Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home from the Vet - The next step

I mentioned at the vet that Skelly has not had much of an appetite. The vet techs gave him some fancy canned food which he gobbled up.

Skelly urinated on the way out to the car. It was far from healthy looking. During the car ride home, he was unable to keep down all that yummy food. :(

Last week the doc was under the impression that Skelly was having an auto-immune reaction similar to the one that he had when they gave him the initial preventative. It appears that is not the case.

The x-ray revealed that portions of Skeletors lungs are not functional. This is further evidenced by his abnormal heart murmur, and labored breathing.  They gave me 2 possible explanations for this. 1) The adult heartworms have shifted, causing a blockage and cutting off the blood supply to portions of his lungs. 2) Pneumonia.

It's not likely that pneumonia is to blame for the anomalies found in the x-ray. The reason for this is that he has not been running a temperature at all.

I was given no other possibilities to account for Skeletor's rapidly deteriorating state.

The next step is to perform an echocardiogram. This is a sonogram, which will give the doctors a clearer picture of the state of Skeletor's heart and the parasites contained therein. 

The first thing we need to do if we're going to save this pup is figure out for sure what is wrong. It seems apparent that we're indeed dealing with a blockage. Nothing else accounts for all of his symptoms and their very sudden onset.

Unfortunately diagnosis is only the beginning. I asked Dr. Fish what our options would be in the event that he's right about the blockage. There are only two. (three if you count euthanasia)

One (which Dr. Fish would not even begin to recommend for a dog in Skeletor's weakened state) is to kill the adult heartworms through the use of Immiticide injections.

Two is to remove the obstruction surgically.

I just found a very informative page on the subject.

Here's an excerpt... 
  • Class I: Lowest Risk. Young healthy dogs with minimal disease evident on radiographs, normal blood work, and no symptoms of illness. They may cough only occasionally if ever, they only fatigue with exercise, and their chest radiographs are normal. 
  • Class II: Moderately Affected. Healthy dogs with minimal signs as above, occasional coughing, fatigue only with exercise but with radiographs that show definite evidence of heart disease. Lab testing shows mild anemia, urine dipsticks show some protein, but not severe urinary protein loss.
  • Class III: Severely Affected. Dog is suffering from weight loss, cough, difficulty breathing, blatant damage to the vasculature is apparent on radiographs, laboratory work reveals a more severe anemia and marked urinary protein loss.
  • Class IV: Caval Syndrome. Dog is collapsing in shock and dark brown urine is evident.
    Heartworms visible by ultrasound in the AV valve of the right side of the heart, and blood work is very abnormal. These dogs are dying and can only be saved by the physical removal of adult heartworms via an incision through the jugular vein. If such a dog can be saved from this crisis, further heartworm infection treatment cannot be contemplated until the dog is stable enough to fit into one of the other categories above.

Skeletor seems to have jumped from somewhere around Class II clear into Class III in literally 2 weeks. 

I'm awaiting a phone call to let me know when I can bring Skelly in for the echocardiogram. This procedure is supposed to be around $200. The summer slump in business has left me with no kind of budget for this. Much less the surgery that will undoubtedly be astronomical. :(

Dr. Fish mentioned that they could keep him hospitalized in the meantime, but saw no reason to.  It would just cost extra money and they feel like he's being well taken care of here.

Poor Skelly. I hate to wrap up this post without a single positive thing to say...

While we were in the back, Skeletor saw another sick pup and was trying to go say hi. He was acting just like his normal chipper self but to a much lesser degree. He really tries to be happy no matter how bad he's feeling.

When we got home and I finished cleaning up the back seat, I noticed Skelly laying down in the living room. Sophie walked up to him with her tail wagging. She then licked and nibbled at his face almost as if she could tell that he was sick. I wish I had been video taping.

 Hang in there buddy!!


  1. I feel sick just reading this! I'm so scared for him! I wish I could contribute financially.

  2. Mom is trying not to let me see her making the sad eyes...

    Khome on Skelly -

  3. sending love and support from chicago! hang in there.

  4. Come on Skelly - we are sending so many purrs and prayers, and we know so many others are too! The cat blogosphere holds auctions all the time to help cats who need help with their vet bills - maybe that is something that can be done in Skelly's case too. I am not sure how they are run but if you head over there they have contact info and they could tell you about how it is done - we are kinda broke but there are things we could donate if you decide to go that route (I would try and sell on my own, but I haven't even gotten close to that organized with my stuff yet). I am bumping my donate button up higher - hopefully that will get some more people to donate. And maybe if you talk to the vet they can do a payment plan or something. We are sending lots of hugs to you all!

  5. Oh Skelly. I've never been through such an emotional wringer in the space of an hour catching up and reading your updates up to here.

    I'm at a complete loss as to what to say. I'm too upset to be honest. I don;t understand this heartworm stuff. It's just so wrong.

    I think it really is up to the vets and up to you now. I know you will do what's best for Skelly. He loves you no matter what.

    Take care

  6. Skelly, we are sending you soft woofs of healing and strong demanding howls of positive energy. Feel all of us united by joined paws and hands encircling you and focusing the Power of the Paw!

  7. It seems rather clear that we need to start gearing up for a fundraiser.

    I'm going to look into it. Thanks for the suggestions and for spreading the word!

  8. Skelly, you're going to be okay. You have to be okay- you have too many people, kitties, and pooches who love you and who are rooting for you.

    We love you, Skelly, and we love your mom and dad for caring so much about you!

  9. Oh my God now I am crying.
    Skelly has to pull through this.
    He just has to .

    My heart truly goes out to you.

    Please give Skelly a kiss for me.

    This will work out.
    This will be OK.
    It has to.

  10. I am in tears reading this news about poor little Skeletor.I will also put on my thinking cap about fund raiser ideas.Maybe it's time for a local news story about Skelly.

    Big hugs to all of you, Love Mom

  11. We are purring for you sweet Skelly and we haven't stopped!

  12. Does your vet have a card called Care Credit? I had to open a Care Credit account when I rescued a pup that was close to death from parvo. It doesn't charge any interest so long as you pay it off within 3 months and the minimum monthly payment was around $15. Without it, my boyfriend and I wouldn't have been able to afford the care our girl needed to fight the parvo.

    Come on Skelly, I know you can pull through. :(

  13. Paws are crossed in WA !!!!
    We so hope he improves ...

  14. We just read about Skelly on House of Cats and stopped by to wish him well. We're sorry he is having such a terrible time of it, and are sending get well woofs and purrs all the way from France.

    Tommy, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan and Bibi-Chan

  15. oh skelly jelly we are so rooting for you and will continue to pray for our favorite pittie.

    pibble healing sugars
    the pittie pack

  16. Oh Skelly, we are so sorry to hear this news. We are praying and purring real hard for you, your mom and dad, and all of the doctors. HAng in there, pal. We love you!


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