Thursday, December 03, 2009

December 3, 2009 - Major Update

A rather lengthy and involved update today.

First. Elvis is doing great.

Randall and I have been decorating the house for Christmas, and Elvis has handled the addition of two Christmas trees into his world just fine. He basically just gave them a quick look when he walked into the room(s) and didn't blink. More importantly from my perspective he didn't act like my foundation male dachshund did every year he saw them...."Oh Mom!! My very own personal the house. You SHOULDN'T have!" Gusto never did care for my reaction to his attempt to claim ownership of the tree. So it's great that Elvis hasn't even given that a thought.

And, like I mentioned in my last update, since I have a loaner laptop, I'm able to catchup on my political news addiction which, of course, means being at the computer a lot more. This definitely doesn't meet with Elvis' approval since he'd gotten incredibly used to spending lots of time laying curled up on the ottoman with his head on my leg. He misses the hours of soft spot time. :)

I'm also happy to say his medicines are now where they should be and he is stable both physically and mentally. With any luck I won't have to tinker with them again for a while. And when I do, I'll keep in mind his behavioral reactions.

The other really good bit of news is that Randall and I took Elvis in to see Dr. Walthall for his follow-up appointment this morning. She was very pleased with the way he looked (and so are we). Everything about him looked good today and he acted well, too. He showed some minor stress, but it was what you would expect from any dog...some panting, some shedding, and a bit of shaking until he realized no one was out to kill an Elvis. Even after he came back in the exam room after getting the x-ray taken (and we could see his reaction from where we were to being laid on his side for the picture). He settled right back down. He coughed once the entire time we were there, so that was really excellent.

Dr. Walthall ran a blood panel on him and everything looked really good. Dead in the range for a healthy dog, which he isn't, so it's even better in my book. The one area that was a bit elevated was the sodium, which is not unusual for a dog with a heart condition. She was happy to see the albumin was dead on and I was glad to see the glucose level at normal (I've been sitting here expecting diabetes at some point). So all this was excellent.

She went ahead and took a picture so she would have a baseline on what he's like on a good day. You could see the heart was enlarged and some of the shadowing showed scar tissue from the heartworms (that's really a best guess). One perplexing thing was a shadow down at the bottom of the picture (I'm guessing close to between the front legs or close to that area), and it could be a mass. No real way of knowing, and it's something that she's not interested in right now and, really, neither am I. I wouldn't be surprised if there was something there, but since we're looking at palliative care, really, it's simply something to recognize is there. So we nod and wave at it, and move on.

The really good news is that Elvis will have a dose of heartworm medicine Sunday night (provided weather cooperates and Monday is clear in case we have to high tail it to the clinic). This is the option she had mentioned to Randall six weeks ago, but it really did have to wait until he was stable. Since he is, we're going to give it a shot. It's not as debilitating as the shot treatment, but there is some risk, obviously, and we want to be where we can get to her clinic if something goes wrong. With luck, all will go well and my next update will talk a bit about how the treatment went.

Also, there's no further follow-up scheduled unless something happens with him. That is probably the best news in my book. Obviously everyone knows this dog is on limited time, but having him healthy and stable and content is just about the most important thing he can have. He's definitely a gift, and I'm very grateful that Randall and I have been given the time we have to help make his life comfortable and happy.

Now. Fingers crossed for an uneventful treatment. After the pill Sunday night, if all goes well, he'll move over to the monthly treatment we give our other dogs. That will address the baby heartworm issue, and the adults should die off over time.

The last bit of news is his weight. The battery on our digital scale died three weeks ago, so I hadn't been able to weigh him. The clinic showed him at 7.6 and we got him at 7.4 when we got back with the new battery in hand.

So all in all, everything looks really good with him. Tomorrow is supposed to be very cold with a chance of snow. I'm sort of hoping we get some (and that it sticks) because I really would like some pictures of him in it. Skeeter and Haley both hate snow, but Elvis has enough coat on him to handle it provided he's not out for a long time. So maybe there will be some new pics of him soon. :)

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