Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Bad to Worse and Totally Unfair

AP here:
On Thursday Tonka went to see a very nice Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Cannap at Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group about his intermittent lameness in his right front leg. The result of which was 2 problems that needed to be addressed one being his shoulder and what would be analogous to our rotator cuff and the other being his elbow.
I was very impressed with everyone and the facility and the technician Amy that took care of Tonka and measured him for the brace he would have to wear for 2-4 months after the surgery. I had them draw blood so we could make sure he was sound for surgery and scheduled it for April 6th. Tonka was fine for the visit and did not seem to be in any distress. We went home and the rest of the day was a normal day with all his normal routines. We walked with Nala that night and again everything was 100% routine for him. I on the other hand could not sleep and was stressing over the upcoming surgery
Friday morning everything was still normal and he was at the top of the stairs ready to go for our walk by the time I got dressed. We walked to the park and back and it was totally uneventful.Once home he laid down at the top of the stairs like usual and took  little nap while I got ready to go to work - all still normal. I put on 2 eggs to boil and went downstairs and fixed his bowl with his breakfast. This is his routine every morning.

He goes downstairs eats his breakfast - goes out the doggie door - goes to the bathroom - might dig a little/might not - comes up the ramp on the side of the house to the kitchen - might lay out on the deck for about 5 minutes/might not - stands at the door and barks once to come in - comes in and has either a tiny bit of egg or some sweet potato.

This is the routine and when enough time had passed and he did not come to the door and was not on the deck I went to find him. The first thing I notice was an untouched bowl of kibble which is not normal but not alarming. I went out the door and around the corner to where he has been trying to create a new monster digging pit behind the grill. I was really expecting to find him there with dirt up to his elbows caught in the act and I really wish that is where I had found him. I took four more steps past he grill and he was laying at a very strange angle with massive amounts of drool from his chin to the ground. I spoke his name and he snapped his head up in my direction but he was jerky and seemed panicky. I opened his mouth to see if he had anything half ingested but all i saw was more of the same thick drool. I ran into the house and grabbed a towel and the phone and yelled for CM. She came out while I was dialing the vet. She went back in and went thought the house and unlocked he gate while I got the ramp down in the truck. I got him up and to the ramp and again he was very jerky but I got him in the truck and took off for the vet. On the road he put his head down and went to sleep and I got my wits about me enough to start thinking seizure vs. anything poison related. There is nothing buried behind the grill and I know that because we dug all that up and put down a drainage pipe there so it is nothing but dirt. it seemed to fit a seizure as well - that thick nasty drool - the post ictal phase where they are really out of it. So by the time we got to the vet that was my diagnosis and I calmed down a bit (remember I only had 3 hours of sleep worrying about his upcoming surgery and rehab so I was allowed to be a little off my norm). We walked in and right away they were looking at his gums and checking him out before we even got in a room. They are the best there and Tonka loves them all and so do I. We were seen right away by Dr. Gerity and during the exam we were pretty much going with the seizure thing until she got to his heart rate. She came up from listening to his heart and looking at her watch to tell me his heart rate was 200 and for a big dog 100 is the magic number and that it was not beating normal. Even with 3 hours of sleep my mind started trying to make sense of this - he was just at a vet yesterday and they had listened to his heart and it was fine - that doesn't compute. She then told me he needed an EKG and chest x-ray and took him out of the room to the back while I struggled to make it all fit into something logical.
The news was no better when she came back in- his heart is in atrial fibrillation and the x-rays show an enlarged heart (not horribly enlarged but too big just the same). The biggest thing was to get his heart rate down so they put him on medication to do that. He spent the day with them so they could monitor his heart.
I called a few times to check on him and his heart rate was down to 120 and then to 96 so I picked him up and took him home. He is still in arrythmia so his heart is beating abnormally but as long as the heart rate is down and he remains quiet we should be OK till he sees the cardiologist.
I called a cardiologist and we have an appointment on Thursday for an echo cardiagram and his ortho. surgery has been postponed. One of my friends Buttercups mom is an amazing woman and adopted Buttercup who has a heart condition. She and I spoke at length and she reassured me that the cardiologist we are going to will get him back on track.
So here we are- my big loving boy who wants nothing more out of life than to run and play and meet and greet everyone and everything has to be kept very quiet. No walks, no running, no playing, no excitement of any kind. If you follow the blog you will remember that anytime he has been in this situation it only takes one day to plunge him into a depression. At least with the other times I could take him in the truck and his friends would come out and meet him- with this he can do nothing.
This has totally blindsided me- of all things that could go wrong I would have never thought heart but better to find out now rather than on the operating table in two weeks.
Perhaps this is why Tonka loves everyone so much - he has an oversized heart!


NH, AK, B, B, A, O, T, J,S,D,C,J,S,V,C,S and B. WE LOVE YOU! and our foster, L said...

Oh Tonka, we love your BIG heart but keep it calm. We need you to get better and feel better. Who else can we tell our dogs that they should be like? We send all our collective prayers, hugs and love to you, AP and CM.

Anonymous said...

I always knew he had a big heart, he is the most lovable dog I have ever seen. I hope and pray that everything will turn out ok for him. he is just a big ole lap dog lolol. love ya guys Missy

Tonka said...

Thanks NH, AK, B, B, A, O, T, J,S,D,C,J,S,V,C,S and B. I am bored and a little mad. I can't go out and walk and I can't play with my toys. My friends can't come over and it is supposed to snow. I have to play in the snow it's what Tonka's do!

Tonka said...

Thanks Missy - you know how much he loves you. He is really upset that he cant go out and "see" any of his people or friends.