I may get to keep my dog longer because Brookfield Animal Hospital found two life-threatening issues at their earliest stages.

Never Expected Anything To Be Wrong

During my dog Rye’s recent annual visit to Brookfield Animal Hospital, we both received bad news.  While listening to Rye’s heart, Dr. Dattner heard a sound he hadn’t heard  during her previous checkups.  An efficently-performed EKG confirmed his suspicion. Rye had somehow, in the year since her last visit, developed a potentially life threatening heart condition.

Animals can experience age related heart conditions

She’s not mad. She’s just breathing hard. Running at full throttle like this…who would have guessed, my dog Rye had a heart condition?

No Symptoms

Rye is anything but sickly.  At ten years of age, this vibrant German Short Haired Pointer can run, jump and hunt with the best of them.  To look at her, you’d never know there was a problem.  Eating, weight, drinking, stools, urine, activity levels, personality…okay, she sleeps a bit more than she used to and her knees bother her…everything else is normal…you might even say great.

But the evidence was before me.  As soon as Dr. D measured the heart anomaly with the portable device, he printed it for me to see.   Those words, ‘Heart: Abnormal’.  When you read them, you feel your own heart sink.

Further Testing Proved To Be Wise

He insisted that we further explore what was going on and within a week, Rye and I were both back at the practice.  The care was great.  The nursing team was so gentle with my girl while they took xrays of her heart.  Then Dr. Dattner had a board certified veterinarian, who specializes in heart conditions, come to the practice just to see Rye.  Using an ultrasound probe, the doctor looked inside my dog’s heart while she rested comfortably on a table.  She was relaxed, calm and didn’t have any medications or anesthesia for the procedure.  The doctor showed me the videotape of her heart in action.  You could see the flow of blood in and out of the heart chambers and he confirmed the heart condition that Dr. Dattner had so expertly identified during Rye’s annual checkup.

Dr. Dattner also insisted on an ultrasound of Rye’s belly area to make sure that the heart issue wasn’t caused by something other than her heart.   He said,

‘This is the very best thing you can do for a dog at this age.  This is the best medicine possible.  I wish all of my clients would let me do this.” 

More Bad News

While I was happy that we were doing the best thing for Rye, Dr. Dattner unfortunately found another problem.  Rye had a suspicious nodule on her spleen that I was told can sometimes be a marker of cancer.  Dr. D sent the images off to another boarded specialist for immediate interpretation.  Incredibly all the results of Rye’s diagnostics were ready for Doctor Dattner to review and relay to me within two hours of her procedure.

Rye is the best buddy I have ever known.  Confirming that she has a heart issue and a potential malignancy in her spleen is awful.  I guess I knew that at 10 years old,  she was considered ‘old’ for her breed, but I didn’t suspect that anything was going on with her yet.

Still, I’m so grateful that we caught this now, before Rye got sick (or worse!)  and that Dr. D and the great folks at Brookfield have a plan in place to make sure that she stays well.  In a week or two, Rye will have her heart evaluated for a full 24 hours while she wears a comfortable harness and stays in the comfort of our home.  Then in  three months, Dr. D will have another look at her potential spleen issue. If it appears to be getting worse, he can remove my dog’s spleen and save her life before any cancer spreads.  Because we’re doing this while she’s well, she’ll have minimal pain and we’ll have the greatest chances for success.

Early Screening Matters!

I encourage everyone who reads this to make use of the preventative care that Brookfield Animal provides (or any veterinarian for that matter) In the past, I waited till my dog wasn’t feeling well, before I took her to the vet.  Now I know that waiting till my pet looks like she needs a vet, is waiting too long.