Lance was a Shiba Inu X that I got from a colleague of mine.
She had told me his heartbreaking story… he was dumped off near her sister’s house, who took him to the San Jose Animal Shelter. The shelter did a “behavioral test” on him and decided that he should be euthanized. Why? Because Lance failed their “pinch test.” This is where they grab his sides and see if the dog bites them. Well Lance didn’t bite them, but he did get mouthy with them.
When my colleague heard he had less than 24 hours to live, she got him out of the shelter, and asked me if I wanted him. (I had wanted a Chihuahua, but I took Lance in and named him, ‘Last Chance Lance.’
He was hesitant at first, but he was just dumped by his owner(s), and being at that shelter didn’t help either.
He was neutered at the animal hospital I used to work at – a state of the art veterinary hospital, open 24/7, every day of the year.
Lance took to my dog, Toby, more so than my dog, Gwenyth. He didn’t mind the cats either!
He was a great dog! (He passed last night hence I’m writing about him in the past tense.) 😭
Lance has severe periodontal disease. The first veterinarian I took him to (to save $$$) said he didn’t need his teeth cleaned. 😮 What?! He had built up tartar on his teeth and he was missing some teeth too… and knowing his previous history, those roots may still be retained in his gums. The veterinarian said she may have heard a heart murmur too. Hmm 🤔 he either has one, or he doesn’t. She also said this about Gwenyth, whom I knew had a heart murmur.
So, I scheduled Lance to see the state of the art vet, Adobe. Sure enough, he had stage III periodontal disease. Another colleague of mine cleaned his teeth and did multiple extractions. And many of his teeth were retained in his gums. He had a heart murmur that would get worse.
A heart murmur is a swooshing sound heard between the beating of the heart. It is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart. Some murmurs are harmless, and some are indicative of something wrong with the heart.
When a veterinarian auscults the heart and hears a murmur, they’ll want to do diagnostic tests to rule out any potential heart problems. Usually this is done by radiographing the heart and checking the size of it. In Lance’s case, his heart did appear to be enlarged.
The next diagnostic test is a cardiac ultrasound. The veterinarian will look at your pet’s heart, take measurements and also look at the blood flow.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
The mitral valve is a valve on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and ventricle that keeps the blood from flowing backwards.
How the Heart Works
Blood that isn’t oxygenated returns back to the heart (from the body) and enters the right atrium, then the right ventricle. From there, it is pumped into the lungs to become oxygenated, and then flows into the left atrium and ventricle, respectively. Then the oxygen rich blood is pumped throughout the body via the aorta and arteries.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation is caused when the mitral valve wears out. And this is when a heart murmur is heard.
It can be secondary to periodontal disease… this is what happened to Lance. 🙁 His teeth were so bad. But after he was diagnosed with this heart condition, it wasn’t advised for him to have any more dentals. Why? Because he could die under anesthesia.
Here’s Lance with his flying squirrel, but his favorite toy is Lamb Chop. He adored that toy so much that I bought quite a few of them.
Here’s his collections toys before the fire consumed them. Most of his toys are missing limbs.
Lance wearing some too large for him Doggles. 😂
Lance eating his Frosty Paws ice cream treat.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
When a dog has heart problems or an arrhythmia, he can suddenly die. And this is what happened with Lance.
Before I had left to go pick my boyfriend up from work, I had given Lance some milkbone cookies. He was acting normal. I would have never thought that he’d be dead when I arrived back home. 🙁😮😭
Lance not only had a murmur that continued to increase (started with stage I and ended up being a stage VI in only a few years,) but he also coughed a lot. This was from fluid in his lungs.
He was on medications for his heart: pimobendan, enalapril, and furosemide. The pimobendan was by far the most expensive of his meds.
Here’s Lance with his Hartz orange squeaky bone that he loved to chase.
My sweet boy, I love you and miss you! I have your lamb chop that now sleeps in bed with me because you’re not there. You were a great dog, and I’m so glad I was able to spoil you.