One year ago our sweet greyhound, Vinny, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. And he was not even 5 years old, yet. It was discovered after a trip to the dentist for some oral surgery, that he had developed a murmur. For those of you with a limited medical background, cardiomyopathy is an enlargement of the heart muscle. This leads to thickening of the muscle and a weakened pump. It is a progressive disease that can also cause arrhythmias (irregular or dangerous heart rhythms) or sudden death. No cause could be determined, it was thought to be genetic or just an anomaly. Being a critical care nurse for the majority of my nursing career, I am quite aware of how devastating this disease can be.
So, the greyt spouse and I came to terms with Vinny’s diagnosis and were ready to give him the best that we could and enjoy him for however long he would be with us.
Yesterday, one year later, we repeated his echocardiogram. I calmly waited to hear from our vet to call. Vinny has been doing very well this past year. His energy levels were good, there has beenno signs of coughing or signs that he tires easily. I was not expecting a bad report, but I did not expect the vet to say that he heart is,….NORMAL!
What? This is not a disease that returns to normal, normally. The explanation from the vet and cardiologist is that for some unknown reason Vinny developed a viral infection that affected his heart. Most viral infections are self-limiting and the heart muscle will return to normal or near-normal function over time. However, viral cardiomyopathy is not a common occurrence in humans, even rarer in dogs and the first case my vet has seen in her career.
So gone are the twice daily horse pills that cost about $100.00 a month. Along with routine trips to the vet for blood work that made Vinny shake worse than the Energizer Bunny on uppers. He will need another echocardiogram in a few months, just to make sure there are no changes.
Vinny, here’s to many, many years of walks, dreams of rabbit hunting,treats and lots of love! Now if only we could cure Vinny’s corns, so that his walks could be pain-free.