Thursday, August 5, 2010

[updated] Skeletor's Diagnosis: Severe congestive heart failure coupled with anemia

I have made edits to this...

I just got a call from Dr. Rod with the results of Skeletor's echo.

Here's what I could get over the phone... I'll update/clarify after speaking with them in person.

He suffers from severe congestive heart failure. There are a host of medications that may potentially help with this.

The most life threatening symptom of the heart failure caused by the lousy stinking heartworms is that dastardly anemia. He needs those red blood cells!!!

They plan on changing his anti-biotic to one that contains doxycycline and something called ibermectim(sp?) that may slowly weaken the heartworms.(this will possibly be the next step. He's just on regular doxycycline now in hopes of stabilizing before beginning the slow-kill heartworm treatment)

They are putting him on an expensive heart medication that will hopefully get his pumper going strong. I can't remember the name of it, but I know it's chewable and about $150 per pill.

They are prescribing him viagra 3 times a day to help with the pulminary hypertension. This pill doesn't come in doggy form, so I'll have to go to a compounding pharmacy.

They are keeping him on the prednisone.

Whether or not the surgery will be required (or even an option) depends on getting him stabilized.

Sounds like he's going to be taking a whole lot of pills. Unfortunately in his weakened state, he doesn't catch them in his mouth anymore :(

He has a tendency to store them in his mouth and pretend like he swallowed them only to spit them out later.

Yesterday afternoon he seemed to have selectively regurgitated the pill after I gave it to him.

Sounds like a lot of TLC will be needed. I hope he stays strong enough to see this through.

Thanks again for spreading the word, leaving comments, and sending contributions. Skeletor is very lucky to have your continued support!


  1. If I want to donate to help take care of Skelly, is the link above the one to use? I know it was when he first came, but wanted to double check, now that he's in a new phase of getting better. (Must think positively about our Skells!)

  2. It might be

    which is one of the ingredients in many of the heartworm preventatives BUT also used to treat it - and successfully too -

    Does he like sweet stuffs? Many dogs will take their pills in marshmallows -

    We'll be thinking of Skelly even more than usual -

    Thanks for the update!

  3. Sometimes half the battle is in the knowing. Check and see how others have dealt with giving pills to their pups. You may also want to ask your vet if there's anything they can do in a liquid form that will be as effective.

  4. Ideas for geting the pill down - Pill pockets! Cheese cubes! Small bites of meat! Macaronis (cooked, stick it inside)

  5. I second Pill Pockets! When I had to give my Akita/GSD mix a pill, the easiest way to get him to actually swallow it was to stuff it in a pill pocket. Cheese cubes are good too.

  6. Well, it isn't the best news but it a diagnosis, and that is a good thing. And I have to say I sympathize about the pills - my cat Kirzon is the same way - though I am hoping you don't have to wrestle Skelly like I have to wrestle with Kirzon (seriously like 20 minutes - with Skelly that would be like 4 times harder because of the size difference). I pill him in the small guest bathroom. Once I finally get it "swallowed" we wait - because it has to either disolve or taste so bad he will spit it out in a fairly short time - but this way he can't hide it. You might ask if any of them can be compounded into something easier like a "tasty" liquid, or an ear gel (not sure if you can do the dermal gels with dogs - cats have those thin ears and it works well). Khyra's marshmallow idea is great (keeping that one for when we get a dog some time in the future) and I have also heard peanut butter is good.

    So hm, viagra - yeah, Sophie may want to hide for a while :) I wish we could do more than just offer psychological support, but right now we are tapped out. If you do end up doing an auction or something let me know because I would love to contribute. They are doing one for Shelby - another pittie who has pricy medical bills, and that may be a way to go - the link is to check it out.

  7. We were going to suggest cheese cubes, but we see a few have suggested that.

    We just feel terrible for Skelly. He has been thru so much, and now this.

    We are also very thankful that you continue to take care of him, and that you don't give up on him. Bless your hearts! We will keep up our purrs!

  8. Oh boy, you're right! Skelly needs lotsa TLC! We love our Bully babies especially ones that need a little extra lovin' to make up for tough times. Keep us posted.

    Wiggles & Licks from the Heartbeats

  9. Oh poor poor poor Skelly! Oh my goodness. But at least the illness is identified and the next step of managing this can be done.

    I'm all for trying as many "tricksy" methods of pilling and/or having the meds as liquids if possible? And I never ever had any qualms about ringing the vets and asking them for help with pilling my kitties! It's the most stressful thing on this planet to do with cats and dogs - and somehow the vet people are able to do this so quickly!

    Anyway - I feel a little better that Skelly is with his family who love him while all this is going on. I'm willing him on and hope his condition does stabalise for the next step! My goodness - what an incredible dog and you are all amazing people to be looking after him so!


    Take care

  10. If cheese cubes don't work (our dogs preferred Velveeta), then try hiding the pill in a bit of hot dog. Our dogs used to take pills that way, too.

    Me and my kitty are pulling for you guys!

  11. I don't post here often but I do read. I just want you to know that my thoughts are with dear Skelly. He's fought so hard and if any dog can beat this thing, I know he can. I'm glad at least you know what you're dealing with now.

    I can't help but feel SO angry at the people who let this happen to Skelly. I just don't understand it at all.

    Thank you for everything you're doing for him. I think you're both wonderful!

    Amber (and Mayzie)

  12. This is good. A clear diagnosis and a plan going forward.

    I'm going to see if I have anything left over after I pay bills tomorrow. If I do, I'll send it your way. It might not be much, but I hope it helps.

    Give Skells my love and some gentle hugs. Everyone hang in there!

  13. Have you tried wrapping the pill/s in liverwurst? Smelly stuff, and all the dogs I've ever had loved it. Best pill disguise EVER. Hope poor Skelly makes it!!!!

  14. have you tried the greenies pill pockets? my dogs love those.
    continuing to think of sweet skelly and sending him many hugs.

    the booker man and asa's mama

  15. Hugs for all of you. Poor Skelly. Sending more healing purrs.

    When Mommy has to give Fenris a pill she rolls it in peanutbutter first. That way he doesn't spit it out. She keeps an eye on him to make sure he eats the whole thing.

  16. <3 We all love you Skelly <3

    Wes, see if you can get some more assistance from UAN or PBRC. UAN also has a link on their page of other organizations who offer financial assistance for animals in need. I think the link is on the same page as their Lifeline Grants.

    ((Carrying you all in our hearts))

  17. I don't know if CHF in dogs is the same as in humans, but my dad had it for many years and it was helped by him not eating salty foods. So things like hot dogs or liverwurst which are very salty might not be the best thing, although anything that gets the pills down is better than nothing. I don't know if you are comfortable with raw meats but my dog LOVED raw hamburger and would eat any pill ever if it was wrapped in a tiny bit of raw hamburger.

    I've been following Skelly's story for months and this is breaking my heart. I'm hoping for the best for him and for you all who are caring for him!


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