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Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:13 am
by SusanT
Me too! I'm doing her grooming myself these days and I try to keep her body between 1/4" and 1/2" and her legs more fluffy. We've had a much colder and snowier winter than usual this year so I've let her go a bit longer in the body than usual. But I see signs of spring, so I'll have to get out my tools and go to work in a week or so. The tulips and daffodils are breaking ground and I passed a forsythia with several open blossoms on our walk yesterday. I love spring! And so does Jennie.

There are two retention ponds that we can pass on our walks and lately she has seen mating pairs of ducks on them. She get's so excited and wants to go down to the water sooo badly! We saw 2 pairs of Mallards and 1 pair of Buffleheads. And the robins have been out in force this week, so Jennie is on lawn patrol. They are just a bit too big to be allowed in her yard.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:01 am
by SusanT
Well my sweet little puppy isn't close to a puppy anymore. Jennie turns three today! It's hard for me to believe it's been that long. I met her when she was 2 weeks old and she came home with me at 8 weeks and 1 day.

She has grown into a lovely little girl. We walk for an hour every day and she wants to meet every person she sees. She will stand on her hind legs and wave her front paws to invite them to come see her. Her little nubbie wags so hard I'm always amazed she doesn't fall over. She knows she is supposed to sit to be petted, so as soon as someone starts to move in her direction, she plants her rump on the ground and waits. If they approach her from the side, she will turn her shoulder and lean against their legs to invite a belly rub. She's such a little goof. :love

She has the softest mouth of any dog I've ever had. Her new favorite toy is a cat toy that we call 'bug'. He has a string that you pull to make him jiggle. She's had him for almost 2 months and he is still working and in great condition. She carries him around and sleeps with him at night. When she wants him to jiggle she brings him to me. I put him on the floor and then pull his string. She waits very impatiently until I let the string go and say 'Go Bug' as he starts to scoot away. She tries to pick him up before the string runs out... I think she likes the feel of him jiggling in her mouth. Here she is napping with him....

File comment: Jennie napping with Bug
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She still has every stuffed toy I've ever given her, so we rotate them in and out of her toy box. She gets really excited to see them when they haven't been out of the box for a while. She carried her little pink bunny around the house starting right before Easter and we just switched it for her purple Gorilla, George.

She makes my life complete and I'm so lucky to have found her.

Happy Birthday Jennie!

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:25 pm
by Terry T.
Holy Cow, THREE already! :bday :cake Happy Birthday sweet Jennie.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:15 am
by morewineplease
Love reading your updates on Jennie. She's such a cutie!!! She's about the same age as my Ruger (we don't know his age for sure though, just a guesstimate). I know what you mean as Ruger makes my life complete too. He also loves his belly rubs. So funny about "bug"!!

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:07 pm
by SusanT
Yesterday morning Jennie had what my vet called a "collapse event". I heard a thunk and found her on the floor by the front door. She was "standing" on her front legs, but her back legs were out to either side of her and she was shaking all over. I ran for my cell phone to document what was happening and she tried to follow me. She only made it a few feet and when I got back she was laying down in a fairly normal way, except she was still shaking. I sat down next to her, petting her and talking to her while trying to observe as much as I could. After a few minutes, she stood up, shook herself and went to look out the front door.

She seemed back to normal but I was pretty scared so I called the vet right away. They got us a quick appointment and we went in. She was her usual self... wanting to meet everyone she saw. Her temp was a little elevated (102.5) and she was panting a lot, but she was excited so that's not too unusual. I was shocked when the vet said they wanted to do an ultrasound and take a look at her heart. They came back with her a bit later and said that she had a partially enlarged heart and some signs of hypertension. She's only 3 1/2!

The vet recommended blood work to determine if there are proteins in her blood that may indicate heart damage. They sent the ultrasound to a canine cardiologist and he agreed that there is "slight enlargement" of the left ventricle. The blood test results should be back next Tuesday and then we'll know more about how serious this is.

Needless to say, I'm in total shock. She likes to sleep downstairs so I slept on the couch last night to be nearby if she has any issues. She found it very strange to find me there this morning. She jumped up on me to wake me up at the usual time and had a quick snuggle before wanting to go outside. She has seemed pretty normal today but of course I'm being a total helicopter parent.

It's supposed to rain all day so we may not take our usual walk. Tomorrow is supposed to be dry. The vet said I should continue to walk her but suggested 2 half-hour walks instead of our usual 1 hour. I'm supposed to be alert for signs of respiratory distress (panting, wanting to sit, etc) and to let her set the pace for our walks for the near future.

I've read some of the other threads from those of you that have dealt with heart issues in the past. I will be grateful for any advice that you can give me on what to expect and what questions I should ask when I next see the vet.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:35 pm
by Terry T.
Susan, I'm sorry to hear that Jennie had an episode. I hope that the doctors can get to the bottom of the problem and that it can easily be treated. Little Jennie is in my thoughts and prayers. Hard to wait, but be strong and positive. :hp

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:19 am
by Cici
That is so very scary!! I would be a mess. I hope the doctor can get to the bottom of this and perhaps give you some tips on how to handle it if it ever happens again. Hope not!

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:19 pm
by SusanT
Thank you all for your kind thoughts. It's been a rough couple of days and I'm afraid the news has not been good.

Jennie has been diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

This is how the Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine describes it:

"DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability. As the disease progresses the heart chambers become enlarged, one or more valves may leak, and signs of congestive heart failure develop. The cause of DCM is unclear in most cases, but certain breeds appear to have an inherited predisposition. Large breeds of dogs are most often affected, although DCM also occurs in some smaller breeds such as cocker spaniels. "

I was totally unaware that our beautiful Cockers could have heart disease in their lines. I would have been so much more careful of Jennie's weight and activity levels if I had known. Now I'm left wondering if I have pushed her too hard on walks when her heart was having difficulty. She is a little overweight (about 2 pounds) but I would have kept her slimmer if I had known. It just breaks my heart to think that I may have made this condition worse or made it come on earlier through my ignorance.

Tomorrow, Jennie goes in for an Echocardiogram. I'll drop her off at noon and they'll call me when she's done. They don't want to sedate her because she had a bad reaction to anesthesia when she was spayed (her spleen became enlarged) but she is such a little wigglebutt that they may have to. They are hoping by having her there for a while before doing the test that she will have calmed down and will cooperate. Fingers crossed!

Once that is done and has been reviewed by the cardiologist, we'll discuss treatment options. Evidently there are some meds that may help (such as an ACE Inhibitor or other high blood pressure meds) but the bottom line seems to be that this disease will progress and Jennie's life will be shortened as a result. We just won't know by how much.

So I'm trying to be positive and have resolved to enjoy what time I will have with her and not focus on the fact that it won't be as much as I would have wished.

I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:21 am
by Darra
Thank you for the update. Sending prayers that meds will help Jennie live a long and comfortable life!

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:08 pm
by Terry T.
First thing, Susan, is that you need to stop blaming yourself. I would not have suspected something like this. I know there are a lot of health issues with cockers due to bad breeding and greed. It sounds more like some kind of a possible birth defect, but many times those are found in hindsight.
Jennie is young, and if weight is a concern, then she can drop a few pounds. Sounds like you have a good medical team.
Positive thoughts coming your way.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:36 am
by SusanT
Thank you Darra and Terri. I appreciate your kind words more than you can know.

The echo went well and they did not have to sedate her. This morning she has been her usual silly self, chasing squirrels out of the back yard and "monitoring" the other dogs walking through our neighborhood.

My vet will send the echo off to the cardiologist today and expected to hear back by Wednesday. Until then, Jennie and I are going to continue taking two 1 mile walks each day instead of one 2 mile walk. And I am measuring out her food carefully instead of 'guesstimating' so she doesn't get over fed. The vet checked and found that Jennie was 2.5 pounds lighter at her appointment last year in August. She feels Jennie will benefit from losing the extra weight that has crept on this year.

Wish me luck!

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:55 am
by beckyboo
I am so sorry to hear about Jennie! I had a maine coon kitty who had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. he lived 11 years and died just recently last month (of a completely different problem) Don't give up with medicine she may do quite well for a long time.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:51 am
by SusanT
Thank you Rebecca.

This week I have 2 appointments to have Jennie's blood pressure checked prior to her going on an ACE inhibitor. When they did the echo, her systolic bp was 220. It should be around 150. I took her in yesterday and they let me hold her while they did the bp. This time it was 180, still too high but much better. We go in tomorrow for the second one and then the vet will set the dose for her meds.

Of more concern to me, she had gain .7 pound since Dec 1st. That is despite my careful feeding and still taking our 2 1-mile walks each day. I mentioned it to the tech who did the bp, but I'll make sure they tell the Vet at tomorrow's appointment. I'm wondering if it is water weight? And if so, will an ACE inhibitor help get that back in control? I haven't done any research online yet, but I will today.

In any event, she hasn't had another episode and has been very much her usual silly self, so I'm hopeful we can get this all under control. I'll keep you posted.

Re: What's up with Jennie?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:08 am
by SusanT
It turns out that ACE inhibitors do help reduce the water and sodium retention that can come with some heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure. So it will be interesting to see what happens with her weight once she is on the medication.

I looking back, I realized that I never posted the results of the echo. They found three problems.

1. Her left atrium shows some enlargement, indicating that side of her heart is pumping harder. That is the side the pushes blood out to the whole body, so it could be enlarged due to the increased blood pressure.

2. Her mitral valve showed some issues. I couldn't follow it all, but it generally sounded like one or more of the 'leaves' of the valve didn't close completely every time.

3. Her left ventricle 'collapses' sometimes after contracting. Not every time. But the chamber may not have filled completely before the next contraction so the volume of blood circulating could be reduced.

They saw no abnormalities on the right side, which pushes blood to the lungs.

So overall, the vet indicated that getting the blood pressure under control was the first step. After that, we'll see if her heart function improves, stays the same or continues to degrade.