|When Taj was small enough, his fave place to sleep was underneith me!|
He spent many long days at the Vet where we would drop him off in the morning and pick him up at night just so he could be on a drip and get some fluids/nutrience. He also had a whole range of different tests and scans done so would come home with different patches of hair missing where they shaved his hair to get closer to him.
|No happiness in that face. Bright bandage where his drip was.|
|He spent a lot of time lying on the cold tiles in the bathroom, so that's where I moved his water bowl.|
Arrhythmia was a very scary diagnosis for us. I remember when Lee called me to tell me the news about Taj's diagnosis. It was after I had just finished an exam at uni and I was in my car still parked in the carpark with the tears streaming down my face. If anyone saw me they probably thought I had just flunked an exam. My furry black baby has a heart defect! This would be something we would have to deal with for the rest of his life. Taj would spend the rest of his life with:
- Various tablets at various times during the day. We actually bought one of those weekly medication storage things that have morning, noon and evening compartments so we could sort out which tablets were once a day, twice a day or three times a day and at the correct dosage. We eventually bought another one so I only had to sit there with a pill cutter once every two weeks. Some tablets had to be hidden in small cubes of dog roll and dinner tablets are hidden in his can food (see below about his diet).
- No exercise at all. His heart was already racing so if we were to take him for a run (which Lee did quite often beforehand) then the chances of Taj having a heart attack and dying on us was very high. We were also told that we may even just come home one day with him not with us anymore. The thought of him having a heart attack outside alone was very upsetting to me. Try telling a puppy to not run around! Those of you who have owned dogs will know the little 'spazzes' they have when all of a sudden they get in the mood of running around the house. In my case it involves 'drifting' on the floor boards and slamming (all 30kg) into the walls. He likes to use the carpeted hallway to stop safely - kind of like a 'runaway truck ramp' on the side of a hilly road.
- A special prescription diet. Gone are the days of ducking down to City Farmers to get a bag of biscuits. He is now on a strict diet of portion controlled low salt, high good-for-your-heart-stuff from Royal Canin. With no exercise we don't want him to get fat so each day he has 129g of Royal Canin cardiac dry biscuits and 1.5 cans of Royal Canin cardic canned food. About every month and a half I will spend an hour with the electric scales and fill about 40-50 plastic snap lock bags with 129 grams of biscuit.
- Regular trips to the vet. A big thank you to the girls and guys of Kingsway Veterinary Centre and Perth Vet Specialist who know Taj very well. I should mention just how glad Lee and I are that we took out Pet Insurance as soon as he was 8 weeks old (the earliest you can get insurance). Vet appointments aren't cheap. Vet appointments plus EEG's, ultrasounds, blood tests, hospitalisation, special diet, prescription medication = 1000's and 1000's of $$. Pet Insurance has been wonderful!
Now a days Taj is a happy and very cheeky dog. If I am on the computer and he gets bored and wants a cuddle he will jump up and squirm his way onto my lap (just his top half, he is way too big to be a lap dog). You can tell when he has something he shouldn't when he tries to sneak past you but as soon as you look up or say 'hey!' he bolts down the hallway where you have to chase him and try sheppard him into a corner. He loves his Kong toys, especially the type that you put the treats inside and he has to roll them around to get them out. He doesn't even need the treats inside (he isn't allowed many treats anyway). He will play with them for hours without anything in them! We have had to throw out many toys (anything soft, or rope-like) because he has chewed them to tiny pieces. He is a bit of a Marley :-)
|The duck and the basketball are no longer around.|
|The red Kong toys have lasted!|
We still aren't taking him on walks but he is a happy dog. When the weather becomes better and consistant we will start taking him back out in the world of different smells. Definitely no running with Lee but short slow walks are fine. Will have to take that 10m lead out somewhere :-)