Jan 16, 2010

Lucie's Visit to Texas A and M

On Wednesday, January 13 I took Lucie to Texas A and M to be evaluated. I have always heard that for major issues that Texas A and M is the best place to get answers. We had a great experience there and met lots of very nice people. We spent the day there during which they completed a ton of tests. She started with internal medicine, then was reviewed by a neurologist and then an orthopedic surgeon. She also went through a bunch of other tests. They completed the ultrasound again and we now have a clear understanding of the suspected vena caval aneurism.

This is a normal dog heart. In my basic terms, blood flows through the heart up into the aorta, through the back end organs of the dog, then it comes back to the heart through the vena cava.

This is a rough look at Lucie. Her vena cava ends. Some blood has been pooling there which has created a large blood clot. Small hepatic veins are bringing the blood back to the heart instead of it going through the vena cava.

This is a congenital defect. Surgery is not an option. Since the vena cava is a vein it has very thin skin which leaves her at a high risk for the aneurism to burst which would be fatal. There is also the possibility that the blood clot could break up sending smaller clots through her body or new smaller clots could form. If this occurs it would most likely be fatal. These things have been extremely difficult for me to hear and accept. Basically, she could go at any time. For me this is something that I wish I didn't know about. Each time I leave her to go anywhere I say goodbye as if it were the last time because you just never know. She is taking a ultra low dose aspirin and Plavix in an effort to reduce the chances of clots.

As for the issue with her getting up with her back legs, they completed new X-rays and her hips are perfect. The orthopedic surgeon was not able to pop out either of her hips but one of them moved slightly. Their diagnosis is hip dysplasia but I'm just not buying it and neither is my vet since she does not display the symptoms that a dog with hip dysplasia does. So we really don't know any more about her back legs now than we did then. We are continuing to give her Rimadyl for pain.

One of the blood tests did show protein in her urine which could mean issues with her kidneys so we have started her on an ACE-inhibitor to help control her protein loss. They also gave me worm medicine for her because there is a type of worm that can effect the kidneys and cause this protein loss. Being a spoiled house dog I can't imagine that she has any type of worms.

Texas A and M is located about 3 hours from us. We drove down early in the morning to make our appointment at 10 a.m. then returned that evening. I can't remember the last time I was that tired. It was a very stressful day but I am glad that we made the trip.

I have to say that I was impressed the most by what happened on my way home. I was about 1 hour into my trip home and I received a call from Dr. Johnson our primary Vet. Our Vet at Texas A and M had called him right after we left and let him know everything that they had done and what they wanted to do for her. My head was pretty much spinning after I had left the clinic so it was great to talk to Dr. Johnson. He helped me sort through all of the information which put me more at ease.

We are going to complete blood tests again in two weeks to see if there are any changes. They have several additional tests that they would like to complete but at this point we have done everything that we can to improve her life. The additional tests which may be good academically for them to complete, will not change how she is treated so we will not put her through them.

Lucie's quality of life is all that is important to us now. That phrase "quality of life" has always scared me. I knew when Dr. Johnson told me that when K-8 got sick it was not good and then with Zoe. But with Lucie it is a little bit different. Lucie could live for 15 years. She has been thriving since she was a puppy with these major issues and outside of seeing that it takes her a little bit longer than a normal dog to get up you would think she was fine. Just today she had a good game of bitey face with Addie during her visit to see Dr. Johnson. We are going to let her enjoy her life and have fun. She has made it this far, we just know she has a long life ahead of her.

Thank you very much to all of our friends out there! You have no idea how much your support is appreciated. Special thanks to Mary for offering to have lunch with me while we were in College Station. That was so very sweet of you! It made us feel like we were not alone there. Next time we are in town, if you are not busy we will take you up on that. I have included her complete results below if anyone is interested in viewing them.

30 Treats:

Maggie and Mitch said...

This is a lot of scary information to digest!
Our paws are crossed for Lucie! We pray that you live for a long, long time!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Thank you very much for the pupdate -

I'm sure it is quite emotionally draining to share and share and share but it is very much appreciated -

She's quite the gift - and as you posted on FB, you'll appreciate her for all the time you have!

When it comes down to it, how many of us know how much time any of 'us' have SO we need to make the most and best of what we do have!

Khyra and Her Mom

Morgan in Pittsburgh said...

So many problems for such a young girl. She is blessed to have you.

Kari in WeHo said...

im so sorry that the news wasnt better. give yourself time to let it digest with lots of cuddles

Emma Rose said...

We are so sorry to hear this. But we hope you are right and Lucie has a long life ahead of her. We will continue to keep her in our prayers. (And you too!)

The OP Pack said...

We have been wondering how Lucie was doing. You certainly got very good explanations from Texas A&M. Scary, but we think it is always better to know up front what is going on. We hope you have a long time yet to come to enjoy your beautiful little girl. Please give her some snooter kisses and gentle hugs from all of us.

Woos, TD and Phantom

Elizabeth said...

My head is spinning from reading all of that- I can't imagine how you must be feeling right now. We are sending healing thoughts your way!!!!

Elizabeth & Luna

Lorenza said...

Yes. It is a lot of info and my mom agrees with the OP Pack. It is better to know what is going on so you could do what you need to do to give Lucie the best treatment.
Paws crossed everything is going to be ok!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Erin and her Dogs said...

Woow! Sending more hugs you guys way!! Lucie is lucky to have such great parents as you guys!! :)
Good luck to her!

River said...

From River's mom:
I am so sorry to hear the news. I think it is so good to know what's going on. We will have paws crossed here that Lucie lives a long life with you. She is a beautiful, sweet girl.

Stephanie & River

BCxFour said...

My prayers are with you while you process and accept this difficult information. I wish I could say or do more ...but sending cyber hugs to you and pats for Lucie.

MurphyDog said...

Awww...Mom is sad to hear the news about Lucie. What a lucky girl she is to have humans who love her so much though.

It sounds like her life is already as good as it gets with you, Mom and I will be prayin to the doggie gods that she has many more quality years with you.

wags, wiggles & slobbers

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan said...

Gosh. That's a big burden for a young girl like Lucie, and for all of you who love her. But you're right, the point of it all is that for her, every day is filled with love and fun. What happens beyond that will happen, and you are clearly doing more than everything to help her in every way possible.

Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

It is a lot to take in, thank you for explaining it to us.

We send prayers for her to have a long and happy life with you all.

Keep enjoying her and having fun with her, we all knew she was special, just not how special.

Give all three of your girls a kiss and hug from us...xx

PS...i will be on later if you want a chat..:-)

Chula said...

Hi, I've been to your blog before but it's been a while. I'm heartbroken to hear about Lucie. I have a border collie mix sister (Kenz) who has problems with her hips that have never been diagnosed. It's not hip displaysia but we don't know anything else about it. Basically Rimadyl and forced bed rest are all that we can do (and it does help). Anyway, it's a joy to see the love you have for your kids. Keep up the good work and we'll keep Lucie in our prayers. Wags and wiggles,


Lean said...

O Lucie we are thinking of you.
bye bye Misty&Lean.

caboval said...

I honestly have to say that I have fallen in love with Lucie. Dont ask me how! I get so excited when I see you have a new blog post about her! My eyes fill up for you every time. shoot now i need a kleenex!
Anyway thank you for keeping us updated1 Me Joey and Kealani have our paws crossed for Lucie and our prayers are with you. uh oh kleenex... sorry
Just know you are in our thoughts! Hugs Valerie Joey and Kealani

Southbaygirl said...

I don't know what to say!!! I'm so glad you went to A&M! But to hear such heart wrenching news...that sucks! But i would have done the exact same thing!!!

You have done EVERYTHING you can for Lucie-now she gets to live her life to the fullest!! take lots of pictures and enjoy every moment you have! And you could have many years!!!

We are all here for you!!! If you need anything...let us know!!

We always have Lucie in our thoughts, Addie and Hailey too!

Keep playing and having fun Lucie!!!

Woofs, purrs and hugs

Velcro, Kodak, 3 Perf, Blossom and mom Penny

BJ Roan said...

I was a bit worried about reading this post, and although it isn't good news, it isn't all bad. There is the possibility of a long life. I'll be keeping you all in my prayers. Give all a pat and a pet from me. Sending hugs, BJ

Bandit's Pack said...

We will keep all of you in our thoughts. ♥

Sagira said...

That must be very scary. I can't imagine. I mean, anyone can go at anytime...but to know that there is a complication inside that you can't really treat does make you more aware of it. I really hope that she does live 15 years with no complications. I wish our pups could live forever with us.

Daisy Dog said...

I am sorry the news wasn't what you hoped. We will keep all of you in our pawyers. Keep cuddling becasue that is what helps the most. I apologize I hadn't realized Lucie had been ill.

Huskee and Hershey said...

Ok, that's a bit too much information for anyone to digest in a day, but we want you to know that we are all here for you and Lucie and we will take it one little step and one day at a time.

Such is life.. fragile and unpredictable. I learnt a lesson from your post... i.e. to live every day as if it's my last, and say 'I love you' more often to people (and doggies)whom I love!

Dear Lucie, have fun playing with your sisters and enjoy every single moment! Sending you giant hugs...

Fred said...

Oh, that is scary. Sweet Lucie. You are all in our thoughts.

"Sunshine" said...

That's scary. I hope everything is okay. On a brighter note, she seemed to really enjoy those treats :)

Lauren said...

oh no - I wish the results could have been better. We're keeping our fingers crossed that Lucie's still got a lot more to live!

Ruby's Raiser said...

That is a difficult diagnosis for you to absorb; it was very kind and selfless of you to share it with those of us who have been following Lucie's story. We're sending you our warmest thoughts and hugs.

Canine Crusader said...

Sorry to be away so long. You guys stay on my mind. I can just imagine how you feel leaving Lucie knowing her health condition now. We hope and pray she will live a long life.

Angel n Miko said...

Hey guys, So sorry for the late wishes.

I know it is very saddening as I felt devastated and helpless when the vet actually told me the chances of my little Angel not coming out of the operating theatre alive is 20-30%. I was so afraid that the op might fail and she would just not wake up after the op. But hey, miracles do happen and now she's a happy girl:)

Lucie is a strong girl. She'll pull through and will always be in our prayers.

Angel, Miko, & Mommy.

Chef said...

Knowledge is power and now that you have a handle on Lucie's condition you can do whatever is necessary to help her along.

Although it wasn't good news, you never know with these things - Lucie may live a full abd happy life. She's thriving which is a good sign.

How very lucky she is to have such caring and involved parents.

All our best wishes always for Lucie's good health.


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