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.


troutbirder said...

My goodness. What a beautiful dog she is and what problems she has dad. Your are to be commended for your loving devotion. I am feeling a little guilty after reading this. Muffy was my awesome Chesapeake who live to be ten when I put her down. At 7 she was diagnosed with a urinary tract blockage problem. Only the Univ. of Minn had doctors who could deal with it. The chance of success was less than 50%. It would cost over $7,ooo, I said no. I nurtured her for three more wonderful years then...

elsieflynn said...

thanks for sharing that story with us, and also the information on the disease.

i agree, that even though it was a tough week, the result was a blessing.

she's beautiful, and she's a lucky girl to be with you & your family :D

Betty said...

You are awesome! What would her life have been like without you?

Our first rescue had epilepsy and our third had kidney failure. Our second rescue had congestive heart failure for four years...lots of meds and tests, but we had him about 3 1/2 years longer than expected.

Our current three rescues seem to be in good health overall...fingers crossed!

Our hearts go out to you for your good works. Take care.

T said...

troutbirder, Thank you. Don't ever feel guilty. We all do the best we can. You enjoyed Muffy for another 3 years, and a full 10 years, you obviously did something right, I am sure.

Thanks, and yes it was a tough week, but we all pulled through,and yes, it was a true blessig to find out when we did. (hugs)

well it sounds like you have had your share of health issues with the furkids. My husband and I always say that we get sent the *special needs* for some reason, still trying to figure that one out, but we do what we need to do.

Jarie has lifelong health issues, and we have to be on top of them, especially the bleeding, but anything for our baby.:)

Dog_geek said...

Awww. poor girlie! She's such a beautiful dog, I'm sorry to hear about all her health issues. It just never seems fair that such innocent creatures should have to suffer. Hugs to you and Jarie.

Dana said...

Everytime I read your post I end up crying. What a beautiful dog