Friday, March 06, 2009

Bad news at the vet

Sebastian went in for his annual physical and shots today. While examining him, his vet (Dr. Clark) discovered that he has a leaking mitral valve.

Dr. Clark said that, as these leaks go, Sebastian's is mild--currently a 1 on a 1-5 scale--but that this type of heart disease is progressive. We had already noticed some decreased activity tolerance (which we had attributed to age; he was 7 in October) which we now know is related to this problem. Dr. Clark told us to be on the lookout for any type of mild wheeze or cough with excitement or activity. When Sebastian starts to display these symptoms, he will have to go on medication.

Dr. Clark said that he "doesn't think this will shorten his life span," but the normal life expectancy for a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. . . . so even if Sebastian only lives another two-and-a-half years, a vet would probably consider his life span "normal." Because I have gone to great pains throughout his life to keep Sebastian slim and healthy--many people have told me that he's one of the skinniest Goldens they've seen--I had long hoped that he would be an exception to the normal life span range and live to 14 or 15. Some Goldens do; I'd hoped Sebastian would be one of them.

I'm sad. I actually cried when we left the vet's office. . . not just a tear or two, but really cried. (Freaked MM out a little, I think, because he's never seen me cry before, beyond just tearing up a bit a few times.)

I know this news isn't a "death sentence" for Sebastian. But it's a reminder for me that he is not going to be around forever. . . . and maybe not even for as many years as I thought.

7 comments:

Land family said...

I'm so sorry-my cat that I had since college had the same thing and a murmur. His was caused from hyperthyroidism. We fixed that through radioactive iodine but it didn't fix his heart problems. Will you see a cardiologist? Did they do an ultrasound?

We were lucky enough that Buzz never had congestive heart failure or any of the other possibilities. But it is scary and very upsetting. And being faced with the fact that they will someday leave us is just horrible.

I understand completely. Even with kids my pets are still my children. They are so wonderful.

PVs to you.

Jenn said...

I completely understand, I'm sad FOR you! I know how much I love my dog and how upset I would be if I heard the same news because you always want them to live as long as possible and 9 isn't quite enough for me.

I've been feeling a little bummed lately because my parents dog, who is 13, has been going through some health problems that we thought might be the end for him. Thankfully he's gotten through them but it makes me sad that not only does he probably not have that much time left, but also made me think that eventually my dog will get old and die. She's only 4, but I'm still sad thinking of that day.

TUWABVB said...

I'm not saying that you don't have a right to be upset and cry - I had the same reaction...when my dog got this diagnosis about 14 years ago. Seriously. Riley had a mild leak like that - nothing could be done, and here she is torturing me into her old age. The mummur has gotten worse, and I've been encouraged by a vet I particularly hate to do mroe for her, but you know, she's 15 and she doesn't need a $500 test that will just stress her out. You're a good momma and I'm SURE that Seabass will live a long and happy life. :)

Michella said...

I'm so sorry for the heartbreaking news. I know how much you love him. And, of all people, understand how important a doggie can be in your life. It made me sad when I read your 10-12 yr statistic for a Golden. Harper turned 10 this year and still acts like a puppy. But, it breaks my heart to know his little body won't hold up much longer. He was really sick with a tummy ailment this week and it had me worried that there was a bigger underlying problem. But, thank God, he recovered and he's back to his old self.

Lately, I've been reminded how much we need to enjoy the time we have that is left with our babies. It may sound like a morbid way of looking at things. But, I really don't want to miss any moments. He's been the joy of my life for so many years.

Flying Monkeys said...

I'm sorry. When the vet told me my cat had kidney failure and there isn't much we can do except wait it out, I cried too.
I hope he proves the vet wrong.

Kristi Marie said...

I'm sorry, Sharon :( I know you love Sebastian very much and I know he loves you just as much. Give him an ear rub from me and the boys.

Lisa said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you got this kind of news. Pets are such an important part of our lives so I understand why you feel the way you do.