Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Boone Update

Ashley & Boone out on a walk two weeks ago.

Just wanted to give a quick update on how Boone is doing. Yesterday I was finally able to get him out to the vet. The truck got stuck pretty good twice getting out of the driveway, but we made it out anyway.

I had talked to the vet the day before, and was told to just bring him in when I could get out, since the vet was the only staff there at the time.

So around noon we headed into town. The diagnoses was about what I figured. When you are snowed in and have Internet access you can do lots of research. I also want to think Michelle and her vet husband for their words as well.

Boone has been diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (short version--DCM occurs most often in middle-aged, male, large and giant breed dogs, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, and Irish Wolfhound, but DCM can affect dogs of any age and many other than these breeds. Often males are predisposed or more likely to be affected at a young age. In addition to the large-breed dog, DCM is recognized regularly in a variety of spaniel breeds, and the condition occurs sporadically in small canine breeds. The precise genetic basis for DCM has not been demonstrated. The four most common clinical presentations of DCM are 1) occult DCM; 2) cardiac arrhythmia (see above); 3) sudden cardiac death; and 4) congestive heart failure (CHF). Or you can click on the link above and it tells a more detailed version.

This is a relatively common disease in this breed of dog who in my opinion have a way too short life span and way too many health issues as it is.

Boone hasn't been 'up to par' for awhile now, but I attributed it to a number of things, not picking up on the whole picture. The cold weather affected him badly and I laid the blame for his symptoms squarely on the feet of winter.

He has been rather depressed, his appetite has decreased and other more subtle can't put my finger on it things. Some of this also coincided with Ashley going into heat as well, and that is always a hard time around here, as all normal routines and actions go out the window. (And yes, Ash may be bred, and puppies soon if she took. Good grief...)

Boone is, by my reckoning around six now. I have had him five years (how that went by fast) and he was probably close to a year old when I found him. Six years for this breed puts them into the 'slowing down, getting older' bracket.

So, for now we have him on medications--three to be exact. Sixteen pills a day. This will decrease once we get the proper dosage for his size. (Not many dogs around here that need heart meds that weigh 130 lbs.) Should have the correct pills by next weekend. These will work in the meantime, just means more to poke down his throat. He hates pills and you can't 'hide' them in anything, so the only choice is to open that big slobbery mouth and throw them in...) He is on Furosemide (diuretic) Digoxin (directly increases the contracting of the heart) and Enalapril (ACE Inhibitor). There are all kinds of possible side affects, so time will tell how it goes. If they work they should have a dramatic impact on his quality of life. It will likely take some time to figure out the correct dosage on a couple of them.

Prognosis, providing he responds to the drugs is 6 months to 24 months of decent quality life. If he makes it to the upper figure then that puts him at about a typical lifespan for a DDB.

Right now, I think the best thing is to take it a day at time, and enjoy what we have. He is resting very comfortably and loves being a 'house dog'. Once I go back to work, he will have to be an 'outside' dog again at least during the day. Being on the diuretics he will have to urinate allot, so being in the house ten hours is not an option. I asked if his activity needs to be restricted, but the vet said that it's recommended that the dogs are allowed to do as they normally would. I'll probably not let him do as much of that silly running the fence after the neighbors dogs, but other than that, I'm going to let him have his life as long as he can.

I'm just very relieved that I finally got him out to the vet. It has been a long week. I'm exhausted and feel like I haven't accomplished anything, other than beating back one crisis at a time.

Hopefully I'll get another 'snow post' up soon, and relate the whole driveway debacle (which was plowed by a a kind neighbor last night at about five p.m.!)

I do have to tell you though a little story about my Mom and an old school friend. My Mom called the guy who ended up blading our driveway after we finally figured out who it was that had such a nice little tractor outfit. She talked to his wife, (who is the gal I went to school with), and evidently told her about how I was trying to get out and get Boone to the vet. The gal and Mom hatched up a plan whereby she would drive over here and get me and Boone and take us to the the end though they couldn't scheme their way into how to get close enough (as Boone couldn't walk too terribly far in the snow) and still turn around. Fortunately I was able to get out myself later that day.

When her husband came that night to plow the drive, my truck was just barely in off the road, and blocking the drive. That is as far as I could get in before getting stuck (I could still back out). I had no idea the guy was anywhere around, because my watchdogs were both snoozing in the house, until he knocked on the door!

I opened the door and of course Boone and Ashley tried to push me out of the way to see who it was. Boone had a pink blankie draped over his back, and stuck his massive head out the door. "Come in, come in" they seemed to say.

Never mind me, of course, the guy reaches out and scratches Boone's head and asks, 'are you feeling better, big guy?'

Just goes to show you, there are still some awful good people out there, and animal people are some of the best.


Christine said...

Poor Boone. Hope you get the med dosaged figured out and he starts feeling better soon. I know how much it hurts to watch them not feeling well.

Louise said...

You've got the right attitude. Most of us don't know how long we have, so it is best, IMO, for everyone to live each day like it really matters. Now you know that you need to live like that with Boone.

I hope that the meds help him live a normal life, for a long, long time.

Star said...

Considering what Boone has been through before you found him, every day with you is heaven to him! You have given each other a lot of love and whenever he goes, he will leave a big paw-print on your heart that will last forever. I'm sure of that!

Tina T-P said...

I hope that you can get the medicines organized so he can get on with being "Boone" - I know what you mean about trying to hide pills in things - we had a big old ram several years ago who LOVED apples - so when we had to give him a pill, I thought - ok, I'll just hollow out a little bit in this apple, and he'll eat it right up - nothin doin - the big dummy wouldn't even touch it - clamped his jaws together and shook his head. Boy were we mad -

Thanks for your kind words about Sinda too. XOX T.

Donna said...

I am sorry to hear about Boone's diagnosis and prognosis. I love him just based on the stories and photos you have provided for us. I hope for the best for you both.

kristi said...

Tammy, I had 2 newfies and a corgis on those meds before. Be patient as it does take to get the meds all working together. Digoxin and enalapril thankfully have come way down in price esp. for how much one has to dose for the big dogs. I hope all works well for him and you....its so hard with the big guys.

Vicki Lane said...

Finally catching up with you and I hate hearing thank Boone isn't well. But it sounds as if you're doing what can be done. I'm holding the big guy and you in my heart.

Karen Anne said...

I am so sorry about Boone. But glad that he is having a happy life with you.

phylliso said...

Our neighbor had a great dane with various problems like Boone is having.He was a rescue too,just so loving.He once had a turned stomach,& they got him to the right vet on time & he survived.I`m so glad you were able to find out what`s going on with Boone,you are heaven on earth to him & I`ll pray he gets straightened out on his meds & with warmer weather will feel a little perkier again,phylliso

Kathy said...

I am so glad Michelle was able to help! And, that Boone is doing better is a plus. I just hope YOU are taking care of YOU, Tammy.
You're right...this winter sucks and seems like it's been one d----d thing after another.

Thinking of you and your mob there at Fairlight.

I need orange said...

It's always hard to get one of those not-so-good diagnoses.

I'm thinking about both of you as you work to get his dosages squared away.

Hoping for the longest possible amount of good time for him!

Nancy K. said...

You know that Boone is in my prayers! It's almost scary how much I love your dog. But meeting him through the story you told on this blog just placed him deep, DEEP in my heart. He so deserves the love and life you have given ~ and continue to give him. In my mind, you coming to that spot on the road, as Boone laid hurt and near death, and having the compassion and the courage to take him into your life and care for him, is proof that there is a God.

I think you are a wonderful human being, Tammy!

If you need any help paying for his meds, please let me know. I couldn't help a lot, but I'd scrape up whatever I could...

RiverBend Farm said...

I hope it's some comfort knowing what you know about Boone and that you can medicate him and make him comfortable. How sad it is that God's creatures go unnoticed and suffer sometimes. I'm convinced God had His hand in Boone's life when He put Boone in your path.

Michelle said...

What a relief to get back from our weekend and learn that you were finally able to get Boone to the vet. He's on the very drugs Rick thought he'd need, but of course nothing you'd just "have on hand." Sorry we couldn't teleport them to you while you were stuck at home....

Rae said...

Very sorry to hear about the diagnosis. On the other hand, that is one lucky, loved dog. Someone was watching over him the day you found him. Here's to that someone continuing to do so, and that you have as many happy Boone days as possible.