Snicker's health update, per Dr. G, Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota:
"I am happy with how well Snickers has been doing since the balloon valvuloplasty procedure! Today's recheck echocardiogram showed Snickers's pressure gradient has significantly improved with the procedure and is now only in the mild range (75% gradient reduction), which is fantastic!
Furthermore, some of the changes within her heart secondary to the stenosis (i.e. right ventricular hypertrophy) has significantly improved to only mild today. I am thrilled with this outcome.
The pulmonic valve is leaking more today than before, but this is a known complication with this procedure. However, the right heart typically handles high volume loads better than high pressure loads, and her heart is currently compensating well.
If the heart were to become too overloaded, fluid could start to accumulate within her belly or chest, causing abdominal swelling or shortness of breath (congestive right heart failure). However, Snickers has no evidence of heart failure today, and complications are not expected in the near term, if at all.
However, we should continue to monitor this on a long-term basis, along with monitoring for worsening of the stenosis severity again.
Given today's echocardiogram findings, we discussed weaning off the atenolol (this medication should not be suddenly stopped).
However, since she takes medications easily and is tolerating it well with no side effects, plus it is relatively inexpensive and may have some continued theoretical benefits, per our discussion, we will keep her on the current dose, at least until her next recheck. We may consider stopping it at that time (especially if medicating is difficult for her adoptive family).
Snickers has also developed a right bundle branch block. This refers to a conduction disturbance within the heart that does not disturb the actual heart rhythm (hence, this is not an actual arrhythmia).
This conduction disturbance occurs as the signal for contraction reaches the lower right chamber of the heart, leading to slightly delayed conduction through this chamber. This is commonly seen as a consequence of pulmonic stenosis and/or the balloon valvuloplasty procedure. This electrocardiographic finding typically poses no problems.
- Severe pulmonic stenosis - Treated with balloon valvuloplasty 2/7/2018, now mild pressure gradient with a 75% pressure gradient reduction compared to pre-balloon valvuloplasty.
- Moderate pulmonic insufficiency - More significant compared to pre-balloon valvuloplasty.
- Right bundle branch block - Newly diagnosed this visit (mild finding). "
So, her checkup went well, and now her foster mom is trying to get her spay arranged so she can finally find her forever home. Being a cardiac patient is making this more difficult, but hopefully this will be arranged shortly.
Snickers weighs forty-six pounds and is up to date on her shots, including her Lyme vaccinations.
Snickers traveled to Wisconsin to the lake prior to her checkup. She had motion sickness immediately upon getting on the road. This has happened a number of times on her car rides, but the vet told me not to give a heart patient Dramamine, so I will deal with it and pack lots of paper towels.
As far as the lake and water went, Snickers didn’t put her paw in, but neither did the other dogs. It was very cold water! We will see if she becomes a swimmer.
She did enjoy walks there and all the new smells and animals she saw. She loved eating dead fish, but didn’t try to roll in them. My son left his older Golden for the weekend, and Snickers got along well with another new dog.
Once we were home, spring is in full bloom. Snickers was busy digging in the backyard and checking out any new flowers. She is pulling less on her leash and really enjoys going for walks with the other dogs. She has a big bark which she will use to alert when there are sounds outside of arrivals. She will be a good watchdog with her bark and size.
Meanwhile, she is a sweetheart who wants to listen and please. She is very good about going into her crate when I need to leave the house. I have left her out a few times, and nothing happened. She is not a destructive dog. I assume she takes her clue from the others and sleeps or watches for my return.
She loves toys and retrieving tennis balls or playing with the other dogs. She will entertain herself with an antler. When it’s time to settle down, I just have to ask her to lay down and she settles easily, just happy to be near her family.
Time has come for Snickers to find her forever home. She has been a lovely foster dog, and I would keep her in a minute if I didn’t already have two dogs and one as big as she is. Please contact Placement if you think Snickers is a fit for you.
She is a growing puppy still and will require lots of time and training. Her medical condition will require her to be monitored for any signs of heart failure that might develop in the future, and she will need annual checkups with a cardiologist.
She has grown into a big, tall dog, but is still very much a puppy. I feel confident that she will have a great life with the right home.
Once again, I want to thank RAGOM for providing her the special care needed for her heart.