April 6, 2012

Patriot's Journey- a glimmer of hope

I had to go into the vet yesterday as Justice now has kennel cough even though fully vaxed.  :-( Getting the dogs to take their antibiotics and cough meds is becoming interesting to say the least. Patriot has been on her meds long enough to know to pick them from the food and spit them on the floor or run for cover if I try to put them in her mouth. Justice isn't interested in eating but will allow us to give her the meds some times. We have to watch that she doesn't hack them up.  Both dogs have love to hack out the pills and it is just NASTY to have to pick up slimy pukey looking pills 3-4 times and keep giving them until finally they are so dissolved they can't spit them out anymore. ICK!

Justice and Bub

I requested to meet with the vet we saw on Monday with Patriot to see if he had any news yet.  He said he hasn't talked to the cardio yet but he had researched and had some ideas.

He believes that even though she has Congenital Heart Failure and the VPCs that her heart isn't in failure at this time. This gives us the chance to try and keep her from going into heart failure. His suggestion is to bring Patriot in for a least a day to the clinic where he will do IV fluids and ladocain drip. He hopes that this will slow her heart down enough that it might catch a normal rhythm and then she will be put on a cocktail of heart meds to hopefully keep her heart rate steady. Its not without risks though. The whole thing hinges on Pate's heart being healthy and normal. The Dr can't hear any murmurs so he is hoping her heart is normal just off beat.  She will have to have chest x-rays and possibly other tests to verify this. If her heart is not normal then it won't work and there isn't much we can do. We also have to worry that the ladocain drug itself could trigger another attack like the drugs used during her spay triggered the first episode.

The good news is IF this works and we find the right combo of heart meds he expects she could live a relatively normal life though we would still need to exercise caution. But she would be able to play with her sister and enjoy activities with the family in moderation.

We will wait to do anything until we hear from the cardiologist. We don't want to rush into something that could make things worse or be of no help. In the meantime we are keeping her calm and watching her close. She seems to be on the mend from the kennel cough. :-) She hasn't coughed or gagged much even while playing so I am hoping that means her heart isn't over working.

"Look mom, I'm still your cute little lap puppy!"
                                                          Patriot after the vet on Monday
She crawled on to the couch and my lap (a no no in our house) really milking the attention she was getting

April 4, 2012

Patriot's journey - coming home

born July 10, 2011
came home to us October 31, 2011

coming home in the car.
she weighed about 35 lbs at this point

walking her new yard and first time on leash

Justice (Merle) and Patriot (Harlequin) making themselves at home

too tired to play any more

It took us almost 13 yrs to open our hearts to love another Great Dane after the passing of our first Dane, Ashley, in April '98 at age 8. 

We found the girls through a friend of a friend of a friend and a very complicated story that changed with each new telling.  When we finally got a straight enough answer we drove an hour to get them and had to fight to take both pups.  The "breeder" suddenly seeing interest in his pups was getting greedy and tried to up the price after having said these pups were destined for the pound because they were moving. 2 ladies rescued 2 of the 3 male pups and we got the only females. Was told the litter was originally 12 pups and 5 survived. :-(

We loaded the girls into the truck and headed for Petsmart for leashes, collars, and food. They had never been in a car, on leash, on concrete, away from their momma...  not a fun day for them with all the changes. A vet appointment the next day said they were healthy minus a rash that turned out to be possibly be demodex mange but never confirmed. 3 weeks of treatments, bathes, and good food healed them and it never returned up

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.
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Words of Faith

"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -Matthew 6:27

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5