Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…

It has been an exhausting few days with going to the vet twice a day, every day, for fluids and shots. He is still not eating on his own and I am having to force feed him the Science Diet still, through the syringe. I have been mixing in a bit of probiotic here and there to help aid his digestion and I have been giving him small bits of plain yogurt as well for the Acidophiles. The one thing that seemed to be getting worse was Cody’s breathing and that is what started to scare me the most. He would get to the vet and get the fluids administered. Sometime 600 cc’s and sometimes the whole back at 1000 cc’s (a liter). This puts a huge pouch of fluid on his back. If you have never seen the way they administer fluids it is a trip. The lift the skin on the back of his neck or shoulder blades, stick the IV needle in and his skin fills with the liquid creating a big hump. He slowly absorbs the fluid throughout the day and pees quite a bit.

So every morning we go in and he gets the fluids, then his round of 5-6 shots of antinausea, antibiotics and B12. Then I started to notice his breathing was getting worse. Butzer gave him an EKG and took some Xrays, and sent both to a specialist yesterday morning. When I came back last night he had some interesting news. He told me that the specialist said that the heart rate was pretty high. Normally at 120 p/m Cody’s was more like 204 p/m. And his breathing was rapid and labored. After the fluids and the shots he completely passed out on my lap which is TOTALLY unlike him…

and his breathing was awful. The specialist said that is looks like he could be going into heart failure.

Heart failure.

Let me say it again because I can not even believe it is coming from my lips let alone my finger tips.

Heart failure.

WHAT? How could this be? Ok look… prior to the cancer my dog was the picture of health. Well exercised, great diet, happy, good weight, vibrant and have i mentioned happy? Since starting chemo I have had him on a special of no carbs, high protein, supplements including CoQ10 for his heart, probiotics for as much nutrition absorption as possible, and other supplements to aid in his immune building and vitamin boost. I know these chemo drugs suck. I know they are tough and kill all the good as well as the bad, wreak havoc on his organs and body functions… but I have been prepping him for that from the beginning. I just can not really accept that this is heart failure. But… that is what it looks like. As he lays on my at the vet totally asleep he is breathing so fast and heavy I am freaked out.

The Cardiology Report says:

After they gave him his shots and he passed out on me last night Butzer gave me two meds for him to slow his heart beat a bit and help with his lung function. I give him Spironolactone  for his lungs to deal with any possible swelling, twice a day at 25 mg, and Enalapryl to help cardiac function, 10 mg half a tab twice a day. Since he still will not eat solid food I have to crush these pills up and mix them with the Science Diet slop and push it through the syringe. (Easier said than done)

As I said he was breathing heavy and rapid, and continued this for the rest of the night as he lay next to me on the couch. I gave him the pills in the food and forced it into him, and watched him sleep and breathe to the point that I was getting so upset I had to walk outside. I seriously thought he was having cardiac arrest right next to me at different points.

Finally about midnight his breathing calmed and he went to bed in my room and slept through the night. I woke up about every two hours to feel him to make sure he was still breathing. Clearly I am a mess right now over all of this. I just gotta get him through this to the other side… this is not quality of life.

This morning I got up and laid next to him on his dog bed for a bit… he stretched and yawned… seemed sleepy but his breathing was good. I got him to jump up on my bed and laid with him there for a bit too. Then I got up and he followed me to the kitchen! GREAT SIGN!!! I made coffee and got him to eat some of the slop and gave him his heart and lung pills. No puking! He started to seem a bit more alert and responsive, picking up the tennis ball and tossing it me! YAY!!!!!

Then it dawned on me. No more shots. What if the shots are making him feel sicker? I know they were important for a few days to get him to stop puking and through that stage, but now I am more interested in getting his head clear, keeping his energy up and getting him to feel normal again. Not so medicated. So I get him to eat some more and he does, no puking. I take him for a short walk and he poops twice very diarrhea, and pees a lot. But he is looking better. I get him inside and tell him to drink some water… but he refuses on his own. So I pick up his bowl of water and walk over to him and he drinks some!!!!

So when we get to the vet this morning and Butzer comes in I tell him I just want fluids today, no shots and I tell him my theory that the shots may be wearing him down too much and making him feel worse, and possibly making his heart race. I know when I take cough medicine I react terribly with my heart racing and feeling out of it… this could be happening to him too.

So we do 1000 cc’s of fluids and that is it. I am just going to monitor him today, and feed him as much as he will take. I want his head to clear and see where he REALLY is today… if he is still nauseous, if he will try to eat and drink… but most of all I want his personality back. That is what is hurting me beyond anything else… to see him sleep constantly and be so sad and lethargic… this is not my dog and not how I want him to be. This whole thing has been about quality of life and prolonging the good. Hopefully we will have a good day today and he will start to get back to his old self.

We are getting back there. Slowly.

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on April 10, 2011.

2 Responses to “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…”

  1. How did he do today?

    • He is doing a bit better. He is more alert and attentive, picking his head up and looking at what we are doing in the house. Been sleeping a lot… Which is good. The meds he is on for his breathing and heart seem to calm him and i have force fed him almost two cans of the slop… So i am happy he is not puking without being on the antinausea.

      All in all a pretty good day… so much better than yesterday….

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