April 3, 2012

my pup's heart is broken and so is mine

Patriot, my beloved harlequin pup
at 9 mo (March 2012)

She was spayed just over a week ago and started having some respiratory issues afterwards. 
She also had swelling at her incision site that was ballooning out.
After coughing and vomiting all night Saturday we called the vet Sunday morning.
He suggested that it could be kennel cough and told us how to help her until she could be seen on Monday. The treatments seemed to help stop the vomiting and her cough was only when active.

Yesterday morning I took her into the expecting a quick visit to pick up antibiotics and cough med. My normally gentle obedient girl went nuts refusing to get weighed then snapped at the vet tech and me as her temp was taken. They muzzled her at my insistence and the vet came in.

He checked her incision and said it was just a fluid pocket from pulling the incision during too much play after surgery. He could drain it with a needle but if it comes back he'll insert a drain tube til it heals. He then spend what seemed like forever listening to her chest. The vet announced she has a severe heart arrhythmia and needed an EKG right then. I was ushered to the waiting room and she was taken back for tests. I texted Hubs and let him know and went to the bathroom to cry. Some time later the vet came out with her EKG strip and meds.

He said it is congestive heart failure with VPC- ventricular premature complexes and a missed heartbeat every 3 beats or so. He has never treated a case like this. She was born this way and most likely the stress of being spayed and/or meds used during the spay over stressed her heart and made it noticeable. He said its bad and most likely fatal. It explains why she is not that active and is almost 3-4 inches shorter plus 10 lbs lighter than her sister. He is consulting a canine cardiologist and researching this week and will call me with final recommendations soon.

We have some very tough decisions to make.
We don't want her to suffer or live a life of being mostly in her crate to keep her heart calmer.
He is treating for kennel cough to be safe
and we are keeping her resting as much as one can keep a puppy still. 

Our hearts are broken.


  1. I am so sorry to hear this. Please keep us posted at Merle Great Danes so we can all be there for you. Maybe someone also went through this and has some guidance. Big hugs to you and yours. Camelle (Merle Great Danes)

  2. I'm so very sorry to read this. My heart goes out to you. Sending prayers and Dane hugs!

  3. I'm so very sorry to read this. My heart goes out to you. Sending prayers and Dane hugs!

  4. As the mommy of two 6 year old Danes who are litter mates and best friends, my heart is heavy for you. Oakley and Bella both had kennel cough at the same time when they were just 9 months old as well. It was horrifying, Oakley was so dehydrated from coughing up bile and throwing up, we thought we were going to lose him. Our ER vet took such great care of them, she was a Dane mommy as well. After a couple of days at the vets office and about $1800 later, we brought them home. I am so thankful they got better quickly. I pray over my dogs every day and I leave their health in God's hands. I spoil them, I take care of them and make sure they have their special food and meds and the rest is up to the big man upstairs. My husband and I don't have kids.....we have fur babies. I will pray for your precious baby and just know that whatever decision you make is the right one for her. I pray the drs find a way that she can have a full life. Hugs and love to you from Southeast Texas!

  5. Saw this through a post on facebook. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  6. I'm truly sorry you are going through this. I can honestly tell you that I would not waaste my time waitng for answers. Contact a Cardio DR ASAP. Get a copy of your record and have it faxed with the testing to the Cardio Dr you choose. I do not know where you live, but here in Chicago, we have a great Speciality Center who has several Cardio Drs. I wish you well. Please keep us updated, she can still live a good life with CHF, she just will have to slow down more than the others.

  7. thanks everyone! it is quite a shock to go from my pup has a cold to my pup has a fatal heart condition :(

    the vet said her heart is in no kind of rhythm when she is upset. the EKG went --- peak- messy jagged lines beneath - peak- messy jagged lines- peak- missed beat. no lub dub lub dub like it should

    she can't walk from one end of the house to the other without gasping/coughing even on meds. she can't play with her sister or do fetch anymore. had to hide the leashes because they excite her too much

    we lost our first dane 13 yrs ago this month to liver/kidney failure. we had to choose to put her down because she was so miserable

  8. As an owner of 3 danes my heart goes out to you, after all they are our babies.I will send prayers and light to your girl. You may want to get a second opinion with another vet. I know the expense can be alot. You may want to post on craigslist and facebook for donations and they can call you vet to verify and donate or you can set up a paypal account and folks can donate there as well. I know its hard but you will make the right decision. God bless

  9. We see a vet group so her results have been reviewed by all the (just over a dozen)vets in practice. Sadly from googling VPC because this is in the ventrical and not the atrium there isn't much we can do but keep her calm and comfy.

    Right now our plan is to--
    wait to hear from the vet and cardiologist
    low sodium diet
    keep her calm and rested
    finish her meds for kennel cough... just in case
    see vet next week if cough isn't improved for a chest x-ray to check fluid build up of lungs/heart
    watch incision site for more swelling and get drain tube if needed
    check with vet to see if Justice has the same heart condition

    We will all we can to keep her with us as long as she is in no pain or discomfort and her quality of life is good. If the vet says there is a way to fight this we will make a donation fund for her payable to the vet's office only for her continued care Thanks for that idea :)

    It is hard to watch her failing so fast. Before her spay we never would have guessed she had a heart condition. She has seen the vet almost monthly since we bought her without any signs. I'm trying hard to not blame myself for having her spayed. I knew something was wrong when I brought her home and she felt like ice even under blankets.

    I thank God I live in TX and most of the vets my girls see are Texas A&M trained and ya can't get better than that!


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