It has taken me a while to be able to write this post. On February 11, 2011, Cajun crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. As some people know, he had a bad incident several weeks ago and we almost lost him. At that time, we initially thought that he was finally in heart failure, but he rallied over night in the ICU and we took him to a cardiologist for a consult and an echocardiogram and they discovered that he actually had a tear in the heart muscle.
It was not really related to his enlarged heart, it was just a flukey thing that can happen. The tear was already starting to heal and the vets felt that his prognosis was good given his recovery from it at that point. He was given some new meds and would be treated as a CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) dog from that point on, something we had been trying hard to keep him out of AND were succeeding at thus far!
He was sent home with instructions for no activity for 2 weeks. At 12 years old and with an enlarged heart, Cajun was not an overly active dog to begin with, so this wasn’t a big deal for him. The first couple days he was a bit sluggish, but after that he was back to his old self and you would never have known he almost died a few days before.
He went almost a week without his trademark coughing something we (and I’m sure he) were very grateful for. He started coughing again 1 week, to the day, of the incident and it was getting progressively worse, though not any worse than it usually was. However, I made a vet appointment for him just to make sure he was not having any fluid build up.
On the 10th, we went to his vet appt and he had a great check up. He was really happy and had a great day. He did is signature trick, sneezing on command, for Dr. Julie, our vet, which she was absolutely thrilled with. She said she had never seen that before in all her years as a vet. She was really happy with how he looked and how his heart and lungs sounded. We got his meds refilled and left, happy with his progress and prognosis.
We went to Petco to pick up a few things and he got a new toy and got to walk around a bit in the parking lot, which he had great fun doing. Then we drove through Wendy’s and he got his very own hamburger, which the dogs always enjoy as a special treat when we go out. He was fine and happy the rest of the day at home.
When we got up the next day, he was clearly distressed about something. I counted his respiration and it was no where near the danger zone and his gums were nice and pink. I put a call in to my vet on her cell phone which I *never* do, but I was a bit panicky. He seemed a bit nauseated so we gave him some pepto and he did settle down after that. I told John to go ahead and go to work since everything seemed ok at that point. He woke up in the afternoon and seemed better. He was interested in having treats and I was able to give him his meds in some squeeze cheese, but almost as soon has he took them he became clearly nauseated and distressed again.
He also started coughing, but that was normal after having anything to eat. He coughed off and on for about 90 minutes and finally settled down again on my bed. I checked on him and he was laying near my pillows on his side. His respiration was again not near the danger zone, so I left him there to rest, knowing he must be exhausted after the coughing episode.
When I went to check on him the next time, I found him passed away right where I had left him I was (and still am) completely devastated He had such a good day the day before, which is a blessing, but it’s SO hard to lose him the very next day.
Our vet thinks it was probably the “cord” in one of the values in the heart that snapped (which they suspected with the first incident that turned out to be the tear) or that he threw a clot. We will never know for sure, but she says that fact that his respiration never went into the danger zone and his gums stayed pink is a good sign that he did not suffer (ie: suffocate/die painfully) and he probably just kind of faded away.
Cajun was loved and he is very deeply missed.