Senior Dobes - Spock & Eva DCM Thread - Page 2 - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #26 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-06-2020, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bug, MC and Coco for recommendations!

Spock has gotten some of appetite back now, thanks to the sardines. I was able add to his food and he ate most of rice/ground beef, kibble in the bowl. Also put his medicine inside a sardine and he wolfed it down, Spock style! Sardines in water are relatively low in sodium, but cat food is cheaper.

Going to try some seafood varieties of wet cat food tomorrow. In long term it'll be about half cost of the sardines. (Grocery store house brand) Also, I like the sardines, as well! Both Spock and Eva go bonkers for any type of seafood.

Another trick I found yesterday was loading Spock's "Gnawt-A-Rock" toy with his Pro Plan kibble, which he brought to me from toy box. He worked diligently squeezing the toy with his jaws and working the kibble out and eating it all as he went along! Whatever works...


Old 2018 Video of Spock- showing how it's done!




Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!
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post #27 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-06-2020, 09:56 PM
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post #28 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by spocksdad View Post
Thanks Bug, MC and Coco for recommendations!

Spock has gotten some of appetite back now, thanks to the sardines. I was able add to his food and he ate most of rice/ground beef, kibble in the bowl. Also put his medicine inside a sardine and he wolfed it down, Spock style! Sardines in water are relatively low in sodium, but cat food is cheaper.

Going to try some seafood varieties of wet cat food tomorrow. In long term it'll be about half cost of the sardines. (Grocery store house brand) Also, I like the sardines, as well! Both Spock and Eva go bonkers for any type of seafood.

Another trick I found yesterday was loading Spock's "Gnawt-A-Rock" toy with his Pro Plan kibble, which he brought to me from toy box. He worked diligently squeezing the toy with his jaws and working the kibble out and eating it all as he went along! Whatever works...


Old 2018 Video of Spock- showing how it's done!


When I was in the grocery store this afternoon SD--I walked down the aisle where the canned fish n' stuff is and looked at the Mackeral. Dogs who like fish usually are crazy about mackeral and at Winco (our local employee owned uber inexpensive grocery store) it's just over $2 a can. Three out of four of the cardiac dogs that I dog sat for thought it was maybe the best thing since sliced bread.

Whatever works...

ABTLH
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post #29 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dobebug View Post
I couldn't think of the name of either appetite stimulant when I read this but I was at the clinic today feeding the clinic cats and cleaning up the laundry and stuff and did remember to look.

The newest one I know of is called "Entyce" it's chemical name is capromorelin. I've never used it but i hear that this stuff has been getting rave reviews , expecially for getting older dogs to eat.

The other one isn't even really an appetite stimulant it's part of depression drugs used but it does work for both cats and dogs as an appetite stimulant
Ir's mirtazapine. One of our clients who had a non-eating dog (she's a pharmacist) asked if we could get her mirtazapine and find out what the appropriate dose was for her dog. So we got it for her and she rewarded us by telling us all about it and how well it worked as a stimulant.

So that's my hot tip for you for Spock (and I apologize to Spock for misspelling his name---I know he's really not Spoke)

dobebug
Yes dobebug, Mirtazapine is what we used and it worked great for Rascal.
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post #30 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 02:06 PM
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That's great news SD! I forgot about the sardines. Coco always ate those too. The ones in water also have some health benefits so it's all round a good thing.



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post #31 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-26-2020, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Spock's DCM - Epilogue

Apologize for lack of posts between last post, 6 Sept until now.

As most of you know, Spock was PTS on 14 Sept, as things got worse quickly with his DCM.

https://www.dobermantalk.com/rainbow...14-2020-a.html

I did PM Dobebug and Spock’s breeder during this period for Dobe specific experience on what the DVM and Cardiologist were advising. Trying to keep things brief and just review my experience with Spock’s last days, succumbing to DCM. Self-critiquing hindsight is part of that review, which might help other Dobe owners.

As mentioned in previous posts on this thread, I was not having annual 24-holter testing done on Spock. He had annual and a few intermediate exams done at his vet on regular basis. Also, we did not have canine health insurance, which would have helped financially with his care.

Since retirement in 2018, I have been with Spock and Eva for 24/7/365 and in the last two years, learned all their routines, habits and mannerisms well. Spock is the kind of Doberman that never slowed down since he was a 2-y/o puppy, it just was the way he was. Eva, on the other hand, as she got older, even though losing her hypo-thyroid weight gain, did become less active and motivated.


Spock’s DCM - Lessons Learned and Experiences

1. Annual Vet Exams Not Enough for Dobermans- Spock’s regular vet missed any signs of advancing DCM during June annual exam. Even when during follow-up in August after first coughing began, vet didn’t diagnose any heart issue. From his second (his breeder’s) vet and experienced Dobe owners have frequently posted on DT, annual 24-holters and follow-up Echocardiograms can truly diagnose DCM. Even a 2-minute EKG doesn’t always catch the disease.


2. Don’t Dismiss Early Signs-
Spock on 5 & 15 August experienced early morning incidents, falling/jumping off foot of our bed losing strength in legs and control of bladder. Later that month I found him lying prone on Astroturf, in outside potty area, which he has never done in past. Also, he became increasingly afraid to go potty out back at nighttime, maybe because of collapses? Believe all these signs were early cardiac incidents, based on later reoccurring, frequent collapses, after DCM diagnosis on 26 Aug.


3. Keep Log of Unusual Incidents- Have been keeping diet, work, weight log since retirement for myself. After first Spock incident in August, added Spock notes to my log, including his weight every other day after DCM diagnosis. Copy given and discussed with DVM and proved invaluable for decision making.


4. Phase In New Medications & Don’t Start in Evenings! - After cardiologist recommended many meds upon 26 Aug diagnosis, Spock was prescribed “shotgun” doses of Lasix and Vetmedin, which I stupidly started him on evening of same day. One half hour after given Vetmedin he experienced foaming a mouth and severe nausea and retching for 8 hours, until ceased at midnight. After first dose of Lasix was given, he soon began peeing all over the house in 12 ft. trails! Spock was very sensitive to medications and I should have started off at partial dose then phased up to amount to be effective. Discussions with DVM confirmed this and said most pet owners demand immediate results and hence the shotgun approach. As it turned out, only a quarter of recommended daily dose of Lasix was enough to stop all coughing and keep pee breaks to about once/2 hours. The Vetmedin was stopped after first dose, but his appetite had been killed for a week and half, not just due to the Lasix.


5. Monitor Weight Food & Water Intake Closely-
After DCM diagnosis, I kept a very good eye on his weight, eating and elimination habits. He lost 8% of his weight in August, after DCM diagnosis and his appetite suppression due to the meds. He never stopped drinking water like a horse, even more so, when on the Lasix. Also read that weight gain can occur from fluid retention due to hear failure.


6. Restrict Activity for High Energy DCM Dobes-
During 2 weeks after diagnosis, we slowly got Spock’s appetite back using various “lure” foods and got his weight loss stabilized. At this point, DVM and I were going to restart Spock on the Vetmedin (vasodilator) med, in a controlled, phased in approach at vet’s office. I scheduled appt. for first thing Monday morning. My mistake at this point was thinking Spock was holding in his DCM disease progression.

On evening of 10th he was at back door waiting to be let out for potty. He normally gets very excited as I’m unlocking door. As he stepped out door, he collapsed onto patio, but recovered quickly. Heartrate was like a machine gun. I kept him down for a minute, till HR slowed, then he recovered and I helped him up. From this point on, we decided to keep him on leash or tether at all times when outside house. No problem, like training a Dobe puppy for potty time.


7. Monitor Heartrate and Rhythm – In hindsight, I would recommend Dobe owners purchase a stethoscope to easily monitor heartrate and rhythm. During Spock’s cardiac incidents I used my hand on bottom of his chest to check his heartrate and rhythm. After attacks became frequent, I could actually feel uneven, sporadic heartbeats, or tachycardia rapid rate in other cases, not regular ones as desired. Get familiar with you Dobes heartrate, resting & active.

8. Don’t Assume Things Will Get Better -
During his “recovery period” I was still taking Spock on his daily walks around block, even after collapsing incident on evening of 10th. On Saturday 12th I took him on a slow walk, in cool weather around block, with frequent rest stops. Halfway around, we met our across-street neighbor, with her female Lab mix, Ellie, coming from park. We all walked back together around block toward home. Spock even went up to Ellie and licked her in the face, which she didn’t seem to mind. About 50 ft. later, Spock slowed down his pace, then fainted and keeled over sideways, off the sidewalk onto the grass, thankfully. I kept him down and called wife to bring down van. He was able to get up and get into van okay. Maybe excitement of walking with a female dog, along with exertion made him have that syncope (fainting) incident?

9. Another Spocksdad Mistake - Offleash - Next day, on Sunday, Spock was eating well, but having tremendous difficulty pooping on Sunday. He was straining so hard and frequently, I was afraid he’d have an attack from going potty! At this point, I made another big mistake, let him off leash, while I picked up the poop. While Spock pooped, he heard next door gate open, which resulted in an automatic Dobe protection response. He ran full tilt across backyard, barked at the gate and ran fence line, returned across patio and collapsed sideways on flagstone walk, almost hitting his head on stone. I came up to him immediately, with poop rake in hand, and my poor boy was wailing in extreme pain while still down. This is first time in his life, I’d ever heard him in such pain. I just knew he was experiencing a heart attack with heart muscle damage. HR was not rapid. Right then, I vowed not to ever let him experience that kind of pain again.


10. Final Night Digression- I had Spock scheduled for first thing vet appointment on Monday for his Vetmedin resumption trial, so we just had to make it though the night. He was never the same after Sunday’s painful attack. Even inside house he started having frequent VT collapses from just getting on/off his favorite couch, so we blocked off bed and couches with big pillows. I slept with Spock that night on dog beds in living room, which I knew in my mind, would be his final night. We sat out on back patio until midnight, then went out every two hours after for potty break. Of course, during one early morning potty break Spock spotted a Possum on fence and got ramped up! (Dobes never quit their jobs) He also detected something in aloe plant pots next to patio, which turned to be a frog sighted the next morning. Spock slept some, but about 4AM started to have difficulty breathing and started coughing and wheezing, first time since on the Lasix. I had to help him standup and we walked around backyard and front to help clear his lungs out.


11. Discuss All Options & Outcomes with Vet- Spock’s Final Day- Early Monday morning, I got van ready to transport Spock to vet. Removed middle seat on one side of fan, then put down cardboard and blankets. Discussed with wife his condition and we prepared ourselves for his demise this day. I was reluctant put him through the nausea of resumption of Vetmedin, and yet another painful ordeal. Wife said her goodbyes and Eva escorted us around pool for last time and out the gate. I took him last time around the home he had protected his whole life. Made an early stop to coffee kiosk to get him a pup-a-chino, which he wouldn’t eat, then I knew it was time.

Upon arrival at vet’s office, DVM came out to thoroughly discuss options for Spock. He spent a long time with me alongside car due to curbside C-19 service. Spock silently waited in back of van. After calling my wife, told him we had decided that euthanasia would be best for our boy, due to his rapid decline in last two days. Vet agreed and after I walked Spock inside exam room he examined him. Spock was throwing continuous arrhythmias, with only one good heartbeat with every 3 VPC’s. We both wondered aloud how he could even be walking around at all? Other vet came in to say goodbyes and noticed the change for the worse in Spock, since his last exam.


12. Please Don’t Second Guess Others Or Yourselves - Try not to use 20/20 hindsight on Dobe owner’s decisions with their babies. We are each totally responsible for their well being and try our best to be wonderful caretakers, depending on circumstances and experiences. I began second guessing myself when Spock had IV in his leg and was standing in front of me. His head was resting on my lap, giving his me a soulful Dobe look. I held it together, stayed positive and told him what a great Doberman he was!

I knew presence of wife or daughter would have been too much for me, them and Spock. Soon, he would be able to get a good “sleepy-sleep” (term used between us) with no pain ahead. I was so proud of Spock, being such a brave and good boy till his end, which came peacefully.

Spock was no wimp, as my wife often jested with me, when he refused to go outside in a sprinkling rain.

In his final days, Spock had faced and weathered a storm!
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Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 09-26-2020 at 02:47 PM.
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post #32 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-26-2020, 02:56 PM
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Thank you for that last post…it's a little painful to read (a good chunk of us dobe owners have been through similar events), but so very helpful to know.

Especially that last bit about not second guessing your decisions—permit yourself to be at peace, now that Spock is.
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post #33 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-26-2020, 04:49 PM
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Thank you, SpocksDad, for the last post. I was hesitant to read it but since I was hoping that it would provide some of our newbee's with information about DCM, echo's and Holters that would encourage them to learn more about cardio in the Doberman.

It did, and of course it made me cry--for the dog I only knew from the internet and the pictures and videos you were kind enough to post through his life. I'm just sorry I never had a chance to meet Spock. He always sounded very much like my kind of Doberman.

Mel was right--it was painful me to read--having to make that sad trip to the vet with the dog you are not going to bring home again is still fresh enough for me that even thinking about it is painful. But Toad was luckier in that respect than Spock. His cardio was nothing that ever caused him pain--but he had something other than cardio going on and when it became hard for him to catch his breath he let me know it was time.

It isn't that loosing a dog like Spock, for you or Toad, for me is any less painful as time passes but eventually the memories through the entire life of our dogs makes the endings somewhat more tolerable.

And thank you, again, for posting this.

dobebug
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post #34 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-26-2020, 11:00 PM
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A trick of the mind I discovered one day—when a loved one of mine is in another room in the house, I can tell stories about their antics, and laugh and smile when I remember them, without sad or painful thoughts….

Our much loved dogs? They're just in another room.
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post #35 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 07:17 AM
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I passed on reading this several times , I knew it would be a tear jerker and Ken was right . Like Aunt Bug said - I only knew Spock from the internet , Yet I felt lots closer to him , When I would call SD - Spock and Eva always said Hi , it was a squirrel , fire truck you name it , they were doing what they do best -Protecting us and working .

Your # 12. is the gut punch for me - I still do blame myself or second guess the lose of Ali ! As she laid on the patio with her head on my lap - looking at me with tears falling on her head , I felt and still do think I let her down - she always , always protected us , she was my first Ken's girl - What could I have done different ? I should have seen something , but I didn't and now she sleeps with Kasia in our dog lot .

SD- I think that you did such a great job with your Spock ! And the work you 2 did in helping the young students that Spock helped to open up in there young life's , what a team you too made and Spock is still with you every moment of the day and night .

You post was outstanding SD -- just Outstanding !

Well I had better get going before my computer shorts out from the tears I'm flooding the keyboard with

Thanks SD
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post #36 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 08:52 AM
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Oh our dear sweet Spock!
Your presence remains now and forever.
This was a great post Spock, just like your pup, always helpful.
Poke Power to all!
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post #37 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spocksdad View Post


12. Please Don’t Second Guess Others Or Yourselves - Try not to use 20/20 hindsight on Dobe owner’s decisions with their babies. We are each totally responsible for their well being and try our best to be wonderful caretakers, depending on circumstances and experiences. I began second guessing myself when Spock had IV in his leg and was standing in front of me. His head was resting on my lap, giving his me a soulful Dobe look. I held it together, stayed positive and told him what a great Doberman he was![/U]
Oh, SD...first, thank you for such an extensive post. I hope many are able to gain some good knowledge from you. It was thoughtful of you to share in such a painful time.

I really, really wanted to pull out this last part. I think so many of us have been in this place with our pets, where we feel like "if only" we had done something different, even though we really have done our best their whole lives. It comes from that deep love we have for them, and our desire to change things that we simply cannot change. I hope people take this to heart. Don't be hard on yourselves, and be kind to others. We all make the best choices we can and do the best we can for our pets. We work with the knowledge we have, and make the best choices we can. We all deeply love our pets and only want the best for them.

Lots of love and support to you and your family as you continue to grieve. I know how hard it is right now.


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post #38 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
Oh, SD...first, thank you for such an extensive post. I hope many are able to gain some good knowledge from you. It was thoughtful of you to share in such a painful time.

....

Appreciate all the thoughtful responses received on this thread!

Sorry about the typos in the last post.
I was getting very emotional just recounting the events and putting them down. Didn't proof read too well.


A few supplemental notes to above post chronology:


A. First Collapse- After DCM diagnosis, Spock's first collapse happened late on evening of 9th, when I let him out for potty break, off leash. He ran around backyard at night, his normal routine, then passed door and collapsed onto ground, his heart was racing a mile a minute (tachycardia). I kept him down until he calmed. After that point we kept him on leash, from then on. He didn't mind being leashed or tethered, as long as dad was with him! 24 hours later on 10th, when I when we both stepped out back door together, on leash for potty time, the second collapse happened, as described above.

B. Some Retro Behavior- When Spock was having the bad nausea reaction to the Vetmedin med, he started resorting to bad puppy behavior, digging up plants in backyard, I believe out of frustration or anguish.

Many have stated that dogs will become aggressive when in pain or sick, but Spock never, ever became this way, even through his last ordeals. That's what really impacted me emotionally, the fact that my Doberboy tried his best to still do his job while deteriorating, be Velcro and comfort us, right up until the end...


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post #39 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 02:52 PM
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SD,

Thank you for a post that I know wasn't easy to write. As you know, we recently had to put our 17-year old Shih Tzu to sleep when his heart failed him and although it was hard (especially for my wife, he was her boy), we knew it was the right & selfless thing to do.

These Dobermans give us so much love and attention, we are their whole world and I could always tell from your posts and videos how much you love(d) yours back.

Spock will always be in your memories, and ours as well.
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She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.
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post #40 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 02:53 PM
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Thank you SD for your informative and thoughtful post. I know how hard it is to do that right now when your loss is so recent.

As everyone else it got me in the feels and teary but that is ok. Our encounters with our loveys when they get older or are not well may help someone in the future. Or when they are worrying about the time may be coming to help their lovey to the bridge. These raw, emotional matter of fact accounts will help someone.

I know I read posts on here like that when I knew Coco's time was coming. And those posts helped me do what I had to for my best girl for all the joy and love she had brought to my life. I still miss her and I still cry sometimes but I love all that she brought into my life during her time with me.

And through that broken heart I found love for another lovey because of her. Sugar has been so good at helping heal my broken heart and I am very lucky to have him in my life. I never wanted a dog let alone a dobe and look at me now!

Hugs to you, your wife, Eva and Lanah. I'm sure Coco is bossing Spock around at the bridge since he is used to Eva doing that and Coco was certainly a bossy bitch with male dogs 🙂.
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Kin's Sweet Revenge aka Sugar December 31/18

Coco Loco RIP April 16/09 to December 21/18
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post #41 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 10:48 PM
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Thank you SD we feel your missing of Spock acutely. I hope the good memories overtake the more recent. Thank you for this chronology, it will be a beacon on DT of love.
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post #42 of 42 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 08:55 AM
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Hi SD -

It was hard to read but good information! My condolences for Spock, I was sad to hear.
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