A lot of time and energy goes into each dog we rescue. Planning the best surgical option and critical care to get them strong is a daily occurrence. The decision not to put an animal through any procedures because their Quality of Life would not improve is another option.
Adorable Luna Belle has been one of the most time-consuming, complex cases we have ever had. When I first rescued her, whatever I thought I knew went out the window when Luna Belle saw her Cardiologist, Dr. Jesty. Luna Belle was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. This defect has four components: ventricular septal defect, pulmonic stenosis, right ventricular hypertrophy, and an overriding aorta.
At the time of her original diagnosis in February 2021, medical management with atenolol and trazodone was advised to give her time to gain weight to make her a better anesthetic and surgical candidate. The objective was to put weight on Luna Belle and keep her calm at all costs. Over the next seven months, Luna Belle has crashed several times, and in one episode, I had to crawl in her kennel to get her heart started again.
We have learned to scoop her and put her inside when she becomes too excited and sit with her until she settles down. It was like a revolving door rushing her to the ER in Charleston, SC, for the first couple of months. Our last nerve has been stretched to the breaking point, wondering if today will be the day we do not get there in time. Everything we did was to keep this sweet pup alive to have her surgery to repair all of her defects.
The day finally arrived when Luna Belle was to be transferred to NC State for her surgeries. Echocardiograms had been done at CVRC with Dr. Jesty that showed her condition had gotten worse. Her reports were sent to NC State, and they agreed it was time for her to come back for further evaluation and possibly begin her surgeries.
The first day there, Luna Belle became so anxious she had to be put on oxygen, or she would have passed out. The surgeons and cardiologists had to have a Cat Scan of her heart and lungs to determine the severity of the defects and the best way to correct them. Luna Bell did not respond well to the anesthesia and became further distressed.
Every hour I became more and more anxious about this precious puppy. I was talking to her Critical Care Team every step of the way. Without surgical intervention, Luna Belle's heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot was going to kill her. The chances of her surviving the procedures were 50-50. There was no correct answer.
I stayed up researching for several days all through the night while she was in the hospital. Cardiology, radiology, anesthesia, emergency, and soft tissue surgery collaborated to figure out the best options for Luna Belle. With the severe risks involved with anesthesia, along with the potential for fatal hemorrhage, fatal arrhythmias, or thrombosis, I ultimately decided I could not proceed with Surgical Intervention.
The Critical Care Team supported my decision, and we decided to take a more aggressive medical therapy option since surgery was only palliative and not curative. I was not prepared to risk losing her on the operating table if the result was not curative.
Luna Belle's medications were adjusted to keep her calmer and prevent her blood pressure from dropping too low. She was calm but able to function and be a puppy that could play and interact. It took several days in ICU for her to stabilize so we could get her out of the oxygen chamber and come back to us. Luna Belle is on her new medication, and so far, her fainting episodes have been minimal. She can play with the other dogs and not get too excited. If you did not know she had a ticking timebomb in her chest, you would think she was a typical Boston Terrier.
Thousands of dollars have been spent to get Luna Belle back to where she can function. We know she will not have a long Lifespan but believe she will have a great Life given the time she has left. I want to think Luna Belle could be adopted into a quiet home. It would have to be a Family that would keep a watchful eye on her excitement level and know when she would need a timeout. If you think you would be a perfect fit for our adorable girl, please, drop me a note to discuss it.
In the meantime, we have to pay the NC State and CVRC bills we have acquired in the last couple of months. Please, Donate whatever you can to give Luna Belle the best Life possible. We didn't get the outcome we wanted, but we did get more time with Luna Belle. Thanks for caring about Luna Belle and all our other pups. Your support is greatly appreciated.