Monday, September 15, 2008
von Willebrands Disease
We had so many hopes for Jarie when she came to us at 10 weeks old. Since Jake was retired from competing in AKC Obedience trials, Jarie was to be my husbands next prodigy. Little did we know all the health problems she came with. We tried every type of good quality food for her, and none would help all her digestive issues. Sometimes she would go several days without eating. She had many loose stool and vomiting days. No matter what we tried, nothing helped. If you have ever gone through this for a long period with a dog, you know how discouraging it is.
With several vet visits, tests, antibiotics, prescription diets, it was finally determined she has Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Eighteen months pass, and we still had no control over her IBD. We kept trying everything. Jarie also has a compromised immune system. Many food and environmental allergies. Finally at 20 months old we had decided to try her on Innova Evo RM dog food. Crazy as it sounds, it is very high protein and high fat, (normally not good for an IBD dog) yet she does excellent on this food, not perfect; but better then any other she has tried.
Fast forward to May of this year. We waited until we felt her immune system was strong enough before we decided to have her spayed. May 9th 2008, a normal day. My husband dropped her off to be spayed. She has already been through 2 heat cycles, both very light, and she never seemed to be bothered by them. So, being the worried mom that I am, I worry all day until the vet calls and says she is fine, it was a tough surgery for her, but all is fine, we can pick her up.
After being at the vets for 8 hours, my husband arrived at the vets to pick her up only to find out she can't come home. The vet noticed she was oozing blood from her incision. He quickly took her back to have an ultrasound done, she was bleeding internally. Jarie had to have an emergency surgery to find where she was bleeding from and to stop it. A very long night, 3 doctors in the surgery room with her. She has von Willebrands Disease. A bleeding disorder causing her blood not to clot. They had to give her blood transfusions, 3 liters of blood. The second surgery they used staples instead of sutures. She had to stay at the vets for 3 nights and 4 days. More information on this disease can be found at PetEducation.Com.
When we first found out about the vWD and what we put her through during surgery and almost losing her we felt so guilty. The guilt quickly faded when we realized this was a blessing in disguise. Having vWD, Jarie could and most likely would have hemorrhaged internally during one of her heat cycles. Boy, who would have thought?
Jarie is still a very normal happy 2 year old German Shepherd. She still leads a normal life. We are now aware of her health issues, and are more careful with her, knowing that with this type of bleeding disorder we need to be prepared and extra cautious.
Through all her health issues and all the times my husband and I worry about her, we have no regrets bringing that little puppy home.