As many of you know, I have a senior sister, Katie, who has dog mobility issues as well as several other health problems. Her back end has been losing strength for some time now, but lately she has been falling a lot, so I got her a harness to help her out. [Read more…]
This week is the three year anniversary and the final FitDog Friday Blog Hop. It is rather sad to say farewell to a blog hop we participated in regularly, and eventually became a cohost of. Times change in the blogging world, and it is time to move on. No worries, though, I will still be a fit dog, and continue to post a lot about canine fitness! [Read more…]
I have a condition known as chronic lip fold dermatitis. Many dogs suffer from occasional lip fold issues, and for some of us, it becomes a chronic problem. The horrid, foul odor coming from your dog’s mouth area will let you know your dog has a problem! Many pet parents are at a loss as to what to do for their dog, and many have asked me for advice. I’m going to talk about the causes, why it needs to be treated, and several treatment options. I’m not a veterinarian, and am only sharing my knowledge of this condition and information I have found to be useful. Please consult with your own veterinarian before starting any treatment. [Read more…]
Mom tends to always expect the unexpected, but when Dr. Olson, the cardiologist found a mitral valve tumor in Katie’s heart, that was really nothing we ever thought of, let alone knew existed. We all went to the vet last week expecting to find nothing much new, maybe Katie’s heart murmur had gotten worse, but we were ready for that. When Katie was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and sent to the cardiologist, we were not worried as it could be controlled with medication. Finding an actual tumor in her heart was a shock.
We have noticed some changes in Katie’s behavior the past month or two, but had figured it was coming from her heart murmur issue. None of the things we noticed warranted a vet visit, Mom just kept mental notes on the changes Katie was having such as being a bit confused, heavy breathing for no reason, falling a bit more, her usual symptoms just at a bit of an increased level.
After listening to her heart with the stethoscope, Dr. Olson hooked Katie up to the EKG machine. It took several tries to capture the heart rate increase but we did eventually get it. At some points it was going up to 260 beats per minute from her normal 100 – 120 beats per minute. That excessive beating is hard on the heart, and can be really uncomfortable for the dog.
Chest x-rays were also taken. Her heart and lungs look great, especially for her age. There was nothing abnormal on the photos at all. Katie had a chest x-ray six months ago and it was also perfect, so we had no reason to suspect the heart murmur was an indication of anything other than old age.
The echocardiogram was the most interesting, and where she found the mitral valve tumor. Katie had to be shaved a bit in two spots, but with all her fur, we can’t even see those spots! She was such a good patient! Katie held still for all the tests and never once tried to rip off wires or anything. Mom was very proud of her.
Dr. Olson was amazing. She whipped through all the different views of Katie’s heart like the back of her own hand. Mom was trying to follow along, but it was not easy. She had views of the heart from all different angles. Unfortunately, at one point she saw a “mass”. Mom didn’t ask what she mean by a mass because she was hoping it didn’t mean a tumor.
After seeing the “mass” from several different spots, she did ask, and it is a tumor. Who would ever think of a tumor in the heart? Not us! After getting home and digesting the findings, Mom checked online and sure enough, it is possible but is extremely rare. There is also no known cause for these tumors. Many are benign, but it really doesn’t matter for Katie because there is nothing we can do to stop it. Katie fit the profile on PetMD to a tee.
This is a shot of that nasty tumor which is now 1.2cm long. The only option is removal through open heart surgery, which is not possible, so it will stay and grow, and most likely suffocate Katie. We couldn’t tell exactly from the echocardiogram, but it looks like the tumor is already either wrapping around the exterior of the heart, or crossing through the septum inside the heart. MRI’s and CT’s don’t work with hearts as they need to be still, so there is no other way to see what is going on in Katie’s heart. If Katie is still doing fairly well in three months, we can go back for another echocardiogram to see how much the tumor has grown. As it grows, she may start to faint now and then, get weaker, lose her appetite, and other signs of heart failure. We are already seeing some of these things in mild form. She is now taking medication to help regulate her heart rate. Thank you so much to Dr. Olson. She is really good at what she does and we feel so comfortable with her recommendations.
After having days to think it all over, it really doesn’t change much for us. We already knew Katie was slowly failing, but now we know the cause. She is still a happy girl and enjoys getting out for her walks, so we will continue to spoil and take care of her as we have been. At least the tumor is painless, and she won’t really notice anything different in her life.
Why are we posting this on FitDog Friday? Because one thing we hear from our vet all the time, and the cardiologist, is what good shape Katie is in for her age. Having had a healthy lifestyle her entire life has really helped her stay as healthy as she has at almost fourteen years old. She is a large breed and still enjoys walking and getting out to do things as much as she can. Had she been overweight, had a poor diet, or poor physical condition, she would have passed a couple years ago. It is important to help your dog lead a healthy lifestyle! We are also fans of pet health insurance as these bills add up quickly, and if you start on a plan when your dog is young, you won’t need to worry about pre-existing conditions not being covered, and your rates may be lower.
If anything changes, we will let you know. For now, we are just enjoying our time with Katie and helping her enjoy life as much as she can.
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!
I took a visit to Sherwood Forest with my mom last weekend on our mommy and me day. This is a photo of the sign at the beginning of the forest. [Read more…]
Does your dog have healthy teeth? February is National Pet Dental Health Month. I thought it would be a good time to go over our dental regimen, and tell you how we keep our chompers in top condition. [Read more…]
What is a StarWalk™ dog activity monitor from iQ Pet? As you know if you are a regular blog reader or social media fan, I’m a big lover of fitness. We spend a lot of time running, walking, playing, and doing sports. The StarWalk dog activity monitor is a great way for me to keep track of how much activity I’m really getting, and I can even set goals! [Read more…]
Walking a senior dog in the winter can be a challenge if you live where there is snow, ice, and cold weather. It can be even more challenging if your senior dog has arthritis or other issues with walking in general. [Read more…]
Today I’m going to talk about how to prevent ear infections in dogs. Any dog can get an ear infection, but those of us with long floppy ears are much more likely to have the problem, and if your inner ears are hairy like mine, you are destined for ear trouble! I first posted about how I cured my chronic ear infections back in 2012. [Read more…]