Wednesday, January 21, 2009


What began as a routine visit to the vet ended up a sprint to the vet med school at Washington State with one very sick Saint Bernard.

Bacchus was due for his six month check up. He had been coughing a bit. Nothing unusual because he's had allergies. He fell a couple of times. Having hip dysplasia, being old and trying to navigate the heavy, wet snow we thought he had pulled something.

Our vet gave him a good going over then got out the stethoscope. "Has he had any heart problems?" she asked. "No," I replied, anxiety rising.

"He's developed an irregular heart beat." She had me listen. It sounded, as she described it, like tennis shoes in a dryer. It did.

"I'm going to take an x-ray and do an EKG to see if I can see what's going on then I'm sending you to the cardiologist."

Shortly she came back with the x-ray in which the heart should have been visible. It was not; obscured by the fluid surrounding it. His heart rate was racing at 200 beats per minute. She gave him a shot of something to stabilize him, called Washington State, made all the arrangements, gave me a map, and sent me on my way.

I swung by, picked up Hub and we were off. Two hours later we were greeted at the door by a vet med student who would be working on the case. Within five minutes she had the information she needed and the cardiologist and a team of students were explaining to us what Dr. Prince had phoned ahead and what they would be doing.

A couple of hours later she came out and explained what they had found and what they planned to do then sent us home.

Today is the day of reckoning. They've called twice and we're waiting for another update. So far he's stable, eating, expelling water like crazy and enjoying the fawning of the staffers who think he's so "cute"!

He's not out of the woods. The heartbeat is still elevated but they're working on it. We're doing "stuff" to keep busy as the time passes. I'm barely functioning. It was so sudden. We didn't see it coming nor did the vet who knows him well. But such is the way things go.

If he makes it I'll treasure every minute more we have. If he doesn't, I'll know we did everything possible. He's had a great run. I'd just like it to last awhile longer.


June Saville said...

We need Bacchus to star in your musings! Good luck.
June in Oz

John Dwyer said...

I wish you luck. I use to have two West Highland Terriers and still miss them, thirty years later.

Sylvia K said...

I'm holding good thoughts for Bacchus and you and Hub! I know what it's like to lose a great four-legged friend. I do so hope he gets better soon.

Betty said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for Bacchus.

Molly said...

Im sorry to hear about Bacchus' health problems. Hoping for a positive outcome for all of you.


Rinkly Rimes said...

Bacchus couldn't have a drinking problem, could he?

the wayward episcopalian said...

Oh no, this is what you must have meant by a rough few days! I'm so sorry, I'll say a prayer for your family, of which Bacchus is most certainly a member.

Word Tosser said...

OH, NO... I will keep him in my prayers... Being he is loving up the staff, and seems to be in good spirits, it is very hopeful.
My heart goes out to you and Mike as you wait for the news to bring home your kid.

cconz said...

i've been there done that. Our 1st boston "Spanky " had conjestive heart failure. His heart was was swimming in fluids. We took him to ames Iowa vet college. they did a tap on him. He was then on dieretics. He never had another episode for a good year or so. But he was old. Bacchus is'nt old is he? I am thinking of you , i hope it all works out. Vet schools are so good now days. They can do so much!! I know he means the world to you. HUGS