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Some here might remember her story and how for the past 5-6 years I've been working with her, to help her with her trust issues. She lost HaHa as a companion, and now has AU and she's stabilize a lot in the time that I've had her, as far as her fear of me, and her panic attacks. She even enjoys my company and comes into the computer room to lay down by my chair. She also doesn't get up and run away if she's laying down in the living room and I walk past her.

I'll probably never be able to just walk up and touch. or pet her though...she still won't allow that. But she will take food from my hand, and she always comes back to me now when I call her and I can even trust her now to go out the front door into the un-fenced area without me in a panic, thinking she will run away.
And...last year, she learned to enjoy car rides. :D She even gets a bit excited knowing she and AU will get to go with me sometimes when I leave the house.

Anyway... kind of bad news. About 2 months ago, I noticed Jaya started panting a lot more than I thought she should be doing. I thought at first, maybe I just had the house to warm...it was still winter conditions.
But...I finally realized something wasn't right. So I, sadly, had to stress her out by catching her, putting her collar and leash on, and taking her to the vets.

Given Jaya's age...which is probably 11 to 12 years old, her use of steroids for her summer time allergies, and her panting almost non stop. My vet thought maybe it might be Cushing. In which, case, I would have had to put her to sleep....the meds are expensive, and the chances of the dog living for even a year isn't all that great...and for her size, (75 pounds) she's lived a nice long life.

So I had the tests done...which is an all day thing. I had to leave her with the vet around 9 am, and wasn't able to get her back until 7 pm. They take a number of blood draws before and after giving her certain drugs to see how her body reacts to the drugs. Then those blood draws had to be sent out to an outside lab...so it was almost a week of me stressing so much until the results came in.

Fortunately... it's not Cushing. I almost cried when I got the results.

So, now... on Tuesday (June 2), Jaya will go in for some imaging to be done on her heart, liver, and lungs...to see if something is going on there. The vet said that sometimes heart issues...depending upon which side of the heart is affected...can make a dog either cough, or pant heavily. I've had dogs with heart issues that coughed...but never panted.

I never thought I would say this, but I do hope it is a heart issue...one that meds can help out. I've read that older dogs can often live a few years comfortably with the meds, which don't have severe side effects and also which are not too expensive. [I'm dirt poor, for those who don't know...I'm not cheap... I would and have gone into deep debt to help my pets]

Anyway... fingers crossed for Jaya. I am hoping now that it's not some cancer or something. She's not the most affection dog, but she's given me everything she can give...she's over come her terror of humans, at least with me and looks at me with trust now... as long as I don't try to touch her. :p I love her, she's just a lovely quiet brave soul who endured 5 years of torture and neglect. I would love to see her get a lot more than 5 years of peace and feeling safe...so yeah, I would love to see her live another few years.

Here's a photo of AU and Jaya each eating a pork rawhide treat in the cool morning and in the shade of the porch roof last Friday.




Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry I didn't get in with the last update on Jaya. Things around my house have been breaking down faster than I can keep up with them....Jaya...the lawnmower, well-pump, the car...been trying to schedule repairmen and figuring out how to pay for it all.

Anyway, here's what the imagining on Jaya's heart, lungs and liver showed.

The good news, no tumors were found.

Not so good news, is her heart and liver are both enlarged, and her lungs had liquid in them and her heart has some liquid around it too. And, the vet said she has kind of a small chest cavity for a dog her size...so her heart, lungs and liver are all kind of pressing against each now.

Jaya has summer time allergies, so we decided to address that first. The steroids, will give her relief from the itching, but they will also help remove some of the excess liquid from her body, which will help her lungs and the liquid from around her heart. She got the steroid shot at the beginning of this week. She has a really hard time for about 4 days after taking a steroid with her bladder control....that is why we are waiting until next week to start her on lasix.
Hopefully, that medication will help control the liquid build up around her heart and in her lungs from here on out.

I'm also going to reduce her food intake a little and see if I can get about 10 pounds off of her, and I'm going to give her a really short hair cut, too. All of which should help with her panting anymore than need be.

She was at 70 for a long time, but over the past year, and a half she's gained another 10.
I think she's been eating what AU sometimes leaves behind in his dish.
HaHa never left food behind and he sucked it up like a Kirby vacuum...but AU is a slow eater, and sometimes just doesn't eat all his food at once. I just never know when he's going to clean out his dish or leave some. I have measured out my dogs' food for years...so I was surprised at Jaya's weight gain. She's a big dog though and her hair is so thick and long...that it wasn't really noticeable to me.

The vet said the enlarge heart and liver are a sign that Jaya's health is starting that 'old age' slide. But she's not in pain, and hopefully she will get another year or two to enjoy life...which is what I want for her.

I just wanted her to live more years enjoying life than she spent in the first 5 years of her life. I've had her for about 5 years now, and have seen her ever so slowly come out of her shell, and it's been wonderful to see her do so.

Just a year and a half ago, I finally got her to play...she watched AU chasing 'the bug' -- a laser light, and she joined in....front leg pronging at it and enjoying the chase, with her tail up and her ears forward. I almost cried when I saw her just so relaxed that she would play like that with me near-by and she was enjoying herself so much that she wasn't warily watching me.
I have been choked up with emotion several times with Jaya's progress...with the best moment for me...was when I came home after being gone for some hours, and Jaya was Happy To See Me! She trotted around in a tight circle with her tail up and even came over to smell my hand when I bent over hand extended it to her. Usually that would have had her ducking out of reach... she was still ready to do so, but opted to come forward instead and bumped her nose to my hand...before stepping back, but not like she was going to take off.

Anyway... I feel like a heavy weight has been taken from my chest... I was having such a bad feeling that everything was going to turn out horrible. Hopefully, I can have her around this summer and maybe even next summer. Most dogs her size don't hit 13 to 14 years old, and I would be happy if she made it to 12, as long as she's still comfortable and not feeling afraid of everything.

Thanks everyone for the concern for her.

Stormy
 

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Hi Stormy,
Glad there is some light in that tunnel. Sometimes there are just too many things happening all at the same time. I always subscribed to the definition of TIME, which is defined as, 'natures way of keeping everything from happening at the same time'! There are times, I question how well that works. As long as Jaya has no pain, and her quality of life is reasonably good, sounds like it is, you are golden with her for now. Keep us posted, we are certainly interested.
 

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That is soooo stressful for you trying to find out the diagnosis. You might want to ask the vet what "grade" this is. I took care of a little chihuahua who had an enlarged heart, fluid in the lungs, etc. The meds helped so much! He had a great life for another 3 years with 6 diff. meds 4 times a day. He would go into his oxygen tent when it became difficult to breathe.
 
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