Sent! hope she's alright!
This is the first time I have posted a request like this, but I (and she) can use all the help we can get. My dog "Stitches" of 9 years (turns 10 in September) is having a bit of a rough patch right now.
Tomorrow morning Stitches is scheduled to have a EKG and Sonogram. After 2 separate scares, and X-rays, she was found to have an enlarged heart. She has begun medication 2 weeks ago to help control and this may change or remain the same depending on the results.
One thing her vet mentioned is that this usually hits and advances fast, sometimes giving them 6 months - 1 year. Tomorrow will help provide a better picture of how far along it is. Depending on what the results are, her vet mentioned that it's not how many more years she will live but instead making that time more comfortable for her.
Stitches dislikes going to the vet as it is, she gets scared and stressed. I hate having to put her through that tomorrow, going to a different clinic, further away, for the imagining. When I was younger one of my dogs died too early because of a tumor. I wasn't in a position to do anything to prevent or help treat him because of my age and had no control. I still feel almost completely helpless and just want to do what I can for her now that I am able to.
I can remember the day she came home as if it was yesterday. She was at the rescue shelter, the runt of her litter that no one else wanted when all others were given away. She was about to be put to sleep the following day when she came home with me.
Stitches is family, and a great friend (as man's best friend). I know I will have to say goodbye to her eventually... I only hope that is still some years away. While it will be about 2-3 days before I receive the results, I pray and hope that tomorrow will bring positive news.
Sent! hope she's alright!
My Prays will be with your family member Stitches, your family and yourself, I pray you get positive news tomorrow. Everything is going to be fine bud, no worries hang in there.
Positive thoughts from the Pleasant Valley....
I will put You and Stiches in my prayers tonight before i go to sleep. I pray you have peace no matter what the turn out is.
Thank you for the thoughts guys, I really appreciate them.
It was such a draining day. I would like to think the worst is behind her but at this point we still don't know. The scans show that Stitches has either Second Degree or Third Degree Heart Block. With how stressed and scared she was that morning, Stitches' heart should have been racing. The doctor stated she should have been about double beats per minute when she was only at about 70. During 1 of 2 EKG scans he injected her with atropine (I believe) to increase her heart-rate, but she did not respond to it. Her heart is being sent signals to beat but is not responding properly. She has a slow and irregular heartbeat.
The results were forwarded to her normal vet and to a cardiologist yesterday. We are awaiting final word from the cardiologist as to the degree of heart block she has but she started treatment (oral medication) for Second Degree Heart Block yesterday evening. Monthly rechecks are required, as well as further EKGs. I have to take her for a followup with her normal vet in about a week to see if there is any improvement with her heartbeat.
If it is Second Degree, treatment and control can be possible through oral medications, but not all pets may respond to it. If there is no positive response to medication, or if it is Third Degree, the only other possible treatment would be insertion of a pacemaker.
We should find out either tomorrow or Monday the outcome of the results from the cardiologist. The vet that completed the scans on Wednesday mentioned that should a pacemaker be required, the closest facility that would be able to do this on an animal is 4 hours away in Albuquerque, NM. That would be a bad drive for Stitches. Not to mention that 2 follow up visits (@1 and 3 months) would be required for final adjustments, and an EKG every 3 months. However, after speaking with Stitches' vet yesterday, he mentioned to me there is a specialist that comes in to town a few times each month. He may be able to do the procedure, but information and price is pending at this moment.
If a pacemaker were required, I have no issues with payment. She's my baby and I would do anything for her. But the question then becomes, do I subject her through that stress and pain. I don't know what the recovery period would be (I briefly checked online and I think I read a couple of headings stating that recovery is slow, and fast). On the other hand, the pamphlet I received from the doctor stated that animals can go on to lead a normal life (other than the EKG follow-ups) and years of additional life with a pacemaker. I do have many other questions and concerns, but have not voiced them with her vet yet. I'm trying to minimize my anxiety until I know for sure which path she must travel on.
Thank you Liquidm1980 and RevDevil.
I received some bad news today and things are not looking good. Stitches' vet called me this afternoon. After speaking with the cardiologist they both felt that she had Second Degree Heart Block. At first I was a bit relieved. From what I had been told initially, Stitches would be on medication to treat this. Of course we would have to see how she responded to it, but if it worked she would not need a pacemaker. Not so.
Because Stitches' heart rate did not increase with the atropine, in all likelihood her heart will not respond with the medication she is currently on. The cardiologist stated that she would require a pacemaker to live out the rest of her life healthy (and provide a longer life). The news did not stop there. The specialist that her vet was hoping could do the procedure locally does not. Stitches' vet told me the only two places currently doing this procedure are in Tucson, AZ and at Texas A&M, and much more than I can afford right now, especially considering follow up visits need to be made to finalize calibration of the pacemaker.
Stitches has a follow up visit next week Monday. Her vet wants to listen to her heartbeat to see if there has been any, even a slight, improvement with the medication. While it is an ever so small and slim chance, there is still a chance. And chance is still hope. While it may not come, I cannot stop hoping and I am hoping for a miracle.
I'll be hoping right along with you, and thinking wellness for Stitches....
Sending smoke up for Stitches from the Boreal forest.
Good thoughts sent your way.
Mischief, mayhem and merriment!!!!
BA= BethAnn. Bill/Pete took the "e" and made a great dinner with it.
It seems so long ago that I started this thread. Almost a year. Stitches is still with me and up until yesterday she has been living a relatively normal life. Late last night she took a turn for the worse. I just got back from the animal hospital but due to the severity of her condition there isn't much that can be done barring a miracle.
I need to look at the reciept they gave me (left it in my car) but she had something along the lines of mini heart attacks. It was ugly as hell to see her tense up, slide to the floor and cry out in pain. We had some thunder today and they said the stress of it could have brought this on...or it could have been coming on its own. It could be a long while until she has another episode or it could be a common occurance. I feel so lost and helpless right now. I don't know what to do but I do know I don't want her to suffer. I am going to take her in to her vet and talk things over....
I guess I just needed to vent. Stitches could really use some smoke and prayers.
To you and Stitches, we wish upon you both all the hope and strength you both need to see you through. Good luck to both.
Thank you taldesta, that means a lot.
Continued positives for you and Stitches....
I wish you and stitches the best...my hat goes off to you for doing so much for a member of your family.
My baby is at rest now. I wanted to do what was best for her in her situation, so I said goodbye.
She experienced a small episode on Wednesday, fine (seemingly) on Thursday, and ill (vomiting) on Friday. After monitoring her yesterday and all night with medication her Dr. had given her, I noted her responses and behaviors and heart rate per minute. Medication given was supposed to help with the vomiting, turns out that was caused by her condition and not a virus after a blood test to check her white blood cell count and whatever else is looked at. When speaking with him yesterday I asked him if he felt the time might be near and to start to prepare myself for when the time came...though, he still felt it wouldn't be this quick. At home she was very lethargic during the day and very restless at night. Every so often I noted her heart rate and condition. Her heart rate, lower that it should be due to her 3rd degree heart block, was going from what was her "normal" 60 beats per minute down to 48. In the morning she ate briefly, including medication. In the evening she would not touch her food...no on her dog food, no on her milkbone, no on a slice of turkey breast ham, no on cheese. She did drink water occasionally but not as often as she had been since being put on her anti-seizure medication. At no time was she in pain, she was just more tired, more not herself, and very restless last night.
This morning I was shocked when her heart rate had dropped even lower, fluctuating between 24-36 beats a minute. I was supposed to go pick up some pills to further prevent vomiting but asked if I could speak with her doctor to let him how her condition had changed. He feared that a violent end for her could be on the way (didn't feel she would make the weekend or even today) and said it was time. So I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do (this is the very first time I have had to take a dog/pet in)...but I came home, took her out to her backyard one last time and made the return trip. I held her the entire time and was in front of her so she could see a familiar face and hear my voice. I told her I loved her one last time, whether that sounds stupid or not I do not know, and whether she understood it I don't know. I would like to think so. But she is now at peace.
I want to thank everyone who reached out in this thread. I truly appreciate all of the smoke, thoughts, prayers, and wishes that have been given. Thank you.
Last edited by moshow9; 08-10-2013 at 03:07 PM.
Some time has passed, I hope the loss is less deeply hurtful, not that the loss is any less to you. We are buoyed by the devotion of our pets ... forever. taldesta
Very sorry for your loss. She was a beauty. The hardest thing about having a pet as a family member is that their lifespans are short. We also have to make all the decisions for them at these critical times and all we can do is do the best we can and make sure that they don't suffer. Look back fondly on her life and know that you gave her a good life.
There is a quote that you see at a lot of shelters that says "Saving a rescue dog might not change the world, but the world will surely be changed for the dog that you save" You did that.
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