Last September, we rushed Lucky to a cardiologist in Leesburg where he was diagnosed with all kinds of bad (fatal) heart ailments. Our goal at the time was just to stabilize him and make him comfortable. When he stabilized, the cardiologist mentioned a drug study that had just started and wanted to know if we'd let Lucky participate.
It sounded like a wonderful idea – he'd get a new drug, monthly veterinary care, and could be very closely monitored. It meant a three hour trip for us, round trip, but that was a small price to pay for all the veterinary care he'd be receiving compliments of the drug company.
The cardiologist wasn't particularly hopeful – Lucky's condition was quite bad. To everyone's surprise, he flourished! He'd come in with an irregular heartbeat (irregularly irregular, meaning that it was just way out of whack), but before long his heart had gone back into a regular sinus rhythm — something that just doesn't happen according to the cardiologist. We didn't question it, we were just happy to hear the news.
Fast-forward to today – our six month follow-up appointment after completing the drug study. We're starting to see some deterioration in his heart: it's getting bigger again, there's now some fluid surrounding his heart, and his arrhythmia is back. Rats.
The fluid could be due to the congestive heart failure (not good news) or because his heart muscle is actually tearing (even worse news). Add to the mix that he's got severe arthritis in his spine and he's got some neurological damage to his hind end, and the picture is clear that his time is limited.
The clock is finally catching up with dog who has lived 14 years, reversed arrhythmia, and walked through severe arthritis. He's still very comfortable, energetic, and happy as a clam. As long as he can stay that way, I'll be happy, too.
We're hoping to get as many quality days for the old man as we can…