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New territory

posted August 30th, 2012 by
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After recently learning that Yoda has a mass on his heart, I’ve been paying extra attention to any changes in his habits, appearance, etc. Since Yoda is my first dog as an adult, I’ve never been responsible for a sick or aging dog. This is new territory and I’m not really sure what to expect.

It might be fair to say that I’ve gone a bit to the extreme and have maybe become overly sensitive in my watchfulness over Yoda. I find myself questioning everything from the length of his naps to the two pieces of kibble he left in his bowl this morning.

So the other day, when my husband mentioned the dog might look bloated (one of the first symptoms we noticed before his diagnosis), I immediately took Yoda to our family vet.

The entire drive over I was practically in tears, sure the fluid had already built back up and there was nothing more that could be done for my buddy. In fact, I was so upset I failed to notice how excited he was to get in the car or even that he hopped into our SUV on his own — no easy feat for a little Boston.

Once inside the veterinarian’s office, a weight check showed he had gained four pounds in less than a month! I was sure my worst fears were confirmed. The fluid was back.

However, our veterinarian felt no fluid in his abdomen and his heart and lungs sounded great. A little confused, I asked what could possibly explain the sudden weight gain. Glancing at my baby girl, our veterinarian asked about her eating habits.

Oh. I quickly put two and two together.

The weight gain wasn’t all bad, however. Yoda lost a little bit of weight when he was sick and recovering from surgery and he is still a pound less than his normal weight. His eating well now means that he is feeling much better than he did before he had surgery.

He has even been cleared to continue snacking under the high chair so long as he also continues to burn the calories off in the back yard. I have never left the vet’s office feeling so silly or relieved.

 -Lauren Cavagnolo

Keep calm and love dogs

posted August 23rd, 2012 by
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That was the message posted by a friend on my Facebook page the day I found out my dog Yoda has a mass on his heart. It’s something I remind myself every day now, at least the keep calm part. Loving dogs is easy!

Anyone who has been through this with their own dog might know that most of the time, removing a mass on the heart is not possible. Surgery can be done to prevent fluid from building up and putting pressure on the heart. This keeps your dog comfortable and possibly extends their life expectancy by months to even a year. But in the end, the mass will take over.

For us, Yoda having surgery wasn’t even a question. He may be a dog, but he is family.

So on Aug. 3, Yoda had surgery at Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists. I am especially thankful to Dr. Ricker who performed the surgery. He did an amazing job and Yoda recovered quickly!

It isn’t easy to keep calm knowing that a mass is continuing to grow on my little buddy’s heart. But it doesn’t make sense to waste however much time we have together wallowing over the inevitable.

And so my husband and I have started putting together a bucket list for Yoda. No. 1 on the agenda is to eat a steak. I think he would really like that.

Some other things Yoda would like to do include go on a camping trip and watch a movie at the drive in. Things my husband and I talked about taking our dogs to do but haven’t managed to accomplish.

I’m sure we will come up with some other fun things for Yoda to do but above all, I just want to make sure my little guy is happy, comfortable and that he knows how much he is loved.

Keep calm and love dogs.

-Lauren Cavagnolo