SUMMARY: Things are a bit better.
We checked in with the vet this morning.
Have I mentioned lately that Tika hates going to the vet? From the moment when I open the car door to see her quivering, to the moment when she races to the car afterwards and does NOT want to take a little potty walk thank you very much, she hates being at the vet.
So she gets tranks, one pill an hour before we go. We tried a new one this time that isn't supposed to be as potentially disruptive to her heart. It worked better.
First, the de rigueur sniffing everything at a hyperspeed rate. But this time, not so much whining as usual and took more time sniffing instead of immediately racing into--
--the pacing around and around. This time, not so frantic, and when I'd get my hand on her, she'd actually stop to be stroked (not the usual reaction at all).
Then, obsessively checking whether the door will open over and over. This time, no throwing herself at the door and screaming. (And the tranquilizer we'd been using mitigated that behavior some but didn't eliminate it.) So this is also good.
Also, with the other trank, she'd be dopey and tripping over her own feet for a couple of hours afterwards (even at a lower dose). This time, she's pretty normal.
Her heart rate is back to around 130/140, which is often where it has been in the recent past, but her pulse is still mismatched, about 90, which means that the heart is still pumping too fast for it to be efficient in its weakened state. But that's much better than over 200 with a low pulse. So the digoxin seems to be helping.
She's still been coughing more than I'd like (especially the half dozen, sometimes more, sometimes fewer, times during the night that wake me up, thanks a ton), but there's still no evidence of an infection or fluid build-up (although we didn't repeat the x-ray this time), but yes a bit of congestion. Sounds a lot like me when my allergies or asthma flare up a bit. Tried Tussin DX for a couple of days but (a) she HATES it, shakes her head wildly after I squirt it into her cheek flap, so have to give it to her outside to avoid having a house decorated with cherry-red spatter, and (b) not sure it was helping anyway. So will be adding yet another pill to her regimen to try to alleviate some of her coughing.
A little concerned about how little interested she's been showing in her regular food. Hand feeding the uneaten parts sometimes works, waiting 30 or 90 minutes and trying again sometimes works, but not always. She's not missed that much food, probably less than a cup total over the last couple of weeks, but her weight is down a couple of pounds. (Vet says that this is typical for many kinds of chronic illness, and also that the digoxin, started 3 weeks ago, is notorious for making dogs into picky eaters.)
She still takes treats, canned dogfood, and other snacks with the old gusto. I've ordered a bag of the food that she got at the housesitter's house (Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine Formula with Smoked Salmon), which she apparently was willing to eat when she wouldn't eat her regular food over there. We'll see whether that helps--would have to really start monitoring her weight to see how much of that she needs daily.
So, as much as she hates going to the vet, her Human Mom is happy to have more information and reassurances and possible treatments and all.