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I'll try to make a long story short:
Last July Pitanga had to do a small surgery to repair her eye lid. At the time, the vet told me there were some anomalies with her ECG and that I should check it out. During summer, she had some episodes of "colapsing" with heat: she'd be outside playing and suddently she'd go to a shade, lay on her side and pant, whitout respondind to anything or anyone for a while.
She had never done this before, so to ease my mind, I decided to check her heart just to be on the safe side. An ECG, X-ray and Ultrassound later, Pitanga has been diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Tricuspid Dysplasia. I'm still in shock because when she was one year old, she had a perfect heart function on her ultrassounds, so my mind was at ease (this is something that normaly appears around that age)... Vets tell me the prognosis is bad and the average life time after the diagnosis is 10 to 12 months. The most likely outcome is for her to be outside playing and collapse one day, never to wake up again.
I look at her and can hardly believe we are talking about my perfect little Pitanga. She plays, eats, andruns around like there is nothing wrong - she just prefers to lay down and rest when it's too hot...She's not even 4, looks perfecly healthy and here we are, living everyday as it may be the last...
Of course I'm hoping the Canine Gods will give me a bit more time with my girl, but I'm still devastated to find her heart - wich I tought was fine - is giving out. There will be some changes in our lives, but there is not much I can do to stop the progress of the disease, so my main concern will be keeping her happy and living as normal as possible.
Oh I am so sorry Teresa! I hope you can find something that helps Pitanga ...
Here is our first week update:
It's been a week since we started some major changes in our lives, in order to manage Pitanga's condition better. There were changes in feeding times, and they now eat at 7am and 7pm, give or take, so that Pitanga can take her meds with food.She's a saint and opens her mouth twice a day to take her meds without a fuss. I'm glad to tell you that her meds are working and she can breathe much better now! I'm still looking for alternative medicine solutions and she'll at least be getting quantic therapies for now.
She's also learning how to manage her efforts when we're out for a walk: I'm very generous in rewarding her everytime she decides to walk next to me for a while, and she's starting to grasp that resting when tired and then going back to playing a bit more is more confortable than getting exausted.
Also, summer is finally over in Portugal and days are not as hot, solving our previous major problem: heat intolerance. We also had our first rainy walk, and this was actually where I noticed the biggest change in her... Rainy walks used to be her absolute favourite, and now she no longer enjoys getting her coat wet in the rain. However, with her raincoat on, she went back to being the happiest dog alive under the rain!
We are still looking for someone that can test Romã with the Holter here in Portugal and have narrowed it down to 3 vets, that we are contacting today. Romã will be tested and we decided that Pitanga should go along in order to be examined by one more vet, and possibly even also be tested with the Holter, to give us more info on how bad (or not so bad) she really is. I'll update again when once we get more info on their tests.
As for me, I think I'm ready to take this challenge for as long as it's needed. I have some amazing friends that make sure my spirits are high all the time and that ther 3 of us have everything we need all the time. Everyone has made a point on learning every detail of Pitanga's meds so that I have help if I need. And of course, all you lovely words and support here in ES has also done wonders for me!
I'd like to thank everyone again for your support and ideas, they have been very helpful and conforting.
My thoughts are with you all the way. I know I have another issue here, but I too am glad the hot days are now over for Tallulah's sake. It is always there that with her laryngeal paralysis she could go into respiratory distress and we have had a couple of moments during our late summer when I thought "oh my god she's in trouble".
When I was told in March of last year to prepare myself for the worst with her overall conditions, I learned to take each day as it comes, and to be thankful for each and every day I still have her. I am thankful that she is still here with us, despite what I was told and that was only because of the help I had with alternative treatments. I wish the same for you both too.
I tought I'd give you guys an update on Pitanga...
We went ot see a cardio specialist last thursday. He is an amazing person, very calm and explained himself very well, without making a dark scenario, but not sugar coating anything either. Loved the way he examined my girls and they loved him!
He re-did Pitanga's exams and checked Romã: Romã was given a clean bill of health and that is certainly one less worry in my mind!
As for Pitanga, the news aren't so bad either! He confirmed she has a tricuspid dysplasia and the way he put it was "she has a 3 chambered heart, insted of the regular 4 chambers, because this valve is doing nothing here". However he disagreed on the diagnosis of DCM and had a lot more means of diagnosis than our first cardio vet, so I'm inclined to trust his judgment!
He believes her symptoms are not relevant just yet and that I should allow her to carry on with her life and keep her with a constant level of exercise - the important thing is to never push her to do more than what she wants to. I also need to look out for cough or fainting signs. Her inicial signs probably happened because she was out of shape and pushing herserlf oo hard in very intense heat.
He advised me to stop her medication because it is unnecessary right now - it helped at first to reduce her pulmonary edema, but that is now stable, so no need to give her a ton of drugs. She's been of her meds fo a week now and is exactly the same. If everything goes well, he'll see Pitanga again in 6 months and only then will he tell me his prognosis: If there are no changes, she'll problably have a few good years ahead, and when her heart deteriorates, medication can sill do a lot for her. If her heart looks a lot worse than things won't be as good, but we are all hoping she'll look the same in 6 months. She is definetely not a healthy dog, but things look much better after this long trip to the vet!
Sorry for the long post, but I had to share my bit of good news with you all!
That's wonderful news! Pitanga will just have to take a vacation to Ireland in the summer!
this is great Teresa, sounds a much more positive and relaxed situation by now!!! How important is to find a good vet that gives plenty of info without sugarcoating but keeping you calm at the same time, great you had one!! Finger crossed for 6 months for Pitanga :))
Much better news Teresa. Here's hoping for a more positive outlook for her :-)
Fingers crossed for Pitanga. Hope the news is good in 6 months time.
Good news Teresa - I am very happy for you and Pitanga!