Friday, August 25, 2006

Lessons Learned: Part 1

When to seek emergency treatment for MVD (or CVD).

All three of Darcy's visits to the emergency hospital were immediately preceded by episodes of visible cardiac and respiratory distress. Based on Darcy’s experience and our subsequent discussions with many cardiologists, these signs include but are not limited to

1) discomfort exhibited by restlessness or the inability to get comfortable;
2) shallow and more rapid breathing (panting). Anything above 30-35 breaths per minutes is too rapid;
3) visible heartbeat due to an enlarged heart;
4) a look of worry or panic (this is due to an inability to get enough oxygen either through restricted breathing or cardiac output);
5) labored, raspy, or "wet" breathing sounds.

It is imperative that an owner get their cavalier to an emergency clinic (or some facility with oxygen cages or tents) not just their vet as soon as possible when even just several of these symptoms appear; delaying oxygen treatment can lead to a cascade failure of major body systems. Our family vet even advised us to NOT bring Darcy to his office since they did not have oxygen facilities. As the body suffers from decreased oxygen delivery to vital organs, blood is diverted from peripheral limbs and organs resulting in oxygen deprivation damage to muscle, eyes, limbs, and kidneys which may be already compromised by drugs. Additionally the heart beats faster to try to deliver more blood (which it can't push due to its damaged valves) which requires more oxygen, which results in more rapid breathing, more panic, etc.

Luckily for Darcy, Kim was familiar with the many signs due to her writing research. I know now what these signs mean but if we had waited based on my ignorance, Darcy would never have made it past her first emergency.


Mary Z said...

I totally read your story with heartbreak as I too just lost my beloved 6 year old CKCS, Cassie, to the same disease that you lost your beloved Darcy to just days ago. It brought back so many memories of how we cared for Cassie. I am very sorry for your loss. It's a terrible disease that has claimed the life of our precious ones way too soon.

Kimberley K said...

Dear Mary,

I don't know when you posted this, but I just now saw it. Thank you for writing; I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. It is terrible to lose them at such a young age. I still cry about Darcy more than a year later (yesterday would have been her 8th birthday). She was a very special girl, and I know your Cassie was, too.