Daisy is our special dog. She’s a Lab x Chow mix with the heart of a giant and the tongue of an anteater. She is the sweetest thing who loves everyone and will always ensure you have clean knees. She seems off putting at first as she does bark and sometimes growl at people coming to our house, but its just one of the things I love about her. If an unsavory person came calling I hope that the sound of Daisy’s ferocity would make them think twice. Really though, she is sweet and gentle and just wants to be petted and play.
Daisy has been different since we got her. She sleeps in odd positions,, and when she was a baby looked a lot like a furry yellow cinder block with legs. Her tail is curved and looks like a furry banana (and that’s what we call it) and it moves in the most hilarious of ways when she walks around.
We got daisy about a month after we lost our son, Toby in 2006. In a lot of ways she helped me grasp onto life and love and has healed parts of the hurt in my heart. In a way I guess it’s only fitting now that it’s her heart that needs the fixing.
See, when we first got Daisy and took her in for her very first visit to the Doctor, she was diagnosed with a murmur, which isn’t all that uncommon. We were faced with the decision then on if we keep her or take her back to the family that had given her to us. Well, I’d already fallen in love with her, so she was ours. Besides, there was a strong chance that the murmur may lessen in severity or even go away all together as she matured. And that is exactly what happened, her murmur went from a grade 2 or 3 (on a scale of 1-6, 6 being the worst) down to a grade 1 by six months. For two years, her murmur stayed at a grade 1. Then, about six or nine months ago, our Doctor discovered her murmur had suddenly intensified to a grade 4.
Daisy had been showing none of the usual signs of worsening such as a decrease in appitite, energy level or stuff like that, so it really allarmed me. At the same time it was also discovered that the medication for something else that she’d been on for about six months was something that had the potential to kill a dog with a murmur and she shouldn’t have been put on it at all, and we didn’t know if that was a possible cause for the worsening of her murmur.
So, after a lot of consideration, and dealings, Daisy went in to have a specialized sonogram done on her heart this past Wednesday. The results weren’t good, but they weren’t bad either.
Daisy was diagnosed with Pulmonic Stenosis which is the third most common congenital heart disease in dogs and is the same disease as it is in humans, meaning “Normally, the pulmonic valves have three thin leaflets of tissue which close to form a tight seal. When blood is pumped out of the right side of the heart, the three leaflets move out of the way to allow the blood to pass.
The most common form of pulmonic stenosis occurs when the three leaflets are thickened and fused along their borders causing an obstruction to normal blood flow. In some dogs, the ring of tissue surrounding the pulmonic valve leaflets is too narrow. This is called annular hypoplasia.”
The bad news is that in Daisy’s case if we don’t treat this (which means surgery) she has at most two years left with us. The good news is that after evaluation of the sonogram by the team at Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s Cardiology Department it looks like Daisy will be a likely candidate for surgery. In which case the team at A&M will do a Balloon Valvoplasty (where they “First, a catheter is placed into the jugular vein in the neck. The catheter is directed into the right side of the heart and a contrast study (angiogram) is performed to determine the location and severity of the pulmonic stenosis. A catheter with a balloon on the end is then placed across the pulmonic valve leaflets, and the balloon is inflated to open the valve.”) which should be a surgical cure for Daisy and she could go on to live the normal life of a dog and reach ripe old age.
The biggest problem, just the pre-evaluation alone will cost us about $600, and I haven’t even had the nerve to ask about the cost of the surgery yet. It will also mean taking multiple trips over to A&M to have Daisy examined, then operated, and then possibly for post op work as well.
We love our Doodle, and we want to do everything we can for her, but it seems we have reached that place where all pet owners and lovers fear – how much is too much and how much is worth it. For those of you who don’t have pets, or don’t do animals, or just see your pets and pets/animals and not a part of your family or your kids, maybe you don’t understand. Maybe it wouldn’t be a question for you and the amazingly expensive treatment wouldn’t be an option. But for the rest of you out there that can relate, we could use your good thoughts, prayers, and any information you may have on ways we could get money to help cover some of these costs without having to ask strait out for donations from our friends and family.