Our 12 year old Chocolate Lab, Sammy had a heart attack a few weeks ago. He's fine now but I thought I would relate the story to all of you in case something like this happens to you.
Sammy was brought to the shelter in 2007 as a very emicitated dog with severe heart worm disease. He also had intestinal worms and was in pretty bad shape. But you could tell he was a very lovable dog. So I brought him to my vet for treatment with the intention of readopting him out later.
We had to wait almost a year for his health to improve to the point where he could be treated for heatworm. The vet said he had a very bad case of heartworm disease. He came through the treatment and has been heartworm free ever since.
So Sammy became a very playful, energetic and very loyal dog. His favorite game is ball. He'd bring the ball back and drop it at your feet for the next throw.
Last week we were out walking and he saw a neighbors cat. Since we were in our neighborhood and Sammy usually stays by my side. But he saw a cat and took off running. I called him back and he turned around and start to run back to me. But all of a sudden his legs just collapsed out from under him and down to the ground he went. He made a howling noise that I had never heard before. By the time I got to him he was just laying there, not breathing or anything. Just lying there staring straigh ahead. About 7 or 8 years ago my vet told me how to do canine CPR, so I started that on him. About a minute or two later Sammy woke up and tried to get up but couldn't. So here we are at 9:30pm about five blocks from our house and how the hell am I going to carry an 85lb lab back home? So I just sat there with Sammy and about 10 minutes later he was able to get up. We slowly walked back home where I put him in the car and off to the emergency vet we went.
They kept him overnight and did an ultra sound on his heart and a CT scan. The vet said that the heartworm disease he had years ago had finally caught up with him. He now had congestive heart failure and and irregular heart beat. They advised me to see my vet for treatment. It seems that when a dog is treated for heartworm disease the worms die off but the damage they do to the heart stays. It never heals.
My vet looked at the charts from the emergency clinic and prescribed an aspirin every other day and a med called
Enalapril, twice a day. She also said his ball playing days are over with. She told me that the next game of ball may be his last. I felt so sorry for Sammy as ball is his favorite thing. But you gotta do what you gotta do. She said he could go for walks no more that 1.5 miles every other day. And definitely not i the heat of the day. She also warned me that this could happen again and the next time I may not be so lucky. But he doesn't have the wasting or weight loss associated with CHF in dogs. She said she has no idea how much longer he'll last, but if I take good care of him he'll be OK for the time being.
Sammy seems to be back to his old self again. To satify his need for ball, I just give him his favorite ball and he just walks around with it. He tries to get me to throw it but I have to tell him that's all he gets. Poor Sammy.
I am just so glad that I learned doggie CPR when I did. I never thought I would actually need to use it on one of my dogs.
And it also make a case for if you have a dog and there are heartworms in your area you really need to have a heartworm preventitive that you give to your dog on a regular basis. It could save their life!