Our little girl Aurora is back in the hospital. On Sunday morning when I let her out of her crate, she was down in her hindquarters and screamed when she tried to move. She scooted forward, dragging both back legs behind her. I knew instantly what had happened: another blood clot. I was just incredulous, because last weekend she had been bleeding to death internally, unable to clot, and exactly one week later she was suddenly clotting too much. How could that be possible? She’d also had diarrhea in her crate, so I carried her downstairs and outside so she could pee?on the grass. She tried to walk again, and both back legs flipped backwards as she moved forward. When we picked her up to see if she could stand, we noticed she had some resistance in her right leg and could pull it away if we tugged on it, but her left leg was completely limp. Her legs?were not yet cool to the touch, so the clot must have developed in the past hour or two.
As Aurora struggled to stand, she cried out again and again. Alayne and I stood there and watched, our hearts just breaking for her. While Alayne scooped her up and carried her back inside to give her water and put her on a bed in the living room, I called our internal medicine specialist at Peak in Burlington, Dr. Marielle Goossens, to tell her what was happening. Bless Marielle’s?heart, early on a Sunday morning, she’s on the phone with me and taking care of us yet again. She told me what to start Aurora on — the main thing right then was buprenorphine for pain, which we had on hand just in case Aurora had another clotting episode — and to bring her over to Peak so she could start treating Aurora that afternoon. We bathed Aurora, and soon Alayne was on her way to Burlington. I went back to haying (yes, we were in the middle of haying again when this happened!).
On Monday morning the radiologist at Peak, Dr. Lynn Walker, found out on ultrasound what had occurred: Aurora hadn’t thrown a new clot, but the original?clot from months ago had grown larger and moved a little farther down her abdominal?aorta, now shutting off blood flow to her left rear leg and reducing the existing flow somewhat to her right leg. In the immediate aftermath of her first clotting episode, Aurora’s body had quickly compensated by re-routing blood flow around the clot to the right leg very quickly. We were all astonished at how fast she recovered the use of the leg. This time, her left leg is taking a lot longer to get the blood flow back.
But the question remained: How could she go from uncontrollable bleeding to clotting in a week?
Well, as Marielle explained to me yesterday, we are now balanced on a knife’s edge with Aurora’s clotting factors. In reducing Aurora’s?heparin dose slightly last week to stop the internal bleeding, it apparently was just enough to trigger renewed clotting around the existing blockage. We thought that clot might have been eliminated by now through normal body processes, but that wasn’t the case. To give you some idea of the fine-tuning here, over the space of a few months we had gradually worked up to a dose of 3.3 cc of heparin, with weekly blood tests to determine her clotting activity and adjusting the dose accordingly. When she began bleeding out last weekend, Marielle told the emergency clinic to reduce the heparin dose to 2.5 cc, then increase it to 2.8 cc. That was the dose we had continued her on through the week. This past Sunday morning, Marielle had us increase it to 3.0 cc before transporting her, and she’s now at 3.1 cc. Part of the problem, Marielle told us, is that the body doesn’t always absorb and utilize heparin at a steady rate, which can wreak havoc when you are so finely balanced between bleeding and clotting.
As I was writing this post, Marielle called with an update: Aurora’s left leg has regained warmth (it had grown cold by Sunday afternoon), though she doesn’t have use of it yet. She is able to hop around a bit on three legs, and is no longer crying out in pain. She continues to have some gastrointestinal issues, which Marielle believes may be due to restricted blood flow to part of her intestines because of the clot. They are beginning physical therapy on her left leg, which is something we will have to continue when she comes home to keep it from atrophying. Right now the plan is for us to bring her back on Thursday if she continues to progress. What then? Her prognosis is guarded at best. It will, quite literally, be a day by day thing. Please keep her in your thoughts.
Thoughts and prayers for Aurora and for you and Alayne. And many thank you’s to the vets and their staff who are working so hard to help her.
Gary Wisner says
Prayers for the care you give and Aurora
Prayers for all of you. I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time.
Joanne Egan says
So sorry to hear of that poor girls ordeal –not to mention you and Alayne
Prayers for you all
Cassie B. says
Aww, poor little girl! My heart just breaks for her AND for you, too, Steve & Alayne! Sending good healing mojo and lots of prayers Aurora’s way. She couldn’t be in better hands!
Leila - Allyn, WA says
You guys are always in my prayers……….hoping Aurora works through all this and comes out the better for it. Hang in there. Hugs to you all!
Shelly Entzminger says
Thoughts and prayers go out daily to everyone at RDF!! Hang in there Aurora.
Jessica, NL says
she is in my thoughts and in my prayers… and I won’t forget about praying, because one of my two cats is dealing with lots of hip-pain too, unfortunately. because of osteoarthritis his hip can ‘lock’ into something very painful, and that either takes a few seconds or a lot longer to snap loose… he is over 18, and it is so sad that his mind is very bright and willing to GO, and the body is not.
I hope for the best for Aurora, she is in such good hands!!
Thinking of you all!!! Sending you my positive thoughts! Aurora is getting the very best care…I know!!!
Sandy Shubert says
My most compassionate St. Francis look down on this special pup who needs so much and send your strength and guidance for recovery, your power for pain relief and healing, most of all compassionate understanding and love for her and her wonderful master who cherishes her so….thank you !
Many prayers and good thoughts. And some tears too.
So upsetting; wishing you (and Aurora!) the strength and fortitude to deal with this…
Janet in Cambridge MA says
You are all in my thoughts.
A big thank you to the vets and their staff who work with patience and love during emergencies,
I’m holding Aurora in safe and healing thoughts.
Heidi, Emmett the Beagle, and Moxie the Kitty says
Am sending gentle healing thoughts and prayers to Aurora and all her caregivers, and peaceful hearts to her anxious and distraught parents. Much love to you, Aurora! And Emmett sends lots of Arooos your way!
pat conlon says
Prayers are with all of you in getting through this. I know how hard it is to watch your dog cry out in pain. God bless you. 🙁
Sending prayers and positive thoughts to Aurora, you and Alayne and the wonderful vets who are caring for her. Hoping she’ll be feeling much better when she gets home and that she will continue on a healing path.
Thoughts and prayers going out to all of you. Your the best parents. How is little Dexter hopefully well.
Tonya Allen says
I’m so sorry to hear this. Frightening and painful for everyone. So frustrating that it’s so hard to get the medication right. I will hope that this was the low point and that she’ll stabilize and start to improve.
Thoughts and prayers from our home as well.
Jacq Holder says
Sending healing wishes for Aurora.
Shirley and James says
Oh my—so stressful. Praying and sending healing!!!!
All my best good karma, thoughts and prayers for Aurora, and all her kind angels on earth taking care of her. So glad you are in her corner and hoping for the best. -M