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Being 4-legged is so overrated…

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day everyone!

Just wanted to give an update on Chloe, yesterday was her 13th birthday! She is now officially a teenager.


The not so fun update:  About a week and a half ago before I moved north to start a year long fellowship (unfortunately she won’t be living with me due to last minute offer of this position, she will be staying with my mom for now), she developed a large round lump on her right front paw (literally within a day). It feels more solid than her other lipomas and isn’t discolored (her fur looks normal growing over it).  Yesterday I took her to the vet for an early yearly checkup (usually in May) to aspirate the lump. I figured it wouldn’t hurt just to do a full senior exam (physical, urine, poop, blood) since we were already there.

Diagnosis #1: During the physical exam, the vet diagnosed Chloe with a heart murmur grade 2/3ish.  He wanted a chest xray to see what might be the cause.  The xray revealed she has a large heart for her size (but we already knew that in the emotional sense 🙂 ).  The vet explained that she could have always had a heart murmur (grade 1) that wasn’t discernible till now as a congenital thing or has a genetic predisposition for developing one in her older years.  While there is nothing to be done for a heart murmur (if her’s got worse medications would be an option), I do have to monitor her for any unusual sneezing, coughing, increased resting respiratory rate, early fatigue in a routine walk, and loss of appetite or fluids.  Last night I started a baseline for her resting respiratory rate and will do for another few days to get an averate. I recorded 16 breaths per minute which is a good sign since it normal for any dog. However, if her norm increases to above 30/minute, it means her murmur has progressed in a bad way.  The good news is that she is otherwise allowed to continue her regular routine walking around the block (1/2 mi) every day and taking naps.

To come: Bloodwork/fecal/urine come back sometime today and the results of the aspirate sometime early next week.  Im hoping that her bloodwork etc… comes back saying she is healthy, so that if the lump comes back as a negative thing, I will know that it isn’t affecting the quality of her life.  She otherwise seems spry for being a 13yr old 3 legged dog, but I’d like the bloodwork to confirm that.  Since Chloe is already down to 3 legs and is alot older, if this lump comes back as another cancer that is “curable” through amputation (like 3.5yrs ago), I won’t be able to do that option.  Depending on the severity, I’m not sure I want to put her through a surgery to remove it since she is now at a higher risk for complications going under anesthesia having even a low grade heart murmur (which the vet explained).

Reality: I’ve already come to the conclusion that if the lump is bad news, I’m just going to make sure she lives out what time she has left without being bogged down by surgeries, medications etc… and letting her go before she is in a really bad state.  It’s sad to think about, but I do have to remind myself that I have been able to give her every dog’s dream for the past 3.5 years she’s lived with me during grad school.  We have been able to spend most of every day together since I lived close to campus, she’s been my travel companion even on errands (since weather is so moderate along the coast) and has enjoyed countless hours walking along the beach. For every medical issue we’ve encountered, I can let her go knowing I’ve done all I can to make sure she’s gotten the best care.  She’s been spoiled with lots of obnoxious squeaky toys, treat balls and love.  Its hard to deal with the fact that she is getting old and won’t be around forever, but I know my mom will take wonderful care of her until I can find a different living situation (if she lives a lot longer).   I’ve told Chloe during our time in grad school that she has to live a healthy life until she is at least 15 and then is allowed to go to her final rest.  Fingers crossed this is benign or low grade/non metastasizing and allows her to keep on enjoying senior life on three legs.

Hugs to all you folks who have lost a beloved pet.  Chloe has been the first pet I’ve developed such a close bond to and I don’t like to think about her not physically being here any longer.

Posted by on February 15th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

4 Responses to “Murmurs of a Big Hearted Dog”
  1. 1
      Oliver More says:

    Good luck, hope everything goes ok, your Chloe looks remarkably like our 15 year old Dakota. She is lucky to have you to look out for and spoil her. I will be thinking of you.

  2. 3
      jerry says:

    First..HOPPY BIRTHDAY MISS VALENTINE!!! You are the prettiest 13-year old, big-hearted Tripawd girldog ever!

    Now, about that pesky lump. Well I know your Momma has come up with a new plan since she wrote this post, and I know it’s because you spoke to her heart and she listened. You are an awesome team, you couldn’t have come as far as you have already without listening to each other’s needs. Now that there’s a plan in place for the next steps to figure out this challenge, you can’t go wrong. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

    Nicole congrats on the fellowship, that’s awesome! Where are you living now?

  3. 5
      maggie says:

    First off, Nicole, thank you for checking in on Maggie’s blog. Your kind comments on several of my blog posts were comforting and so nice to hear from you! 🙂

    Secondly, Miss Chloe, I do think of you often when I get out my t-shirt that has you on the front of it! You are one lucky pup to have a Mom as dedicated as she is to you!

    Nicole, you are in my thoughts. What an awesome life you have given Miss Chloe and all thru going to school too! Give Chloe a big hug from me!! And Ok, one for yourself from me too 🙂

    Nice to check in with Maggie’s ‘twin’!


    Tracy and Spirit Maggie