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Livy's Journal

Last Updated Monday, November 08, 2010

Thank you for your interest in this special girl. Her story began on Thanksgiving day, 2006. Updates on her treatment were written by her FOSTER during her treatment. We hope that Livy's fight will educate so that other dogs don't have to suffer or die from this preventable disease.

August 19, 2007

Today is probably the biggest day of Livy's life, it's the day that I get to write the finally entry in her journal, because today, Livy finally went home.

We received a wonderful application to adopt Livy just days after she had her hip surgery. The young couple that submitted the application was moving into a new home and planning a wedding. They knew that Livy couldn't go home until she was recovered and that worked out well for them because they were moving into their home. So, they anxiously awaited the day she could join them along with their other senior girl, Oreo who is also a rescue.

For weeks, I emailed or chatted with Kellie almost every day, she was very knowledgeable about Livy and was obviously very much in love with her. She had that 'wow' factor that we want for all of our fosters.

So finally, the day is here, Kellie and Chris drove to town to meet her. Kellie's first reaction was how beautiful Livy is, she kept saying that over and over, did I mention the 'wow' factor? They brought their girl, Oreo with them and we met at a neutral location so the girls could get to know each other.  Other than a couple of turned up lips, usually by Livy, they seemed to do just fine with each other.

So, after signing all the paperwork and handing over large amounts of medical records to Chris and Kellie, we loaded Livy up in the car with Oreo. I can't describe the emotions I was feeling as I watched her leave, on one hand, I was ecstatic for her and crying tears of joy, another minute, I was crying because she was gone, and then other times I couldn't believe she'd made it this far, she'd been with me 10 months. And I wasn't the only one crying, Livy has really become very special to several of us in the group, especially her 'Aunt Laura'.

I anxiously awaited reports that she'd made the long trip home and was settling in and it wasn't long before I started getting wonderful updates from Kellie. Livy was quickly learning her way around her new house, settling in with Oreo and on last report had learned to crawl up onto a lap for some snuggle time.

Livy has been an inspiration to many people that have also rescued dogs from shelters, only to find that they had heartworms. All of these dogs either had or are undergoing heartworm treatments. I heard of a couple dogs, Coco and Phoebe, that didn't survive the treatment. These are the ones that really break my heart, their death was so senseless and could of been prevented if their previous owners had only cared enough to put them on an inexpensive once a month pill. I'd like to thank everyone that offered me encouragement and support and especially thank everyone that contributed money to her care. This is one very special girl and my life was forever enriched by her.

I hope that Livy's story will convince other people to test their dogs annually and keep them on heartworm prevention.

July 12, 2007

Livy's 2 weeks of strict crate rest is up today, it's time to start rehab. Since she's very unstable on the leg, I decided we needed to start real slow. She does stand on it, but if she walks on the slick floor, she falls and we have to help her up. She doesn't know how to go slow.

So, we took a long rubber mat and rolled it out so it goes from the back door, passes in front of her crate and ends at her beloved fish tank. Now she's going in and out of the crate and she stands and talks to her fish. When she's standing there, she's putting all of her weight on the leg and forgets that she's doing it.

She's also talking to the fish, she's been very bored....

June 28, 2007

Livy has really become quite the character, she goes from one obsession to another, anything that moves is her motto. Herding the fish in the aquarium has become her favorite past time. But other things amuse her as well, the television, feet moving under a blanket or Jack Russells running around the yard. The later cost her dearly this week.

We've had a lot of rain over the past few weeks in Austin and this week there has been a lot of flooding in the area. Three nights ago, Livy was going to herd the Jack Russells when she slipped on the mud. She screamed and went down and we knew immediately that she was seriously hurt.

We took her to the emergency clinic and they confirmed our fear, she had dislocated her left hip. She has dysplasia and arthritis. When they did xrays the hip slipped back into the socket. We hoped that rest would be all she needed but the next morning when she came out of her crate, it was already dislocated again.

So we took her yesterday to Dr. Stephen Kerpsack for an evaluation. Because of the type of dislocation he was able to set it and then he hobbled her back legs to keep her stable. We were hoping that 3 weeks of crate rest would be all she needed. I took her back to Windsor Park Vet Clinic for the day and by afternoon, it was dislocated again and she'd had no activity.

Today, Dr. Kerpsack performed a FHO on the hip, he said she did well in surgery and could go home tomorrow. She will need 2 weeks of complete crate rest and then I will begin her rehab to rebuild her hip muscles and teach her to use the leg again. Once she completes her rehab, she'll have a useable hip without the arthritic pain.

I've been heartbroken over this all week, this girl is so special to all of us, she has such a beautiful drive and spirit and has weathered the storm, now she has another storm to go thru. Please keep her in your hearts and prayers over the next few weeks.

April 9, 2007

After everything Livy has been thru, we can finally start looking at other things that need to be done, things that just weren't that important previously. So, last week, I took her to the vet for a dental and to have some lumps checked out. We also decided to xray her hips to see the extent of her arthritis. The lumps checked out as just cysts, but one of the lumps on her muzzle was actually a cracked tooth that was absessed. She actually had two cracked molars and by looking at her teeth, this girl must of been a big chewer in her younger days. The vet tried getting the two teeth out but the roots were too deep. He did verify the arthritis in the hips. But the big issue was if she could go under anesthesia because of the stress on her heart, but no problem! So, today, I took her to the dentist and he was able to extract the two molars. He also did preliminary blood work but said she had no problems in surgery, her blood pressure was good and she woke up with no problems.

March 19,2007

March 13, 2007

Livy's big day!!! She's got her clearance from the doctor. No more treatments!!! Since she was negative for microfilaria at the beginning, she won't have to get the treatment for them, she simply needs to start heartworm preventative. What a big deal that was, she got her first heartworm pill. She'll also need to be tested for heartworms again in 6 months and it won't be known for some time if she has any lasting damage to her heart or lungs from the heartworms. But one thing I know is that she has exceeded all of our expectations at this point.

We have cleared her for adoption, I'm still in awe about that, I never would believed back in November that she would of made it this far. And best of all, she's done it with flying colors. Way to go Livy!

March 6, 2007

It's now 3 weeks since Livy's 3rd heartworm treatment and she's still feeling great and not coughing at all. She's been amazing and she continues to get more outgoing and dynamic every day. If I don't let her out of her crate after she eats in the evening to go outside and watch the other dogs, she really fusses at me. When I go outside to pick up the yard, she follows me around and talks to me. She's really a silly girl, very animated and bouncy, but still behaving herself. She seems to know the extent of what she's allowed to do, she doesn't go up the stairs, which the cats appreciate, but she does enjoy laying at the bottom of the stairs to try and catch a glimpse of one. It will be 6 weeks from this treatment on March 26 and then she'll receive a different treatment for the microfilaria. Ten days later and she's all done! I still can't believe she's come this far and she's almost done. As an added bonus, no coughing. The vet thought she might keep some of the cough for the rest of her life because of the damage, but so far, she's proving them wrong. Good girl Livy!

February 19, 2007

As today marks one week from Livy's 3rd heartworm treatment, she's laying at my feet watching me. Actually, she's laying in her open crate very close to me. She always goes back to her crate, that's her place, even though it's open, and the doors leading outside to the back yard are open.  She went out and did her business and came right back in and went to her crate.

Since this was a heavier treatment that usual, I was concerned that the coughing might start back up, but so far, she's doing really good and I haven't heard her cough once. I think she's got to get through 10 days after treatment before I can let my guard down on the coughing, but I'm very impressed for now.

February 12, 2007

I dropped Livy off at Windsor Park Vet Clinic today and as usual, she was happy to be there. This is probably one of the best dogs at going to the vet, she thinks it's a place to go see friends, but most importantly, you can watch kitty cats all day long!

She got her 3rd HW treatment today, and instead of the light treatment that she has gotten the last two times, this will be a full treatment. She got one shot today and tomorrow she'll get another one. If all goes well, she'll go home on Wednesday. Then 6 weeks later, she'll return for a treatment for the microfilaria and then she will finally be heartworm free!!!

I was really worried about putting her back on strict crate rest and leash, she's been getting a little taste of freedom and I hated that I might have to take it away from her. The good news is that as long as she's not coughing, I don't have too. She'll need to be kept quiet, in the crate when we're not home, and obviously she can't run with the dogs. But, she can go outside and hang out when it's a pretty day and she can follow (herd) the dogs around when they're calm. She'll be happy about that. Around the 10th day, she may go thru a coughing spell as she gets rid of the dead worms, but a day or two of confinement, we can deal with.

February 4, 2007

Another big day for Livy. The weather was beautiful, it's hard to believe it's not spring, so we've spent most of the afternoon with the French doors open and Livy has been able to go in and out. She loves laying in the sun, then she comes back inside to check on me, then back out to watch Chance, the resident Border Collie. This girl has a very strong herding eye.

She's also showed me that she absolutely can't be trusted with the cats. She followed me upstairs at lunch and was able to spend about 10 minutes keeping an eye on the cat as he slept on the love seat. This provides her with a lot of entertainment. That was fine until the cat decided to go lay somewhere else. Livy was quick to respond, but the floors are too slick and she couldn't get traction.

Later in the afternoon, I had my dogs outside doing some training. The entire time, Livy was in her crate barking. It's a sure sign that she's feeling better, she hears every little noise with my dogs, even if they're upstairs and she's down. Her usual response is the bark. Since I was training everyone, I thought she needed a turn as well, so we went outside and worked on her sits, downs and come. No doubt about it, this girl is very treat motivated.

She's due for another heartworm treatment around the 10th, so it's going to be hard to put her back on the strict rules, but sure is fun to watch her enjoying life.

January 25, 2007

Today has been a very special day for Livy! I haven't let her mix with my dogs because I'm afraid they'll get her too excited. But today, it's a beautiful day after lots of rain and ice, and as an extra bonus, I had the day off. Since my dogs have been enjoying basking in the sun and they weren't running around and I was outside too, I decided to let Livy come outside to lay in the sun.

She was so happy, I let her stay out for probably about 20 minutes, the sunshine, fresh air, birds chirping and all the other sensations were heaven for her. She immediately attached herself to the resident Border Collie and watched every move he made. I really think if he'd gotten up and ran, she would of quickly herded him. She has a very strong eye. This is a vibrant girl and I'm wondering about the handful I'm going to have once she's back to 100 percent.

She's been more talkative to me since I brought her back inside, I suspect it's going to get harder to keep her down now, especially since she's had a little taste of freedom. I thought about that prior to taking her out, but it's a real treat to let her enjoy being a Border Collie.

January 21, 2007

Livy has been doing really good and hardly ever coughs so when the ice storms hit, I started giving her a little more leaway. She is really serious about her routine, when I put a leash on her, she heads to the door, goes out with me and potties and drags me back to her crate. So, I started letting her go outside by herself, with no other dogs. She goes out, potties, doesn't run around and heads right back to the door. I watch her the entire time and when she comes back, I open the door and she heads straight back to the crate.

So, my husband knows I've started this routine, he's going to try it. I'm upstairs and I suddenly realize I have another dog in the kitchen with me. When he let Livy in, he was expecting her to head to the crate, but she outsmarted him, she took her opportunity, ran up the stairs, and immediately found the cat on the windowsill and was about a foot from him, staring intently and wagging her tail. The cat wasn't the least bit concerned and Livy was living her dream. When I showed her that I had her food, she immediately followed me back to her crate. She's pulled this with my husband twice now, he must look like an easy pushover, because she hasn't tried it with me. He's more cautious with her now, but it was really cute to see her expression when she found the cat.

January 16, 2007

I've been holding my breath, waiting for Livy to get past the dreaded 5th day after treatment. It's come and gone and she's had a couple extra days and she's still going strong. And what's even better, she hasn't coughed at all! I was worried that the treatment would make her start coughing again as she shed the worms, but I don't think I've heard any at all, plus she's not on any meds, no antibiotics, no cough meds, just Rimadyl.

She does have a new past time though, she's very quick to bark if I play with other dogs, if she hears the dogs get up or she hears feeding time. I had to move her crate into a room, she was barking too much at the cats and they were starting to rebel.

January 10, 2007

I picked Livy up from Windsor Park Vet Clinic and talk about excited! She was so glad to see me, but what was really fun was watching the staff tell her goodbye. She got lots of hugs and kisses. There's no doubt this girl is special!

Now the fun really begins, I've got to keep her quiet and crated for another month and I think it's just a matter of time before she finally says enough is enough. I know we're not out of the woods yet, but she's come so far, much further than any of us expected. She is such a miracle, I wonder if she knows that. I think we still have to worry about the critical 5th day of treatment when she really sheds the dead worms. I'm just happy she's feeling so good, she's not coughing and she's no longer on those nasty antibiotics that she hated so much.

We return to the clinic in 30 days for a recheck. I assume they'll check for adult heartworms at that point and decide if she needs another treatment to kill adults. If she doesn't then she will still need a treatment to kill the microfilara.

January 9, 2007

I dropped Livy off at the clinic today for her second HW treatment. She's always excited to be there, it's almost like a second home for her and she knows the entire staff. There's also the added feature of the vet kitty that she knows will be on the counter when she walks in.  I got a report later today that the treatment went well, she didn't have the reaction to the shot that she had on the first treatment. As usual, Dr. Paclik is fussing over her and being very protective of his little charge. I'm anxious to check on her tomorrow morning.

January 3, 2007

When I picked Livy up at the clinic yesterday, I couldn't believe how much better she looked after not seeing her 4-5 days! Her coat is darker, her cough seems better, and best of all, she's getting sillier. She can really spin around on leash, and after she potties, she drops to the ground and rolls over her her much loved tummy rubs. Her blood test was also good, so we'll be able to finally take her off all the antibiotics in a couple of days.

This morning when I went downstairs to get her, the evil cat was sitting right in front of her crate. When I opened the crate door, I thought she might bolt out, but as usual, she waited for me to leash her before coming out. By this time, the cat has left, but when she came out of the crate, she had the funniest look on her face, like she couldn't believe what she'd been seeing and she wanted to see if it was real.

On the 8th, it will be one month from the first treatment, so I'll probably take her to the clinic on the 9th for her second treatment. She'll only get one shot instead of two, the vet is using a slow kill method because of the heavy infestation that she has.

December 28, 2006

I dropped Livy off at the clinic this morning because we're going out of town until the 1st, and we knew she couldn't make the trip. The staff at Windsor Park Vet Clinic was excited to see her. It's obvious that they have all gotten to know her and she's special to them as well. The report from Dr. Paclik was wonderful. He was very complementary on how much she's improved, I think that he's even surprised that she's done so well. That's because of him as far as I'm concerned. It's possible that she'll get another treatment but it will depend on her blood work, but I suspect he'll wait until it's been a month. The doctor commented that there's a stinker in there, I totally agree. She's been the perfect patient, but the personality is coming thru. Another surprise for me is she has lost 7 lbs! I thought even with her being sick, the low activity would prevent her from losing. That should make her feel a little better as well, but at 50 lbs, she will still need to lose 10 more at least.

I'll be calling and checking on her, and I'll update her journal if we have wireless service.

December 23, 2006

The past couple of days, Livy's coughing has been much better, not as hard and only if she's excited. Plus it's getting harder to keep her calm. A couple of days ago, Willie came to stay here over the holidays. She was in her crate when I brought him in, and she was barking with excitement. I had never heard her bark before. She acted like her old long lost friend was back. Willie must remind her of someone because she's never met him before, or maybe it's just that Willie gives off such good vibes around other dogs. I finally took her out of the crate just to meet him, I thought that might settle her down, but it just made it worse, so back in the crate she went. She's now totally into watching Willie and my BC, Chance. They're both tri-colored males. I can't take her outside with them anymore, she won't potty if they're out there and even on a short leash, she's trying to herd them. She goes into her low herding stance because they're running around being silly. If one of them gets near her on leash, she gives them a herding nip. I really love seeing her feel so good, I think I'm just now starting to see some of her true personality come out.

December 20, 2006

Back to the emotional rollercoaster. Last night, her cough seemed a little harder, a little louder, but I wasn't too worried. She was eating good, taking her meds and being silly when I got her out. I also knew she would be spending today at the clinic. Laura was impressed when she saw her, on the outside, she looks a lot better, her coat is getting better and her face is bright. But I got a call soon afterwards that she is still running a fever even though she's on two antibiotics, plus her blood tests showed that there is still an infection. The theory is that she has small hemorrhages in her lungs from passing off the dead heartworms. So, she's still on two antibiotics, one of them is different. She's excited to be home, but she's not eating her food with her meds in it, so I might have to force them. It's just a little reminder that she still is not out of the woods and has a long way to go.

December 18, 2006

Well, the silliness has kicked in, she must be feeling better. Yesterday, I got her out of the crate and tried to take her outside to potty but she kept circling and wanting to go back in the house. I took her in, put her up and a little later tried it again. This time, she seemed intent on looking under a chair that is in her room first. That's when it clicked, she's looking for the cat! I showed her it's not there and we went outside and took care of business.

Today, when I got home from work, I let the other dogs out the back door and decided to take her to the front to avoid the excitement. I showed her that the cat wasn't under the chair and we headed out. She circled and paced. Any time she moves like that, she starts to cough, so I took her back inside. She looked like she wanted to check under the chair again. I decided to let her, but instead, she went into the crate next to the chair. Now, this is not her crate, but the Jack Russell's crate. Needless to say, this 57 lb BC didn't fit very good in this crate but she seemed intent on staying. I finally convinced her to come out and I took her outside where she circled some more. I took her back to her crate, put her up for a few minutes, took her back outside and mission accomplished!

December 16, 2006

After not seeing Livy for several days, I cannot believe how much better she looks!  Granted, she still a little ragamuffin, but her face is brighter, there's life in her eyes, her tail is wagging and even more unbelievable to me, her coat color is a little richer. She was very happy to see me when I got to the clinic, sure doesn't take them long to bond to someone new.

Livy is very restricted, but she's being a little trooper, her crate is situated so that she can see me when I'm in my sewing studio and she seems very content to lay there and watch the world go by. I take her out to potty, she does her business and is ready to head right back to the crate. She's such an obedient little Border Collie! I suspect she'll be stir crazy soon, but for now, I'm glad she's so willing to rest. She continues to cough, but only if she moves, and she's not on cough meds. The cough is also not the racking cough that she was suffering from prior to the heartworm treatment, so as far as the cough, she's much better. Tomorrow, we'll add arthritis meds to her regimen because on top of everything else, she seems to have hip dysplasia.  She's been eating good since she got home, but I know some days she might not. The clinic sent her home with a lot of special tasty foods for the days when she doesn't have a good appetite.

It's great to have her home, but even better to see her wagging her tail.

December 14, 2006

I finally got the call I've been waiting for, Livy will go home tomorrow!!! She's still coughing, especially if she moves. She'll have strict orders about being in the crate and going outside on leash. It will be even more important to keep her quiet than it is for most dogs in heartworm treatment, but I'm up for it.

Many thanks to Dr. Michael J. Paclik at Windsor Park Vet Clinic. Livy would not have made it this far without their compassion and devotion to her care. Dr. Paclik and everyone on his staff have taken a special interest in her, and they have gone that extra mile.

December 12, 2006

Today is the big day, it's day five, the day we have not only dreaded, but wanted to get to. I'm so excited she's made it this far. But, the report from the vet is even more promising. Not only is she perkier, she's eating and best of all, she's very intrigued over the clinic cats. We joked that she'll be a handful soon and will be hard to keep quiet in a crate. I can only hope this is so, I will love every day of it.

We're all hoping this is not the calm before the storm.

December 10, 2006

I'm calling the vet twice a day now. Every day she makes it gives us more hope. The vet is quick to remind me that the fifth day after treatment is the critical day. It's when she starts passing the dead worms. In the mornings, I slip into the clinic and peek at her around the corner. They don't want her to see me for fear she'll get excited. But, I have to see her, I'm always afraid it's my last time. Today she at least looked a little brighter in the face than she did yesterday. She ate a little and another big change, she started grooming herself!

December 8, 2006

I'm afraid to call to see if she made it through the night, but it's obvious that this one is a fighter. Her spirit is putting up a fight, but her body is failing her. Her prognosis continues to be bad. The coughing is still tearing her apart, despite the IV meds.

The clinic called this afternoon, the vet has decided to give her a heartworm treatment as a last resort. She was dying so the treatment which would most likely kill her, was her only chance of survival. The heartworms were clogging her heart so badly, she wouldn't of made it another day. Another option for relieving a dog with this bad of a heartworm load is to go in surgically thru the jugular vein and pull the heartworms out. She couldn't survive anesthesia and risky surgery, so a treatment was her only hope.

December 6, 2006

This past week has been a roller coaster ride, Livy continues to go downhill. Her heartworms are very advanced and she's had them a long time. Her heart and lungs are damaged, her lungs are full of fluid, she has a fever, her breathing is labored and she coughs horribly. She is too sick to treat the heartworms at this point.

And she's still getting worse. Last night, she quit eating, had a fever and her tongue was getting blue. She would walk about 5 feet and lay down. Yet, another nightly call to the vet. He told me to give her an aspirin to help bring the fever down a little and also thin her blood. We talked about the possibility of going to the ER but after the aspirin kicked in, she finally ate and drank a little bit. Her coughing was still relentless, even with the codeine, so she was returned to the clinic today. The vet determined that she needed to be admitted to the hospital so he could aggressively treat her with IV fluids and meds.

As I left her, I thought I might not see her again. All I can think of at this point is that at least she knows she is loved and she is no longer in a shelter or on the cold streets. I have no doubt that she would of died within a couple of days if she had not been found on Thanksgiving day.

December 3, 2006

Last night was a sleepless night for everyone. Livy coughed violently all night long. The coughs were racking her body. Another call to the vet, and since the cough was getting so bad, she was given Lasix for the fluid on her heart and also a codeine cough medicine.

December 2, 2006

Since bringing Livy home, she has steadily gone downhill, she's getting weaker and her coughing is getting much worse. I returned once again with her to the vet and she was given another steroid shot.

November 29, 2006

Livy's stray time was up at the shelter so I picked her up as soon as the shelter opened and took her immediately to the vet so that he could check her out. We normally do heartworm tests, vax, fecal and microchip, but because of her condition, we also did a full geriatric blood panel and thyroid test.

Later that day I received the call that I was so worried about. Livy had advanced heartworm disease. She was in no condition to start treatment yet. Her breathing was labored, she had a fever and she was coughing. She was given a steroid shot and sent home with a full regimen of drugs, antibiotics and steroids.

She was very happy to be in a warm home with a soft bed. She was already crate trained and housebroken so I couldn't help but wonder why she was an outside dog. I had to convince her that she really got to come into the house. She was getting along great with my dogs, had mild interest in the cats and was a quiet girl. She was going to fit right in.

November 23, 2006

On Thanksgiving day, Livy was found by a good Samaritan in Austin, she was panting and very disoriented. She was taking to an emergency clinic and radiographs were taken of her chest. She was running a fever and apparently had an infection, but even worse, the radiographs showed a lot of congestion in her lungs. Her coat was faded, thin and very matted, but because she was overweight, she was being fed and was most likely an outside only dog.

The emergency clinic prescribed antibiotics for her fever, and since she was a stray, she was then transported to the city shelter. The staff hoped that someone was looking for her, she wasn't going to last long at the shelter, and was in no shape for the adoption program. Border Collie Rescue, Tx was contacted in hopes that we could take her, otherwise, she would have to be euthanized.

Immediately when I met her, my heart was touched, she didn't seem to be nearly as old as she looked. At times, she would just lay down, it took all of her energy to stand. I knew right away that she wasn't a young puppy that so many people look for when adopting, but she had a lot of love to give and deserved to be treated with more respect. I knew she would be a project, we would have to get her well, get a new coat and take off the excess weight, all of this would take time and money. So I agreed to take her if her owners didn't reclaim her.

Border Collie Rescue Texas, Inc. - P. O. Box 1338 - La Porte, Tx 77572