Thanks everyone for your kind comments, emails, phone calls about Belle - she is a-okay! What a scary day we had though. I'd made an appointment to have her teeth cleaned because she had soo much plaque that there was concern that if she cut her gums she could get a blood infection from the bacteria. So... that was all we were having done. I was nervous about leaving her at the vet because I knew they wouldn't get to her procedure until later in the morning and she would be afraid in the kennel not knowing what was going on. (Remember, she's part deer, so any new experience is basically terrifying for her.)
When I was signing paperwork for anesthesia I opted to skip bloodwork and instead spend the extra (except, not really 'extra' - we don't have a money tree or anything!) money on the better gas (sevoflorane instead of isoflurane). I made that decision based on the fact that she is a healthy three-year old. Well, as I stood there, I changed my mind and skipped the sevo therefore opting to do the bloodwork.
An hour or so later the Dr called me. She wanted to let me know that her bloodwork was fine but there were some abnormalities on her EKG and she was concerned. She said that the EKG indicated first degree heart block and some second degree heart block. She also told me that the wiggly lines in the EKG indicated that her heart may be enlarged and that she had already consulted with a cardiologist in Raleigh that recommended x-rays immediately. I could barely wrap myself around this. I was standing in Lowes trying to find a security thing for my parents' new door as their house was broken into earlier this week. This was NOT the phone call I was expecting. She is three, she is fine. I didn't know what any of this meant. The Dr went on to tell me that they'd given her an atropine response test and she did well - they did this to keep her heart beating normally.
I told the Dr I would need to call our insurance company (thank goodness we have pet insurance!) and I would call her back. With moving and me taking a part time job, our finances have had to change and we are now on a pretty tight budget - getting her teeth cleaned in general was a splurge and not something we really had included so the fact that there was more made this even more stressful. Luckily, insurance would cover the xrays.
Another call from the Dr after xrays was devastating, the first x-ray was inconclusive and showed that her heart may, in fact, be large - BUT - Nola was not medicated and was highly stressed so maybe she was not still and the picture, therefore, not a clear indication. They decided to proceed with anesthesia and kept her heart monitored by EKG (and they administered atropine).
I called several times anxious about whether or not she was done and awake. Finally, a little after 1pm I got word that she was awake, had beautiful teeth, and a normal heart beat.
At 3:30 she was up walking around and had been out to potty. When I was able to get her an hour later, I met with the Dr and learned more about heart block and what it means. Thankfully, she thinks that Nola only has first degree heart block. Since she doesn't show any clinical signs, for her, it just means that any time she is under anesthesia, her heart will need to be monitored by EKG the entire time and she will probably need atropine. The Dr thinks that the second degree heart block was just stress, but to be sure, we will re-evaluate her in a few months.
American Heart has a page about heart block, it's the same for dogs, so if you're interested in reading more, click here. I am SO thankful that my big girl is okay. ...and that she has insurance to help cover the extra costs! And I'm thankful for SO many friends that know how much I love her and called, emailed, commented, texted me over these last few days. Thank you!
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