On Friday, October 3rd, 2008, I flew from Portland, Oregon to Lincoln, Nebraska to meet my
husband for the German Wirehaired Pointer Nationals. My parents stayed at our house to take
Bullmastiff, was sick....very sick.
Rose ended up at a top notch emergency clinic in Portland (Dove Lewis) where they diagnosed
gastric dilation-volvulus or "bloat". After she was stable enough, they went in to surgery. What
they saw when they opened her up was very grim. There was extensive necrosis of her stomach,
including the inlet of her esophagus and it had already perforated, spilling caustic bacteria ridden
debris into her abdominal cavity. There is nothing worse then talking to a surgeon's assistant in
another state, while your dog is on the table, and being asked to make the decision to spend an
enormous amount of money (that I don't have ) to TRY to save the life of your heart and soul
dog... or let her go. I knew in my head that there was a very slim chance she could possibly live
through such an extensive surgery and it's following complications, but my heart saw the glimmer
of hope and I could not speak the words to let her go. She's never been sick a day in her life and
is very physically fit. She's the sweetest girl I know and has done everything I've ever asked of
her (show dog, agility, rally, gave me a beautiful litter) all with a smile on her face. I could not
bear the thought of coming home and her not being there.
They proceeded with the surgery in which 50-75% of her stomach was removed (but the
remaining tissue was very healthy), tacked what little stomach remained, removed her spleen,
copiously flushed her abdominal cavity, and placed drainage tubes in her abdomen. This all
happened on Saturday. There was absolutely nothing I could do but wait and pray. With the
help of positive thoughts and prayers of family and friends across the country (and a fine surgeon
and technical staff) she progressed in a fashion beyond my hopes. Her ventricular arrhythmias
responded to medications and decreased in frequency, the inflammation on her abdominal
cytology never became severe, and her appetite returned to Bullmastiff levels (although restricted
to tiny frequent meals.)
October 9, 2008 - Day 5
When they predicted a discharge day of Wednesday, I rescheduled my return flight. My parents
picked me up at the airport at midnight and we went straight to the emergency clinic. I was so
surprised to see how alert and active she was. She wagged and wiggled from one person to the
next. Although she is home now and has not peeped a complaint, I know she is still not out of the
woods. There is still a chance that the repair job on her stomach can fail up to 10-14 days post
op. I should never complain again, because I am so extremely lucky to have some of the best
friends (thanks for holding my hand long distance, Lorena) and supportive family that love my
dogs as much as I do.
October 21, 2008 - Day 17
Day 14 has come and gone and so have her staples. Rose looks absolutely wonderful! She is
getting used to her frequent puny sized meals. I am utterly amazed that she not only pulled
through this ordeal, but with flying colors. I am thrilled beyond belief to still have my girl with
me. I love all my dogs, but she has always been especially close to my heart. We are now
looking to the future. Our goals are to put a little bit of weight back on her and work up her
strength. I'm hoping to get back on track with her Rally and hopefully agility as well. We're even
signed up for a tracking seminar next month.
December 5, 2008 - 2 months post GDV
Rose is now back to weekly agility class and jumping her regular height. She has all the
enthusiasm as prior to her near death experience, although not quite the muscle tone. We'll try to
hit a couple trials this winter. She's now down to 3 meals a day, which will be maintained for life.
December 2009 - 1 year later
Rose has since achieved her Open Agility Preferred, Open Jumpers
Preferred and Novice Rally titles. We're going to try tracking next! I'm
loving every moment I have with my girl.
Rose in her revovery ward (the
kitchen) the day after she came home.
Rose celebrating Halloween
stomach (2 black circles)