Today is the day that Otis made the big trip to the dogtor's. He is just over a year and a half and we decided that it was time to have him neutered. Mom picked me, Nala and Otis up around 8 this morning so we could get him to the vet's where we were briefed about the surgery and our options.
When I had initially booked the appointment I had forgotten to mention Otis's heart murmur. We adopted him knowing that he had one and our UK vet said that it wasn't a problem. When I told the vet Tech about it this morning she seemed a bit concerned and said that they would have to do an ECG to check on his heart. I agreed, but decided against the blood panel to see how he reacted to anaesthetics.
After explaining the need for the ECG she also told me that he had the option of having the surgery performed via laser as opposed to the traditional method. I texted Mr. K, as he was not able to make the appointment, and he said to go ahead with the laser; despite the price difference. I left, thinking everything was just fine.
Upon returning home, a different vet Tech called and said that they wanted to do a heart worm test on Otis as well as chest X-Rays. I nearly had a heart attack,not only because with every procedure a vet adds the price goes up, but also because I didn't know what was wrong with my baby.
We chatted a few times over the phone, trying to figure out what would be the best plan of action. At one point I had told her to cancel the surgery all together and that we would be coming to get him. With the laser neuter, the ECG, X-Rays and heart worm test it was going to cost us near to $500.00 USD. We had budgeted for the neuter and were even okay with paying the extra for the laser procedure as well as the ECG, but the rest was just not going to happen. The vet said he would not perform the surgery without the heart worm test.
More discussion followed and the vet Tech said something about Otis having a blockage and that is why he needed the X-Rays and heart worm test.
"He has a what?"
"A blockage on the right side." She said.
"What does that mean?" I asked.
A long pause. "Um, can I have the vet call you back?"
"Yes please." I hung up thinking the worse: Otis's arteries were blocked and he was going to have a heart attack.
The vet called back quickly and explained that it wasn't his arteries, but rather a nerve bundle can be damaged in many ways, including heart worm and trauma to a dog's chest. Otis's congenital heart murmur could have caused it as well. We agreed to the heart worm test as it never hurts to have them checked, but decided against the chest x-Rays. The vet suggested that we have an ECG done every six months to keep an eye on the nerve blockage. It would be better to catch arteriole damage before it got really bad.
After hanging up the phone I set to work researching the blockage he has and how to prevent further damage as much as possible. Diet is going to be a big thing which I already knew. I've contacted his dog food company to find out just exactly how much salt they put in his food. Salt is listed on the bag, but the amount is nowhere to be found.
Hermione was suspected to have a mild heart murmur when she was a puppy. She has since out grown it and part of me wonders if the honey/cinnamon/fish oils mixture I used to put on her food once a day helped at all. It can't hurt to try. So, Otis is going to be seeing a few dietary supplements added in sooner rather than later; just as long as I can figure out what would be most beneficial and how much.
He may one day need to go on medication, but I am going to try to either prevent that from happening or at least make sure it happens much later on.