Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunshade's Splenectomy Journey - By Mum (lonnnng)

Hi everyone, I am SO sorry for the lack of updates. I had started on it, but things just got busy and I had to stop in the middle of writing. So sorry if you were worried....

OKAY, here is the whole story, from beginning to end. Hopefully, it will offer some help and HOPE for others going through the same thing with their beloved fur-kids. 


Wednesday, June 20th:

Some of you know, Sunshade (12.5 yr old) became unresponsive at the beach last Wednesday, on June 20th. I have been documenting her ordeal on Facebook, and now I will share it with all you blog followers. I hope you don't mind that a lot will be cut and pasted from Facebook.

On the morning of Wednesday, June 20th, we went for a quick morning walk at a park. She was so happy, she roached on her back beside a piece of garbage,


Came for a head rub, she LOVES these from people she's accepted,


Then she spotted one of her worst nemesis,


And she just had to be a SuperDALE :-)


 12.5 years old, still can't stand those things!!


She tried her best to get rid of them,



After the morning walk, we headed to the apartment where I groomed a beautiful, 5 months old dale pup. 


It was her first time being groomed, so we took things extra slow, with lots of positive association. The session took longer than normal, but Sunshade slept comfortably on the bed. She had a few snacks here and there, but was totally normal and comfortable. When I was finally finished, I got dressed and Sunshade jumped to her feet and started doing her happy dance around me. It had been a long day, so I decided to take her to the beach for a romp. Jaffa had gone for his 3 hour jog earlier and I was told he had passed out in the yard.

We got to the beach, and Sunshade basically played like she did in this video, which was taken on Monday, June 18th, two days before she crashed.


We had walked around the beach park for about an hour, and then we went onto the beach where she barked and spun for me to throw a log for her to swim after it. She retrieved back and forth for at least 6 times, before that last throw. She was still bouncing and barking for me to throw it. She ran into the water after it, swam out to retrieve it, and swam back. On the way back, she dropped the log just before the shore, which I thought was strange because she usually brings them way out, onto the sand and then has a good gnaw on it.  As soon as she reached the shore, I could tell something was wrong. She was getting lower and lower to the ground, swaying a bit, and she wasn't responding to anything. I right away checked her gums because I wondered if she was having a bleed. As soon as I flipped her lip up, I realized her jaws were clamped (very unusual, she usually opens her jaws for me very easily). Her gum colour was good; I pressed down on it, and colour returned upon release. Colour of her tongue was good, although it was clamped between her incisors. I was a little relieved to see that her colour was good, I thought that ruled out a bleed. Still, I knew something was majorly wrong with her and that I needed to get her to a vet asap. I called my family vet clinic which was on the Northshore, so about a half an hour drive without traffic. They were 15 minutes away from closing (6pm), but told me they would keep the clinic open for me. Janice (the vet) and Jen (the vet tech) both stayed to wait for our arrival.

Normally when I take her to this particular beach, I park at their east end parking lot, which would have been a long ways away from where we were at the beach. However, on this day, I was feeling tired after grooming that I decided to park a couple blocks away from the beach, so we wouldn't need to do as much walking. Knowing the car was only a couple of blocks away, I picked Sunshade up, all 63 lbs of her and started walking away from the beach, towards the street. I made it to about a block away where I started to feel all dizzy and I thought I was starting to see stars. So I put her down (she just collapsed, could  not stand) for me to have a break. A jogger across the street saw us, and he came over readily. He was very concerned and asked me if there was anything he could help with. He offered to carry Sunshade the rest of the way to the car, but I declined his offer because Sunshade has a neurological condition that if she struggled while being carried, the spine could potentially get harmed and hastening the existing condition. So I asked this saint of a stranger to please just stay with Sunshade while I went to bring my car over.

Once we were in the car, I drove as fast as I could towards our home clinic. To get to the Northshore from where we were, we needed to go through downtown Vancouver, and then go over one of the two bridges that connected Vancouver to the Northshore. It was rush hour, and we were stuck in a standstill traffic in downtown Vancouver. I turned to check on Sunshade; her eyes were now closed, and her breathing was more laboured. I flipped her lip up again, and I panicked. Her gums were purple and so was her tongue. I quickly took a short video of her breathing and her gum/tongue colour and sent it to Janice, my vet's iPhone (thank you Apple). Janice saw the video and asked me if there were any vet clinics around where I was stuck in traffic. I looked around from where I was in the car, and there was this one tiny clinic to my left, and they were open. This was now around 6:30pm. There was no parking, so I just parked my car, blocking one lane of traffic, and ran across the street into the clinic. I told them I had a dog in the car that I needed help with. The male receptionist of the clinic quickly came out, and together, with the help of passersby stopping the traffic, we lifted Sunshade into the clinic her on her bed. Once they got some basic medical history of Sunshade from me, I went out to move the car. Much to my surprise, I saw another passersby standing by my car, letting cars behind know that there was an emergency so they needed to change lanes. He told me he was worried because my purse was in the car, key was still in the ignition, so he just decided to stay and "watch" the car. I guess when people were getting upset, being stuck behind my car, he took it upon himself to direct the traffic to the other lane.

Once in the clinic, Sunshade was put on oxygen right away because she was unresponsive and purple.


They were concerned about heart and aspiration pneumonia based on what I have had told them. I also told them that she had a splenic nodule that had been stable for over 18 months. They took chest x-rays, and they still couldn't determine what was causing the problem. They did however see that her lungs were clear, meaning no fluids, so no aspiration pneumonia. Her heart appeared normal and not enlarged, and no fluids around, which isn't typical if it was congestive heart failure. They did say her spleen appeared quite big, and asked me if that was normal. I said I didn't know, I just knew she had a 6 cm splenic nodule. I was on the phone with Janice (my vet) at the same time, whom, was still waiting at her clinic to see if Sunshade could be stabilized enough to go over. However, seeing how she wasn't getting any better, we decided that we were going to transfer Sunshade to Can West, our specialty clinic. Janice's concern was that if Sunshade needed to be on oxygen, over night, Can West would have the equipment for it. Remember, we still didn't know what the problem was at this time.

We waited out the rush hour traffic at this little clinic in downtown, and then we headed towards the specialty clinic that was about a half hour drive. Btw, I later on found out that this little clinic I just happen to find while stuck in traffic is only open late on Wednesdays. Any other day of the week, they close at 6. So any other day, I would have been stuck in traffic with Sunshade who was hanging onto her life by a thread, with no vet care.

Sunshade was admitted to Can West Specialty Center around 9pm on Wednesday evening. They took her to the back to do initial assessments, which took almost 2 hours. All her veins were collapsed, so after numerous tries, they had to access a vein surgically.  

Now this marked the start of my 3 day stay at Can West - I was there almost 24/7 with the exception of going home/friend's house to shower. Starting FB updates.....


THURSDAY, June 21st:

4am

At around 11pm last night, the attending vet at the specialty clinic did an ultrasound on Sunshade's abdomen and saw fluids. He stuck a needle in and pulled out blood. So I had to make a decision to,

1) do surgery right away to find bleeding source,
2) wait until tomorrow for the radiologist to come in to do a thorough ultrasound to see signs of spread and then decide course of action, or
3) put her down.


Sunshade's wonderful Auntie Janice (vet) was NOT on vacation this time, thankfully. She stayed with me on the phone, and talked to the attending vet. She also told me that she could open up her clinic right then and do a splenectomy on Sunshade, but she said she would be a little concerned about the aftercare since her clinic wasn't set up to do blood transfusions. Janice, who is a holistic vet didn't think we should wait until tomorrow since Sunshade was having an active bleed. Option 3 was out of the question for both of us at this time. So they called in the surgeon and we went ahead with the surgery at around 12:30 am, Thursday. Janice stayed on the phone with me the whole time. They found the source of the bleeding right away, it her spleen.

Some of you may have read my postings from before where I had mentioned that we found a small splenic nodule in February 2011, three months after the Soft Tissue Sarcoma (cancer) diagnosis. Due to its appearance (non-hemangiosarcoma/histiocytic sarcoma looking), two radiologists, an internal med specialist, and two of our vets unanimously felt that we should take a monitor and see approach. So since then, we had been ultrasounding her spleen every three months. The nodule had grown over the last 18 months, but at a very slow rate. I was told that benign regenerative nodules can and do grow. The appearance remained un-alarming looking. Due to the length of time for the nodule to had been around without signs of metastasis, radiologist and internist again felt it was most likely benign (can grow). I was told that benign growths can still rupture.

Before heading into surgery, the attending vet had told me that it could be other masses that the ultrasound missed before. Sunshade's last ultrasound was less than two months ago, and other than the nodule, everything else was normal. But I understood that cancer can grown and pop up very fast.

Midway through surgery, the attending vet came out to update me. There was a neat "split" in that nodule and that was where Sunshade was bleeding from. He asked me if Sunshade "fell" by any chance, and you know what, SHE DID! At the beach, a few retrieves before that last retrieve. Due to her toes catching herself at times, she sometimes trips and stumbles. Today, while she was on a turn to go after the log I threw, she caught her toes and went splat hard. So it is reasonable to think that the fall had caused the split in the nodule. They suctioned out all the blood, cleaned her abdomen, and didn't see any other masses or signs of spread. So this is very good news, especially we had been very hopeful that the slow growing nodule was benign (we still don't know, have to wait for pathology).

The surgery took less than an hour, which according to Janice, was very speedy. Less time under anesthesia; the better for Sunshade's kidneys and everything else. Her heart rate was very high, which was normal during an active bleed. Her pressure was low normal, which wasn't great for her kidneys. Janice stayed with me on the phone until 2am, when I was allowed to the back to see Sunshade. (In fact... she is still in contact with me via text messages right now asking me what Sunshade's vitals were. It is 4am now.. and she has to be at work at 7am.... I feel terrible I'm keeping so many people up...)



The doc here did tell me that some dogs die even after successful splenectomy, something about their clotting factor being all confused and they don't kick back into action, so Sunshade is still far from home free. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

Again, I am so grateful to have all of you pulling for us.... you got us through this once before, hopefully, history will repeat itself in this case. Sunshade is a lucky girl to have all of you as friends. Big thank yous to Sunshade's Auntie Janice, and Auntie Jen (who saved Sunshade last time when Janice was away). They kept the clinic open for me and waited way past closing time. They only closed when I told them for sure that I wasn't bringing Sunshade in, I was taking her directly to the specialty clinic. Still they kept in touch.


7:00am 


Just went to the back to see Sunshade. They were doing some tests and trying to get a second IV catheter in earlier at 4am, so I didn't want to be in the way and went to their quiet room (I think thats euthanization room..). I just went to the back and she was standing around and panting very heavily. Her heart rate was over 140 which was very worrisome. Recognized me though. The tech told me she was on lower end dosing for pain med bc they thought she was acting too narcotized. I told her Sunshade was VERY stoic with super high pain tolerance that I thought she needed to be on higher dose. So the tech consulted with vet and increased her pain med. Sunshade laid down and nestled her head next to me when I sat down next to her. Heart rate back down to 74 15 mins later.

Janice checked in via text and thought she needed more pain med too.



8:30am

I am back in the "Quiet Room" as they are having a shift change. They need to brief the new team on all the cases, do rounds, so they asked me to step out. The current attending vet did tell me that she would let the next vet know that Sunshade is much calmer with me around, so after the vet does her exams, I could be let back in.

The Quiet Room btw.. is the euthanasia room - I'm sure lots of angels are rooting for Sunshade too right now :-)

I am happy that although this specialty clinic too has a no owners in the back policy like the animal ER we went to couple months ago when Sunshade was dying from sepsis, they are listening to me AND Sunshade to do what is best for her, not just their convenience. They did give me the same talk of "dogs get more anxious/stimulated with owners around so probably not a good thing" talk, but they were at least willing to see what was the best for the dog. I told them I would be perfectly fine leaving if my presence actually makes Sunshade more anxious/excited/not calm. Of course, Janice did call in yesterday to tell the attending vet that the reason I chose them over ER was bc ER did not let me stay with Sunshade and chose to dose her on ACE every 4 hours. So she asked them to let me stay because she knew Sunshade would be better with me.

Thank you all so much for staying with me... I know many of you didn't get a good night sleep and we are sorry to have made you worried. (((Hugs to everyone)))



11:30am


Vet tech came to the Quiet Room to get me. She said they tried taking Sunshade outside to pee but she wouldn't walk with them and wouldn't pee. She hadn't peed since the beach yesterday afternoon so they thought she really needed to. So they wanted me to walk her to see if she would go. Sunshade went pee and poo for me, and would only walk when I was holding the leash. She also walked normally too unlike last time when she was dosed up on ACE by the ER. She is getting very good care here and they are busy, lots of crying whining dogs but they are still accommodating to me being with Sunshade. I'm very thankful for that.


12:00pm

Haha Sunshade is running in her sleep right now, probably finishing up her beach walk :-)


2:00pm 

Sunshade's bloodwork came back, and kidney, liver functions all good, WBC elevated a bit which they expect when there's an inflammation process going on. A little anemic, again expected after a bleed. Albumin a little low which is consistent with a bleed. She is concentrating urine and they are collecting input and output to monitor kidney function (her low blood circulation was a concern for those kidneys). She does have heart arrhythmia which always happens after a bleed and splenectomy, should improve as she continues to stabilize.

I did ask the vet if they did ultrasound on the heart when they ultrasound the abdomen to find blood. And she said no as they were focusing on the bleed. I guess she assumed that I was worried about metastasis (which wasn't what I was thinking but ok), and she told me that of course spread to the heart was a concern but the fact that Sunshade had had this nodule for almost two yrs without signs of metastasis anywhere else makes her think that there would not be a tumour on her heart. But she said if I was worried, I could have a heart ultrasound done when she was stronger. So far she said Sunshade's heart looked to be normal size on X-ray (although doesn't show tumour), and sounded normal too other than the arrhythmia so she wasn't too concerned about the heart.

So overall, I'm happy with the report. Sunshade is hooked up to so many things and yet she looks to be very comfortable. I can't believe the difference between this time and the sepsis episode in April. ACE and ER totally messed her up and made her so restless and uncomfortable and stoned. 





BTW, this is just a recommendation, but I think it's a good idea that every time you have lab tests, ultrasound done on your dog, always ask for a copy of the report and keep them in a file at home. It saves faxing time between your home clinic and the after hour clinic, not to mention, if the crisis arises after hours, you would still have all the info for the after hours vet. I handed them Sunshades folder last night and they had all her health info so they were aware of the history behind her splenic nodule, her reaction to ACE, her kidney problems so they could be careful with the drugs given as well as making sure her pressure maintained during surgery, her neurological/spinal problem so they paid special attention when thy were moving her and intubating her. They got all that info before they even talked to my vet Janice who stayed up ALL night to keep up with Sunshade progress. Janice by the way took the afternoon off today as she had a major migraine going into work today at 7. Good thoughts for Sunshade's Auntie Janice too please. We are still in cell contact.

Thank you everyone, lots of love and good thoughts back to all of you, especially those whose loved ones are also in need of healing vibes and AirePiggieZENS.


3:30pm

Just took her out for a pee, she pees beautifully for me :-) refused their food. They are doing rounds now and shift change.

Going home now for a bit to shower and take Jaffa for a run, then bringing Rotisserie chicken back for Sunshade.

Will bring homeopathic remedy Arnica Montana 200 C to help with post surgery healing and pain.


6:40pm


Rotisserie Chicken always works!! Unfortunately, she was only allowed 4 little shreds of chicken in case she got nauseated. Will feed her more in a couple more hours. 



They've turned down her narcotic since an hour and a half ago and she seems more alert but still comfortable. After the chicken was taken away, she started "nesting" the pillow trying to lie on top of it. I guess these blankets on the floor aren't the memory foam mattresses she's used to sleeping on!!



FRIDAY, June 22nd:

7:00am

Wow thank you so much for all the nice messages you have left on my wall, we feel very loved!!

I have been staying with Sunshade a lot in her stall. My phone ran out of battery last night so I couldn't update.

Starting last night, everytime I took Sunshade out for her pee/poo break, she would find our car, circle it and refuse to move lol. I think she wants to go home!!

The vet Dr. Mark who admitted Sunshade Wednesday evening was the vet here last night and he told me Sunshade is doing remarkably well for an "OLD GIRL" (his words). He said he was very pleased with her progress at less than 24 hrs post op. The only problem she still has is the arrhythmia but there said as long as the heart rate doesn't get over 160 then he's not too concerned. Her arrhythmia is normal post splenectomy especially after a bleed. Her heart sounded good.

I did go back to the Quiet Room for a nap early this morning around 3am. Sunshade is very comfortable in this place and they are really good to her and all the dog patients. So she doesn't get stressed out when I leave for short periods. She has not required any sedatives (no ACE!!).

Just saw her now, she gave me the biggest head rub everyone was laughing. They also think her tail is really cute when it's up and wagging. They told me they have been very happy with her, easy, nice tempered patient :-) Sunshade has seen at least 4 teams of vets and vet techs and they all like her. Some started asking me about the breed and breed characteristics :-)

They had thought when she was first admitted on Wednesday eve that they would need to keep her until at least Sunday given her age and the condition she went in at, but as of this morning, they are trying to wean her off the IV narcotics and start oral. If she does well and continues to eat, then she can probably go home. They said she's acting like she's READY (but no being a pain). It's so cute, I can't tell you how many vet techs that were just meeting Sunshade for the first time asked me how old she was, and every single one of them acted SuperSURPRISED when I did tell them her age. They though she looked awesome, especially the way she is recovering!! Makes me all smiley :-)

This picture was taken just now when I finally got her to lie down after all the head rubs!! She's with her Truman :-)




Oh, and she has been nesting a lot, digging at the blankets and the one pillow trying to gather them all together to lie on. I guess this hotel isn't up to Her Highness's standard ;-)
 
9:40am

There was a shift change, so I went and waited in the Quite Room. Someone knocked on the door, and it was the tech. She said she tried taking Sunshade out herself but no success , so she came to the Quiet Room to get me.

Sunshade was so happy, she thought we were going home...(first pic), then she didn't want to go back in (second pic)!

Peed for me though!



 12:00pm

Back in jail now, but quite a comfy one! With Truman :-)



1:30pm 



Ok this is getting funny. Remember the "no owners in the back" policy right?

I had been in the Quiet Room making some phone calls. I was also waiting to talk to Janice re. what their thoughts were on keeping Sunshade here longer.

Well the techs and assistants now know to come looking for me when it's time for Sunshade to go pee (collect too)/poo. They also come to get me to go sit with her bc she has started to dig at her bed. They can't get her to stop digging and she keeps getting tangled up. So now they ask me to sit with her and keep her tangle free! (what do you expect from Sunshade when there isn't dirt/grass for her to dig holes?? She can't live without digging!!). 





She is now off all IV narcotic so she needs to take oral pain med, and a new tech was trying to fool her by wrapping it in her chicken, and I told him it wouldn't work (but he had to try lol and failed of course). So I pilled her followed by a piece of chicken.

I am more than happy to do all this for Sunshade (even though I know technically I am paying them to do these)!! This is what the ER should have let me do with this particular dog, and not just drug her.

Sunshade is SO ready to go home. Here I was, holding her lines so she could make her bed lol.


7:30pm

Janice (family vet) sent Kate (family tech) to the specialty clinic after work on Friday evening to hand me a "pink" stethoscope. She wanted Kate to check out Sunshade's heart arrhythmia, and also to teach me how to listen/feel for it. Janice was a little concerned at how much arrhythmia Sunshade was still having (VPC 50-75%), even though the specialty clinic was insistent that this was normal. Janice does about 3 splenectomies a month, and she's been in practice for over 15 yrs, so to her, this was not normal. The specialty clinic does major surgeries all the time, and to them, this was normal. 

Unfortunately, an emergency had just came in when Kate got here, and she wasn't allowed to the back to see Sunshade. So I went out to meet her and got a crash course on how to listen/feel heart arrhythmia. Needless to say, when I went to the back to see Sunshade, I hid the "pink" stethoscope. Janice couldn't have picked a more obvious colour!!! 



(I didn't use it lol. It was such a privilege that the center was letting me stay with Sunshade for hours on end rather than the 20 min visiting time. So I was just going to let them do their job unless they asked me to do something.)



10:30 pm

D-Guy came to see Sunshade, she was a happy happy girl. Did her usual between the leg head rubs and tail going non-stop. We took her out for a pee break, thought she had to go poo so walked her more, and then we ended up outside the Macdonald's a block away from the hospital. SuperNOSE at work! 



Sunshade is off all IV narcotic now, only on oral pain control and her heart arrhythmia is resolving. Wound looks excellent. She is still on oxygen just to help her in case she was still anemic.

They are going to try to wean her off Lidocaine later to see how the heart handles it.

That's the update for tonight! Good night everyone :-)


SATURDAY, June 23rd:

8:40am

I'm with Sunshade now. I stayed with Sunshade in her stall until about 1:30am and the my back was killing me. Since Sunshade was sound asleep, I went to the Quiet Room for the night. The QR has been my room for the past three days!

Just now when I walked into the back, the vets and techs gathered around Sunshades stall bc they wanted to see her going all nutty happy wagging her tail. Well missy took one look at me, exposed her belly indicating belly rub time (only a few people she would expose belly to), then she rubbed her head against the blankie (happy). After all that, she decided it was time to get on her feet, and I got the tail wag with in between legs head rub!! The vets and techs were all laughing bc they said Sunshade was so calm and mellow all night, but as soon as she saw me, they could see her personality come out! They said she's their best ever Airedale patient.



I brought a few small pieces of her favorite treats and she was full of anticipation. THEN..... all of a sudden, she gave a convincing snarl to the poor Frenchie that was just being pulled out of his stall next to hers. She thought he was looking at her treats....... oh Sunshade..... She's back!




Scar #6 - it's an impressive one!



11:00am


The hospital got a bit chaotic. Dogs being discharged while emergencies were coming in. I think they really needed Sunshade's stall, so the attending vet gave me an all clear report for discharge talk and asked how I felt about it. Of course I wanted to take Sunshade home, but I wanted to make sure she was ready. After getting the vet to call Janice at her clinic, they decided that it would be fine to discharge Sunshade, but I was to go straight to Janice's clinic for her to check her over. 


Off we went! 


Girl was more than happy to be outta there!


Sunshade trotted into the clinic, and all the way down the hall where she batted at the swing door that leads to the back of the clinic. The back of the clinic is where surgeries, procedures happen at, but she could careless. She was looking for her Auntie Janice (and Auntie Jen who saved her during Easter). As soon as she saw Janice, she went between Janice's legs and did the head rubs. Only very special people get head rubs from Sunshade :-) Janice was equally happy to see Sunshade. She was very relieved to see Sunshade looking quite well. You may remember, Janice stayed up all night on the phone with me when Sunshade was having the emergency splenectomy Thursday @ 12am. 



Anyway, Janice checked Sunshade all over while Auntie Kate (vet tech) fed Sunshade treats. Auntie Jen was luckily, off this time. Now with Sunshade's heart, Janice and Kate listened to it together while feeling her pulses. Apparently, it's the way to check for arrhythmia. I kept seeing the techs at the specialty clinic do it, but I wasn't sure what they were doing then. Janice explained that pulse and heart beat should synchronize, if you get a beat without a corresponding pulse, that's arrhythmia. They listened for 5 minutes while Sunshade stood around, and not one arrhythmic beat. It makes me think that maybe the specialty clinic was getting more arrhythmic beats because Sunshade was more stressed there. She had no stress at her Auntie Janice's clinic so no arrhythmic beats! Janice and all of the vets at the specialty clinic all said Sunshade's heart and lungs sounded clear and strong (even when she was having arrhythmia). I am still going to go forward with a heart ultrasound when she's better, but my gut feeling tells me this girl's heart is just a SuperHEART ;-) 




We have decided to keep Sunshade on slow IV drip at home for another couple of days to provide enough hydration for her kidneys without being too much for her heart (in case there in an underlying heart condition), and not dilute her blood too much since she is still mildly anemic (31%).

Sunshade was very happy to be home, except, she wanted to stay in the yard, under her fort (in the dirt hole) to be exact. Of course, after the sepsis episode during Easter, I stopped her before she could lie down and dragged her inside..... into the x-pen. Hooked up her IV... NOT a happy pup! The piggies were out in the yard, when we came home, she headed straight over to checked on all of them :-) Jaffa, well, he was over the moon to see Sunshade. He started licking and biting at her face because he couldn't control his excitement. Sunshade, well, she wasn't too excited about seeing her STINKY... lol!!




Sunshade's Auntie Ellen wrote her a lecture. So I wrote everything Ellen wrote, down on a piece of paper and put it in Sunshade's x-pen for her to read and remind herself. She made a few changes of course ;-)



Sunday, June 24th:

Sunshade was really starting to feel better,


Almost back to her oldself!!


The spark in her eyes was coming back :-)



Look at the power she still had over Jaffa, even when she was in the pen!! I wanted a picture of them close to each other, so I put Jaffa in a sit stay beside the x-pen. 



Look at my browbeaten child!! OH Jaffa..... OH Sunshade!!!



I still had the pink ultrascope (it wasn't just a stethoscope as I was later on told!) with me. I was suppose to monitor the arrhythmia. 


  
So I used the ultrascope wisely :-)


That's as close as Jaffa was going to get - an ultrascope away from the Queen *B!


The evening of Sunday, June 24th also marked the launch of Sunshade's Sunshine Fundraiser site.....


While I was still at the hospital with Sunshade, a few of my Facebook friends came up with the idea of a fundraiser to cover Sunshade's medical bill. I had used up almost all of my savings back in April when she had sepsis, so I was going to increase my credit card limit and then find a way to pay (sell my car most likely). There was no way Sunshade wasn't going to get the medical treatments she needed for lack of funds. When I went to pay the final bill after Sunshade was discharged from the specialty hospital, I was told that my bill had been paid for in full. A few of Sunshade's Facebook and real life Aunties had called in and taken care of the bill. 


These amazing Aunties set up the site, did the write up for the site (click on image to read), managed and promoted the site tirelessly while I was focusing on getting Sunshade better. 

This was the video for Sunshade's Fundraiser, 




Monday, June 25th:


She continued to get better! 



First thing Monday morning, I took her in to our vet to have the catheter that was sewed into her hock vein pulled. It was sewed because Sunshade had lost so much blood when she went to the specialty clinic Wed evening that all her veins were collapsed. They needed to surgically locate a veins to put catheters in. Yes, she needed more than one vein and she was needing blood transfusion, IV, drugs, more drugs. The hock catheter was left in upon discharge because we were planning on doing more IV at home since her kidneys were showing signs of distress. 

We drew more blood, her PCV was at 39% vs. the 31% on Saturday (normal is 40% and up). So her bone marrow was working very hard to make red blood cells!! Good news there! A new catheter was put in in one of her front legs. Sunshade was her preppy self, barking, whining, and following her Aunties around the clinic wanting treats!! They told me they thought Sunshade was bored out of her mind (being stuck in hospital and then the x-pen), so they said I could take her to a park and sit with her. No running, but sitting around so she gets a change of scenery.

So I bought lunch, and we went to a nearby park to sit and eat!



She sang for me as I ate :-)


She did a tongue twister at the sight of the marinated egg!


Sunshade's BACK!!!


After all she'd been through, she deserved the egg!


 And she got to lick the bento box clean. Not the best for her, but she was so happy!


The t-shirt is just to protect her incision from getting dirty.


Tuesday, June 26th:

We went back to the clinic again for another check up. She was doing well, nothing of concern there. Her vet, Auntie Janice wasn't in on Monday, so she wanted to see Sunshade again. Janice heard about the fundraiser that our friends were doing for us, so she decided to donate an acupuncture session too to the SuperDALE :-)


Sunshade's blood result came back too. Her kidneys were happier, but we were still going to continue with IV at home.

Wednesday, June 27th:


Sunshade was really getting a bad case of cabin fever from being stuck inside the x-pen. Everytime I took her out to the yard to pee (and I had to do a lot because of the IV), she would refuse to go back inside. So I decided to move the IV, and everything outside for the day so she could get some fresh aire!



As I was getting things from inside the house, she was doing this!! Girl loves to dig sooooo much, any opportunity she gets.


IV all hooked up, being a good girl.... for now.....


Until she spotting something I had on the table!


She wanted it!!


 If I wasn't going to help her to it, she was getting it HERSELF!


Manners first Sunshade....


Yes???


Ok you win.....


Good tripe stick Sunshade??


Every time she looked like she wanted to move, I would unhook her IV, let her walk around until she's settled, and then hook her back on IV.



Thursday, June 28th:


Almost a week since the splenectomy, it was time to stop the IV and see if her kidneys could pull their own weight. 

Here I was unwrapping the bandage, 



And taking the catheter out. Sunshade is so used to me (and her vets) messing with her that she just lets us without putting up any fuss. Such a GOOOOOD girrrrrrrl.



Friday, June 29th:


I started grooming again. When Sunshade got sick suddenly, I cancelled all my grooming bookings for the next week. Seamus the Irish Terrier was my first one back. What a NICE boy he was. Sunshade fell head over heels in love... because he *ahem* had FULL gear :-)

We went for a short walk together because Sunshade was a little too much for the 2.5 yr old Seamus lol...


They looked so cute together, walking side by side, 



I think Sunshade would like an Irish boyfriend!!


"Can I bring him home mum???"


I have to say, it's hard not to love these Irish Terriers! Every single one that I have met have all been soooo great in every way. Even the intact males are GREAT! I think if I ever have to downsize, this is the breed I'll go to.


Miss Happy Hussy Girrrrrrrrl @ 8 days after her splenectomy,


I was so happy to see Sunshade back to her flirty, playful self. Seamus was also a great boy to groom. Could my day get any better???

YES!!!

Sunshade's pathology report came back on the splenic nodule - BENIGN!!!


It seems as though Sunshade has once again stunned the medical profession. We have learned all her life that Sunshade is NEVER a text book case with whatever that is going on with her. Below is what the pathologist wrote (in case you can't see it from the picture):

"It is very rare for me to get a history like this where a splenic mass has actually been monitored for two years before finally being removed as a medical necessity. My initial four sections have captured spleen with a huge amount of hematopoiesis, sinusoidal thrombosis with immature fibrin thrombi compatible with recent trauma, and then areas of nonselective infarction. I do not see any evidence of Hemangiosarcoma in any of these four sections. There is nothing that even comes close. My inclination is to interpret this as splenic nodular hyperplasia that has undergone traumatic injury leading to necrosis, hemorrhage, and rupture (in just about any order!)

DIAGNOSIS: Splenic nodular hyperplasia with recent necrosis, hemorrhage and rupture, but no evidence of Hemangiosarcoma."

I remember the feeling of being able to breath freely once again....

When Sunshade recovered from sepsis, I remember people were telling me that she must be part C-A-T because she had 9 lives. This time around, people are saying she has more lives than a cat! It sure feels like we have escaped death door, yet again.


Sunday, July 1st - CANADA DAY:

It turned out to be a monumental day!!

Sunshade and Jaffa wore their maple leaf bandanna. They celebrated Canada Day with the piggies,


When Jaffa went with his walker, Sunshade did this :-)



Sunshade inhaled the chew she carried home from Bosley's. When Jaffa came back from his run, I gave him a chew too.  Look at Miss Piggie watching him with her tongue out!


Then.... less than a week after the launch of Sunshade's Fundraiser..... I was told that we had no only reached our goal, but exceeded it..... 


Sunshade's Thank You video :-)



THANK YOU everyone!!! I'm CERTAIN that all of your prayers, good thoughts, ZENS worked, and our prayers were answered. This has been quite an experience that it's hard to put into words. The only "bad" part about this experience is that Sunshade got so sick, but the rest has been nothing short of a amazing. We witnessed the "good" in people, and came to realize truly, how many good souls we are surrounded by. The world of dog lovers (not just Airedales or terriers even, but the entire dog realm) rallied for us, for Sunshade to get better. We have been deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support for me and my special girl from people we knew, as well as total strangers who just wanted Sunshade better. She is better today because of YOU - Sunshade's Guardian Angels ♥

The monetary donations were awesome, but the support, prayers and well wishes were the biggest contributions, and the true heart of this amazing experience. You have touched us more than you know, and we will be forever grateful. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for everything (((♥))) Please know that if any of your loved ones were sick, I would do the same thing for you as you have done for me. 

Sunshade celebrated with her dear horsie,


The celebration......



 She beat the horsie in stamina alright..... LOL! SuperDALE!!!



Tuesday, July 3rd:


12 days after surgery! Time to get the staples out!!



Janice said Sunshade looked great and her heart sounded completely normal. So she has been cleared to resume normal activity, including BEACH & swimming. I think I will still take it easy with her for another few days at least.


  
They saved Sunshade's staples for me because "they are $300 a piece!!" (I quote).


Sunshade at her best......

Sunshade has been on cooked food since her emergency splenectomy. However, my vet has cleared her for raw food, which is my preference. So after our appointment, I went to the natural pet food store next door to buy some raw food. I saw a new brand of raw food that's in little nugget forms. Thought I would give it a try. Bought a 6 lb frozen pack.

Could see traffic was going to be bad going home, so quickly ran back to the clinic to use the washroom.

Came out less than 5 minutes later, saw she had dragged the 6 lb bag of raw food from the front seat to the back. Had opened both ends, and was happily eating the FROZEN nuggets. (The white tub was her breakfast, that I left with her before going to the washroom). She never cared for frozen raw stuff, this must be a yummy brand.




There is a lot of controversy around whether or not a raw diet should be fed to a dog without a spleen. (Heck, there is a lot of controversy involving raw feeding to begin with!!) It is said the immune system of a dog without a spleen would be weaker and there would be an increase risk at infections etc.

My holistic vet who is an advocate of raw had me cook her food for two weeks following the splenectomy just to make things easier for her to digest. Now that she has cleared Sunshade to go back on raw, she feels Sunshade would do fine on either raw or cooked. She said it was my choice.

So I have decided to continue with the raw diet. This was a very personal decision and I hope it is the "right" decision for Sunshade. Sunshade was raised on CRAP CRAP CRAP kibble until almost 2 years of age. She grew so fast, I put her in agility at 7 months old, she had a fall off the top of the A-Frame and permanently injured one of her elbows. The elbow injury resulted in Rimadyl being prescribed, which lead to overdose (horrible vet), and permanent kidney damage. Not to mention, it did nothing to help the elbow pain/limp. It wasn't until she was 2 yrs old did I start a holistic regiment that included diet change to all raw, low carb, no grains did she start to get better. She has been on raw for almost 11 year now and has done quite well. I've had to do a lot of catching up due to the bad nutritional start she had early on in her life, and then worked very hard to get to where we are today.

She will be 13 in November this year. Her two litter brothers that I know of, both passed away early this year, just after their 12th birthday. Those boys were owned by different families, brought up on good quality kibbles, and never a health problem until shortly before they passed away. This was not the case with Sunshade. She has always had health issues, and yet she's still here with me. So I can't help but think raw has done her very good, and I will continue with the diet unless something changes.

That's about it on our emergency splenectomy journey. Again, thank you for staying on this sometimes rocky, bleak looking journey with us and seeing us through! We couldn't have done it without you!!

Love to all of you and your fur-babies!!

A very humbled Elaine......

2 comments:

Mitch and Molly said...

You are a trooper, Sunshade, and you have one outstanding and very loving mum! We were leaky throughout most of this post but towards the end the tears turned to smiles. What's better than smiling through tears, right?
We love you, Sunshade - now and forever and ever and the same goes for your awesome mum!

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

Mango said...

I followed the saga as it unfolded on FB. I am amazed and delighted that Sunshade pulled through and is back to her old self. She is, as always, The Super Dale!

Mango Momma

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