My plan was to simply hang out with my sister and my niece...maybe head to the consignment store, stop at the Grocery Outlet. Well...that plan quickly changed...
I'm pretty sure Haley almost died on me yesterday.
Haley is Nate's 12 1/2 year old chocolate lab. He's had her since a wee little pup. In short, Haley is to Nate as Lola is to me ( ie. our everything ) At the beginning of the year, she started making coughing noises that we'd never heard before; not so much a cough but a "hack" or gag. Since it was new, we decided to have it looked out. After a couple of chest x-rays and them listening to her heart, they determined 1) she did not have a murmur that they could hear 2) she did not have any fluid in her lungs but 3) her heart was enlarged. The noises she was making was due to the exterior of the heart pushing against the esophagus, making it slightly irritated. So they prescribed her Lasix and Enacard to help keep the heart from growing further and to keep her from getting worse. We knew she was old for her breed but she's healthy in all other ways, so things were hopeful...
...until this incident.
She was having trouble breathing on Thursday but we both thought it was due to her simply getting too excited. When her blood pressure goes up and her heart has to work harder, it does a number on her. And since she still is very active, it's hard to keep her at bay sometimes. We contemplating taking her to the vet that night, but luckily it ceased and all seemed well.
Friday we barely had any symptoms.
Then yesterday, she was good for a while. Around 12:45 that changed, though. I noticed that all of a sudden she was drooling...for no reason at all. Her ears felt like they were on fire and she was breathing so hard that her ribs were protruding and then it was like she was sucking in with ALL her might. I had coaxed her in from pottying with the promise of a treat and within minutes, she had puked up said treat and defecated at the exact same time. She continued to walk strained and poop as she went along, which clearly showed me that she was sick. The drooling then started to worsen, her nose was still wet but very hot, her gums were pink but her tongue was turning purple and I knew she was to the point where she needed to be put on oxygen or she was gonna die very shortly. I ran next door to Nate's parents and asked Eric to drive me to the vet. Dover had already closed for the day ( 45 minutes prior ) and, although I called them hoping someone was still there, they directed me to Rossmoyne ER.
Upon arriving, they told me that they were going to put her on oxygen because "they didn't like the way she looked". Chest xrays concluded that her heart was very enlarged, meaning either a) our approach wasn't intense enough from the get-go or b) the original plan was no longer working. These meds were intended to prevent the heart growing larger. They also saw that she had fluid in her lungs, which luckily was reversible by pumping her with continued Lasix. They did xrays, EKGs, had her in an oxygen tank, sedated her so that she could calm down enough to steady her breathing, bloodwork and an overnight stay.
22 hrs and $1600 later, she is home.
I already called the Animal Hospital of Rye and left a message as to schedule an appointment with the cardiologist. From here on out, Haley will need to be taken care of by a specialist for this condition. Aside from this issue, Haley's sight, hearing, energy levels and joints seem to be fine. Her quality of life is still very valid and I see no reason why we shouldn't continue trying to save her life.
It may stress me out sometimes because of how I hoard money ( since this shit ain't cheap ) but I can't kill an otherwise healthy dog if I have the means to help her. I also cannot have Nathan losing his best friend and baby after losing his sister only weeks ago.
I ask that you please keep Haley, Nathan and I in your hearts and thoughts...and send good vibes out into the universe that we can keep this old girl around for a good while longer.