Lost my best friend...in memory of Dallas
It's been 3 weeks since I lost my loving GSD rescue, my partner in crime, and my rock. I got her when I was 18 after my father suddenly passed away. She got me through a lot...she was there through all the friends, all the boyfriends, all the ups and downs. She always had a smile on her face.
Back in the beginning of august she got sick. She threw up a couple times and then slept for the night. She seemed okay but then vomited 16 times, her face was sunken in, and she was short of breath. Afraid she was going to die, I rushed her to the emergency animal hospital. They got her on the scale and I wanted to collapse when I saw she was only 76lbs....she weighed on average 90-95lbs. This was all acute fluid loss. I felt horrible.
I waited in the exam room with her breathing rapidly and looking like skin and bones...the 2 hours of testing felt like forever as I sat on the floor with her head on my lap thinking she was going to die in my arms.
Bloodwork came back....PRBCs were extremely elevated at 69%. Normal Red blood cell for a dog should be around 31% or so. Anyway, this meant she was severely dehydrated, her blood was thick, and it earned her an overnight stay in the k-9 ICU where she received 8 liters of IV fluids, anti emetics (nausea drugs), and was xrayed and watched closely. 24 hr later I got the call her bloodwork was normal, xrays didn't show any masses or anything suspicious of cancer, and she could go home with a couple prescriptions. I had her home a month....and she took a couple days to recover but soon she was looking better than ever. I got her a newer food since she had grown picky of her last brand....and treated her like a queen. She was 8 now and I figured I should do the best to make her golden years the best...even if this meant allowing her on the couch (which was always a no-no), buying the most expensive food, and stocking up on new toys. I figured it was just a GI bug and we were good.
Well pretty much exactly a month after she was discharged; I woke up for work and she looked sick again. This time she just vomited once but looked terrible after just 2 hrs. Rapid irregular breathing, lethargy, all the same symptoms with a much more rapid onset. Brought her back to the same animal hospital. Same deal...bloodwork. PRBCS were 75% this time!!! Meaning her blood was even "thicker" this time around and they rushed her in for emergency IV fluids, fearing she may have a stroke. I don't understand, she was drinking plenty of water and just had one small bout of vomiting. How could the bloodwork be worse this time?
She earned another overnight stay. I was scared, and frustrated. This doesn't add up, she must have a hematological disorder or my worst fear; cancer. About 6 hrs later (midnight) the vet called, and I figured it couldnt be good. She told me that despite bringing her fever down and hydrating her, her heart rate wasn't coming down and her breathing was getting worse. Vet did a bedside ultrasound which revealed an abdominal effusion (fluid around abdominal cavity). She drained it thinking that it may be causing the shortness of breath. Dallas was still getting worse....and an ultrasound of her chest revealed a pericardial effusion. Fluid in the sac surrounding the heart.
We rushed to see her...being a nurse I knew this wasn't good, and probably wouldn't be fixable. I knew the fluid around her heart could be drained but it could cause cardiac arrest, an arrhythmia, or a bleed. Vet said it was more than likely cancer, and the prognosis was grim. We decided as a family it was best to say goodbye. She lived a happy life and we didn't want her to suffer. I told the vet and laid with her as she fell asleep for the last time; I didn't want her to be alone.
I am still grieving and devastated but I wanted to share. I attached a bunch of pictures of my beautiful female shepherd. I can't help but feel as if she got robbed; 8 years is too short...even for a large breed. But I smile at the memories and try to find comfort knowing she was the happiest, most-spoiled, and well-loved dog....and she never suffered. I'll miss our weekly hikes, our playtime....****, I even miss the tumble weeds of fur that I was constantly cleaning up.
Rest in paradise, Dallas. I'll never forget what a special dog you were.
Thanks for listening