Thursday, April 8, 2010

On a serious note.

A client came into the clinic with their dog that was in the ER the night before. What made this dog stick out of the many we see each day was its "problem," congestive heart failure. This dog has a grade 5/6 heart murmur and an enlarged heart from it, exactly like my Schizer baby. When the dog came in it was coughing so hard it could hardly catch its breath. The owners came in to talk about humane euthanasia as they thought it was the only option. My heart broke.

In Congestive heart failure the dog's heart cannot pump the blood effectively, and fluid backs up into different organs. The most common type of congestive heart failure in dogs involves the left side of the heart, causing blood to back up into the lungs. The lungs become congested with fluid, leading to panting, coughing, or difficulty breathing or the heart enlarges from over compensation and presses on the trachea.

Schizer is on all the same medicine, has had the disease years longer, is older and yet doing 100% better that the dog that walked into the clinic today. In fact, when studying about the disease prognosis is guarded to poor with many dogs passing within the year but my dog was diagnosed over two summers ago. What's the difference? I think it’s the pack dynamic. Schizer is around other dogs to keep her company, focused and young 24 hours a day. I looked all over the internet, including veterinary journals and studies, but I couldn't find any science to support my claim though I'm pretty much convinced that it is the reason that my dog is still alive.

Schizer still jumps on Maxx's back; she coughs a bit but literally shakes it off. She makes sure everyone who comes over knows who's boss by stepping in front of the other dogs while they are getting affection. She still attempts to jump off the bed and even chases tennis balls though I limit her play time. She barks and barks at the children next door and still sticks her head out the car window. All of this energy for a dog I was told wouldn't last the Florida summer.

The other dogs make her young at heart even if that heart is three times the size it should be.

This is an example of what Schizer's heart looks like and the drawing is what it should look like.

My happy, wet nosed, Schizer with her pack.


  1. Oh my. I feel so sorry for that poor pup who came to see you. I do agree that there is much more to medicine (for people or critters) than what is found in textbooks!

  2. omg.. that whole white mass is schizer's heart? but yeah i agree with you that she must be feeling young at heart.. and that's what keeps her healthy and happy.. you're only as old as you feel right

  3. I'm not vet, but it certainly does seem feasible that a dog who has an enriched life will live longer than one that doesn't, even if both have a medical condition. I feel sorry for the dog who came to the vet today, but I am also happy that your dog has been able to enjoy her life to the fullest.

  4. My goodness, that`s quite the x-ray. Sorry to hear about the dog who came to the clinic, but good to know Schizer is doing so well!


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