On Friday, October 3rd 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 care of five of our other dogs.  On Saturday, my nightmare began.  Rose, my 5 year old 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.
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What Is Bloat?
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What Are the Signs of Bloat?
What If My Dog Bloats?
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My Story
Rose in her revovery ward the day after she came home.
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