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The background

My 9 year old cavvie with congestive heart failure was just put on furosemide after a bit of a scare where his chest and abdomen had quite a lot of fluid built up (approximately 20 fl. oz. / 1.2 liters). He's back to his svelte self and he's very bouncy, chipper and affectionate. It's like the dial has been turned back - a lot of the things I had chalked up to him being an older dog is more rightly attributed to the buildup. If it wasn't for his heart condition, he'd be in perfect health.

So now it's alleviated, and he's been on pimobendan and enalipril with hydrocodone for his cough when it gets bad for about 2 years. He's been on furosemide for a little under a week at 50mg twice a day. My dog is ~25 lbs (around 11 kg).

The issue

His elimination schedule is intense and frequent. I go home from work for lunch every day to check on him, so the impact to my schedule is minimal. He's had an accident on the couch every day so far. I don't mind cleaning it up (it's a pretty old, grody couch anyway), but it looks like it happens in his sleep. There's a big, soaked patch where he had the accident, and then a less wet patch where he lay down and it transferred from his fur to the fabric.

He seems to be making it from 1:00 to 4:30 PM without any problems.

When my partner and I are home, it's no problem. He generally positions himself so he can peek at us from over/around furniture with his big eyes like O_O to get our attention so we can take him out. He has no accidents when we're awake.

He's had an accident overnight most nights as well.

What we've tried

My first gambit was to ask the vet if we could reduce the dosage. He wasn't keen on the idea since the fluid buildup was so severe.

I've tried playing with the dosage timing so that his most urgent need to eliminate is when we're home or before we leave. This has had mixed success. 8am 8pm hasn't really worked. Will try 6 AM and 6 PM tomorrow to see if that leaves us with anything drier.

What's on the way

I've ordered some doggie grass, so that we can train him to use it to use during the day when we're not home and during the night.

The questions

Do dogs "get used" to being on furosemide? Does the urination urgency decrease as they acclimate themselves to the drug? Does dosage timing make a difference? Do you have any suggestions that we can try?

Thanks in advance.

  • I had a cat on lasix and we never noticed a problem with urinary urgency (so I can't answer your question), but I will note that the volume of urine did not decrease over time as he became acclimated to the drug, so I suspect the answer is no. – Zaralynda Dec 14 '17 at 17:52
  • Our Wylie has CHF, and needs to be let out to urinate 45 minutes after he takes his furosemide (Lasix); used to be he could make it to 1 hour. But yes, otherwise its the pee in his sleep thing (always on our bed, sigh) so its the complete bed linen wash from blankets to mattress pads. – Dani Dec 19 '18 at 19:01
  • I bought doggie diapers for night spills. Works like a charm – Linda Jan 20 '19 at 13:49
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In case anyone else has similar questions, here the answers based on my experience with my dog.

Do dogs "get used" to being on furosemide?

Yes. Explained below.

Does the urination urgency decrease as they acclimate themselves to the drug?

Yes, over time, my dog seems to have learned how to hold it better during the 3-4 hour blocks that he is home alone. Urinary urgency seems to be highest approximately 2-3 hours after each dose. The remaining 6-10 hours after the first urination pass without urgency, requiring at most 2 more trips outside.

Does dosage timing make a difference?

Yes. We dose him at 8am and 6pm. He makes it to lunch time without incident, and sleeps through the night without any accidents.

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My Cavie is 10-1/2 and he's been on 30mg of furosemide twice a day for almost a year. I have a dog door so he goes outside whenever he needs too. However, when he's sleeping, I'm also finding big soaked areas where he's had accidents or dribbles when he's attempted to make it outside. He's 26lbs. I have also thought about reducing the dosage. He's also on a 1/2 tablet of Temaril P twice/day for cough.

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