Monday, March 28, 2011

Be Still My Beating Heart

I went for a long ride today with AP and her Dad. We went all the way to Leesburg VA to the LifeCenter and Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates to see Dr. Peckens.

His assistant Heather met with AP to take my history and she was nice enough to keep me from hitting my head on the exam table. Dr. Peckens came in and listened to my heart, and listened to my heart, and listened to my heart and when he was done he asked AP if I had ever been diagnosed with a heart murmur. AP told him that the very first Doctor I ever had diagnosed that but everyone since had said no so it was thought that I had outgrown it (we dogs do that). He said he definitely heard one and told her he thought I had a PDA but we would know for sure with an echo cardiogram. He asked if I would be OK up on a table and AP told him that I am not a fan of heights and about the time I got up on the couch by accident and was scared to come down. They all agreed to try me up on the table but if I got stressed we could do the test with me standing.

We went into the other room and Heather and Dr. Peckens lifted me up and put me on a table that had a panel in the middle. The panel comes out leaving a hole for the Doctor to put a device called a transducer through to move around on my chest. They put electrodes on me and then used ultrasound and the transducer to put images of the inside of my heart on the screen of the echo cardiogram machine. I was a really good boy and stayed real still - except for the few times I tried to push some buttons on the machine.

Dr. Peckens and Heather

What does this button do?

Let me roll the ball.
He showed AP and Dad the images in color to display the problem with my heart. It is called a PDA or Patent Ductus Arterious and is congenital which means I was born with it. Most PDA's are caught early in puppies and taken care of. If it not caught 50% of puppies with it never make it past 1year -so I have beaten the odds so far. Basically I have a hole that was supposed to close when I was born and it didn't so now I have an over circulation that has made my heart get large. The other day my heart went wonky and into Atrial Fibrillation and my heart was beating really, really fast which is dangerous. Thanks to the medicine I am taking my heart rate is back to normal and has gone back into a normal rhythm so I am at low risk of heart failure until they can fix me. The Doctors at CVCA all meet at a big thing called rounds and discuss all the cases they have seen and put their heads together for the best fix. Tomorrow at the round thing they will talk about me and the best option to help me. I am hoping that option is the amplatz ductal occluder because that surgery will allow me to be up and around quickly and they won’t have to open up my chest. It's a plug that they can use to stop up the hole and my heart can get back t normal size. There is a handout on CVCA's website that explains the problem and the solution if you want to read it

Right now I am a very happy boy because I can now go for a walk as long as I don't get carried away. AP is happy because my heart is not all wonky right now and we know what the problem is.


Anonymous said...

That is great news...keep it coming. Best of luck and pretty soon you will be back to your normal counter surfing self...lolol Missy

Anonymous said...


Helen and Raja said...

Tonka, power of the paw behind you from me. Sending you all my good energy and happy barks!

Hope to meet you when I visit Buttercup this spring!

Xoxo, Raja

Tonka said...

Thank you everyone. AP will keep you posted.
Tonka hugs and kisses to all.

Bertha said...

Tonka there are no words for how I feel about you. Feel better because you are my Main Squeeze.
Love you!