Over the past couple of weeks, it got pretty bad. Again, the weather has been strange, windy and hot and my allergies have been bad so I sort of thought that his might be too but I was keeping a close eye on him. We started to notice some weakness in his legs. They would tremble sometimes and he started taking little breaks on walks. The strangest thing was that he was off his food a bit (still ate but picked at it, only got really excited if it was something sort of smelly).
The weekend was pretty tough and I got him back into the vet yesterday. I wasn’t sure what we were dealing with. I thought it could be heartworm (he’s on a preventative but who knows right?), possible COPD (not uncommon in senior dogs and he’s 10 now), a flu/pneumonia or lung cancer. It turns out that when he saw the vet, his heart was beating out of control, he had arrhythmia. Not good. Many dogs have heart murmurs but arrhythmia was uncommon. Sam went for a chest x-ray and the results were alarming. His heart his severely enlarged. This could be caused by a couple of things: heart disease or a malignant tumour in his heart. If it’s heart disease, that’s treatable and if he responded well to medication, he could have some good years ahead of him. If it’s cancer, well, that’s bad. There is also a possibility, regardless of which thing it is, that he could die suddenly at any time due to his condition.
We were sent home with some drugs to try. He’s taking Vetmedin (Pimobendan) which is used to manage congestive heart failure. He's getting one 1.25 mg pill every 12 hours, one 20 mg Furosemide (similar to Lasix, treats build of fluid due to heart disease - he presently has some fluid in his lungs that was seen on the X-ray) and one 5 mg Fortekor (benazepril hydrochloride) which is used to treat heart failure. Next week we’ll go back for another X-ray. They will be able to tell if the medication is helping and if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, Sam will need an echocardiogram so we can find out if there is a growth or not.
It’s scary. I was a mess driving home from Sydenham. I cried pretty much all of the way home. He’s been such a good sport. Sam’s being great about taking his meds and is being his good old goofy self (which makes this easier and harder at the same time). I have no idea what the next few weeks are going to be like for him (or me) but I’m going to spend as much time as possible with him while we figure out what is going on. He can be a bit of jerk at times but he’s my jerk and I love him. Since Mark died, he gets onto my bed every night and keeps me company. I can’t imagine what I’m going to do without him but I’m trying not to think about that right now.