming your vet checked that she doesn't have a cleft palate? That is fairly common and causes a pup to spit-up, aspirate food, choke etc. etc. Do make sure this has been checked out because unless it's extremely severe it can be remedied by surgery most times.
From the result of the X-rays though it sounds as though there's a critical problem with her airway/food passage, some type of deformity, whether or not it's correctable I have no idea. I would assume so, but as you mention it could mean some expensive surgery.
The 'pulsing' you feel in her neck could indicate some kind of heart defect, but again only a veterinarian can make a diagnosis as he/she has all the tools at hand to figure out what's going on.
This little one has survived for 6 weeks without special help in spite of obviously severe problems so she is a fighter and if I were you I wouldn't agree to having her euthanized until you've checked out all the options available, and come to the conclusion that there is no way to help her.
I'd probably take her to a veterinarian who specializes in this sort of problem (your regular vet should be able to give you some contact information for that). You need professional advice from someone who DOES know what's wrong. Sometimes you can work out a payment plan of some sort with a veterinary office so that a surgery or treatment that is very expensive becomes manageable. I'd definitely make inquiries about that if I were in your shoes.
I wish I could help more but this is something that only hands-on, professional help can deal with. It may be that the problem can be corrected, and if it can then she deserves a chance. If it can't though, then it would be kinder to euthanize her as if she can't get food into her tummy she can't grow and develop, plus if it ends up in her lungs, constant rounds of pneumonia will eventually kill her most likely. And she won't have the quality of life you would want for her, even if it's short.
BUT, as I said, she deserves a chance and is a fighter. If her issues were deadly, it's unlikely she could have survived this long without help, so maybe there is hope for her.
I wish you all the very best of luck and pray that there is a way to help her. All you can do is do your best and then make a decision based on what the veterinary professionals suggest. Do follow up all options as much as you can.