My how time flies . . . .
It was 2 years ago today that Jimmy passed away.
If you are new to this new blog, he was the semi-feral dog that I adopted from Macon back in November 2011. And I took in Bert, Ginger and Rosie to foster.
His youtube video is below. Some of that video footage at the end of the video, with him playing with Daisy and Ginger, was shot a week before on Mother’s Day. The dates are wrong in the video- what says Nov and Dec 2012, should be really 2011. Either iMovie auto corrected the dates as I was putting it together, or I was crying through most of it while putting it together- it was that emotional to see the footage come together. Probably the latter most likely.
I finished the video on Wednesday night. And he passed away late Saturday night.
I still have the image etched in my brain on that Saturday morning. I was putting Rosie or Bert back in their cage, and out of the corner of my eye I see something red pour of the cage down the row. And in front of Jimmy’s cage was a bloody pile of dog food kibble and fresh blood. I look down at the floor, and at Jimmy, back at the floor, and back at Jimmy . . . Where the Hell did that come from?
The day went downhill from there. I called my brother who is also a veterinarian as I had crossed over from calm and logical veterinarian to frantic pet parent. I started treating him for everything- antiboitics for possible pneumonia, a blast of steroids, fluids. He had bloody diarrhea too.
The pathology report revealed two things. One he had so many heartworms that he had caval syndrome. (All the dogs arrived from the pound with heartworms). To treat caval syndrome a dog would need surgery to pull some of the heartworms out of their heart, before continuing the traditional heartworm treatment. Google caval syndrome in dogs and you’ll see the procedure that he would have needed.
But what really caused his sudden demise was a condition called DIC. Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. It’s bad news. Something triggers one’s blood to start clotting in the arteries and veins. In Jimmy’s case, it was most likely the heartworms, but sometimes the trigger is unknown). So the blood starts clotting all over and uses up all the clotting factors that normally keeps everything in balance. And then with no clotting factors, one starts bleeding and bruising everywhere- lungs, intestinal tract, kidneys, bladder, etc.
To treat DIC, one had to do a transfusion of blood and plasma to replace the clotting factors. While hoping to stop what triggered the condition in the first place.
Caval Syndrome is bad. DIC is worse. Having both is exponentially the “worst-est”.
If he were here, he would want to remind you of two things-
1. Don’t mess around with heartworms and ignore heartworm prevention. It’s easy to forget since you don’t actually see the worms and the damage that they might be causing. The other problem comes from all the misinformation that seems to be prevalent out there.
A pet store in Atlanta often posts on their Facebook page about the dangers of heartworm prevention. Instead they encourage their followers to use walnut extract as heartworm prevention. They sell walnut extract, by the way . . . . .
A rescue organization in central Florida promotes a another herbal concoction to cleanse the blood of foreign substances.
In both cases, in my professional opinion, it’ll just lead to more pets with heartworms. And don’t forget that cats can get heartworms too.
2. There are oodles and oodles of pets needing homes, or foster homes, in animal shelters, for one reason or another. Spay and neutering pets to prevent unwanted pregnancies helps. Adopting a pet is good. Fostering a pet is good. And if you can’t adopt, rescue, or foster, then there is always sharing the ones that need a home. Sharing is caring. Donating money and supplies is always helpful and appreciated. Less buying of pets from puppy mills and backyard breeders is a good thing. Also being aware that some puppy mills masquerade as rescue organizations quite frequently.
There is one photo that I never showed before and it drives home the point about the dangers of heartworms. It was a photo I snapped of what Jimmy vomited up. I am not posting the photo in the post since not everyone would want to see it.
But if you like geeky, science, biology, medical stuff- you might. So I am linking to it on my webserver. It’s not that bad- just lots of blood mixed with dog food. You’ve probably seen worse and more gore on CSI. Like I said, it does make one more mindful of heartworms and the problems that that they can cause.
Link to Photo here.