The Story of Chance
Meet: BlueRivers Second Chance Fighter “Chance”. Chance, formerly known as “black boy”, is a sweet snuggly and loving little puppy. Also, if you recall from the bird intro video, he was the one who, within 30 seconds discovered the bird and took off with it (watch the first 30 seconds of the video below).
Chance is a special little puppy. From early on, Chance sort of stood out amongst the other puppies because when we picked him up, he seemed to always be REALLY excited as his heart was always beating fast. But as time went on, we found his heart was beating seemingly fast all the time. Other than the fast heart beat, he is a normal little puppy. I would find out at their upcoming vet visit. I was hoping that it wasn’t anything big and that he would grow out of it.
On Monday, the puppies went to the vet for a checkup, evaluation and microchipping. I knew when I handed Chance to the Dr., that she was going to find something, I just didn’t know what. I could tell by the look on her face that there was something wrong. She listened to his heart and could clearly hear a murmur. Murmurs are rated on a scale of 1-6 with 1 being minor and 6 being major. She rated him at a 3-4 and recommended getting him in to see a cardiac vet ASAP. Murmurs can be an indication of multiple issues. I called and got him in as soon as I could which was Wednesday.
The cardiologist performed an EKG on him which he did not like one bit. Well, the exam itself was harmless, it was the holding him still that he had a problem with. The results showed that he had a congenital heart defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA for short. In a nutshell, the vein between the aorta and pulmonary artery which is used in utero should have closed after birth and did not therefore he has excess blood passing through his lungs. His heart is enlarged and at 6 weeks is the size of a cocker spaniel’s heart. While this is not a good diagnosis, it’s probably the best one we could have gotten as it is curable with surgery and he will go on to live a normal life.
There are two different options for surgery: 1) through the chest where they will go in and suture the vein closed; 2) via a catheter through the femoral artery. Regardless of the surgery option, it’s an expensive treatment. At this point any breeder is faced with a difficult decision to either try to save the puppy or cut your losses and move on. With a prognosis of a normal life, I have opted to do what I can to save him. I’ve spoken with the surgeon and he wants to wait a couple weeks and give him a chance to grow a little more so the veins are bigger and easier to get through. So we’re planning on surgery for the first week of September. According to the surgeon, if all goes well, he should bounce back to normal shortly after the surgery with little recovery time. This is great news!
At this time, Chance does not have a home to go to once he gets better. Even though he might be a little older than the typical puppy going home, my hope for him is to have a loving family waiting to bring him home by mid-September once I have determined that he is definitely OK after surgery. If you’re interested in Chance, please Contact Me.
Update 8/11/13 – Update: I just got a message from the UC Davis surgeon who has been talking with the diagnosing cardiologist and they feel that waiting for Chance to get a little bigger isn’t enough of a concern to risk delaying the surgery. So he is now scheduled to go in on Wednesday for Thursday morning surgery.
Update 8/14/13 – I dropped Chance off at UC Davis Vet Hospital this afternoon for his pre-op appointment. He is scheduled for surgery at 10:00am tomorrow (Thursday). He’s getting a TON of love and attention from all the vet students. They love puppies (who doesn’t?). Here he is getting examined.
I have had multiple inquiries about donating to Chance’s surgery expense. I have been resisting accepting donations because it just seems wrong to accept money for a problem that was created by my breeding. It’s not like he’s a rescue and needs help or that I’m a family with an unfortunate situation. I chose to breed and this is one of those things that can happen when making that decision. However, the revised estimate increased again and I’m worried that if the surgery is more complicated than they anticipate, the cost will be on the higher end of the range at almost $4,000. Which is more than I can handle. If you would like to donate to his surgery, it would be greatly appreciated, thank you. My PayPal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Apparently, if you “gift” it, there are no fees. Thank you again.
Update 8/15/13 – At about 10:40 this morning I received a call from UCD stating that Chance had a complication while being put under anesthesia and his heart stopped and they were not able to resuscitate him but were still trying. They wanted to know if I wanted them to keep trying. I told them to go ahead and let him go…. 3 minutes later, they called back and said that while they were on the phone with me, they were able to get him back and that his heart was beating on its own and he was breathing. There was blood and fluid in his intubation tube so he may have started to go into congestive heart failure which could have caused his heart to stop. At this time, we are waiting to see how he does over the next few hours and to see how he does. If he continues to improve, then he will need to stay in ICU for a couple of days to be monitored and to recover before they can attempt the surgery again. It’s a very difficult position to be in because I have to weigh the options of trying again if there’s a potential to fail. My heart is hurting for him and I want to do everything I can to save him unless the vet feels that his prognosis is too low to keep trying. At this time, she is hopeful for him and is not ready to give up on him. Neither am I. However, the cost for this ICU stay on top of the first attempt on top of the already expensive surgery is a hard pill to swallow. If I had unlimited funds this would be a “no brainer” but at some point, I have to weigh the cost versus the outcome. I have resisted accepting donations because as a breeder this is my problem to fix but at this time, I need to set pride aside and do what I can to save him even if it means asking for help. If you would like to help with Chance’s expenses, I would greatly appreciate it. You can send your donation to me via PayPal at email@example.com. Please feel free to share Chance’s story. How many chances can we give Chance?
8/15/13 5:50 pm – Chance is now on a ventilator. The Carbon Dioxide levels in his blood were too high and rising and he was having a hard time breathing. They are unsure of what is causing it so putting him on the ventilator will help the levels go down (and has so far) as well as relieve his poor body from trying so hard to breath while they work to find out what is causing all this trouble. The next 24 hours will tell us if he is going to pull through. Please keep praying for him.
8/16/13 – Friday Morning Update: there were no calls over night so that’s a good thing. I just received a call from the vet and Chance did as well as they had hoped over night. His C02 levels are in line with what they should be. Over the next couple of hours, they will try to wean him from the vent and see if he keeps up normal breathing. If his CO2 levels begin to rise again, at this point, it just means he needs more time on the vent to heal his bruised lungs (CPR). They will call in a few hours to let me know how things are going.
8/16/13 3:00 pm – the weaning off the ventilator didn’t go as well as planned. He was still having a hard time breathing. They feel its due to the trauma of CPR that his lungs and muscles are sore and tired. They want to give him another 24 hours on the vent to rest and recover. They are still not ready to give up on him.
8/17/13 10:30 am update – They started to wean him from the ventilator and he did MUCH better than yesterday and breathed on his own without trouble for about 30 minutes. Then he started to tire so they put him back on. They are happy with his progress and hope for additional progress tomorrow.
8/17/13 5:00 pm update – Chance is doing ok still on the ventilator. They have it set at a very low setting which allows him to breathe on his own with assistance if he needs it. However his temperature is elevated. They are monitoring him and if still elevated tomorrow morning, will start looking for a cause. They will repeat the weaning process tomorrow morning and call me with an update mid-morning.
8/17/13 8:45 update – Saturday evening update: Chance has taken a turn for the worse. His fever has increased and it looks as if he definitely has an infection and its possible that he’s now septic. They don’t know exactly what is causing the infection. HIs prognosis has greatly decreased and they don’t know if he will make it through the night. I have asked them to give him the night of care and see if a miracle occurs. He is still sedated so he is not aware of how sick he is and is not in pain. Please pray for Chance.
8/18/13 update – It is with a broken heart that I have to report that I had to let Chance go this morning. The vet called to let me know that with antibiotics over night, he had stabilized but was not getting better. Its possible that phenomena may be setting in. His little body was getting weaker and he was fighting an uphill battle.
I want to thank EVERYONE for your thoughts, prayers, shares and donations. We did everything we could to save this baby.