Marley’s Journey Part II

June 9, 2011  

After skirting BSL on their drive from CA to NY, Marley’s new parents help her overcome heartworms

By Laura Holt

Life was going well as Marley settled into our home. Then one cold winter night, Marley went out for her last bathroom break. As she came upstairs and jumped on the bed, she started teetering.

I grabbed her and surmised that it must be the cold weather that we were having, which was in stark contrast to the warmth of her homeland, San Diego. She sat back up and appeared to be OK.

For a week, there were no incidents. Then once again she went out for nightly break, and when she came in she started to sway to one side and fell down.

My husband ran to her and caught her before she hit the floor. Fearful that Marley had a seizure, he held her and sobbed, “No, this can’t be!”

I asked if she was stiff. Although I tried to keep my composure, I was anxious about my friend.

He said she just went limp which, in my mind, didn’t appear to be a seizure.

We took her to the vet and learned the cause of the fainting spells: Marley had heartworms.

We were told that she needed treatment and an inpatient stay for three days.

The following week, Marley was given her first treatment, a cyanide injection that would kill off the worms in her heart. She tolerated the treatment well and was due back in one month for two more.

A month later, we took her in for her treatments. She had to remain quiet for a few months so her heart could rest.

One day, we noticed she didn’t seem well, and her gums were no longer pink. We rushed her to the vet where an X-ray was taken of her lungs.

As the doctor brought her out with the X-ray in her hand, Marley collapsed.

My husband carried Marley in his arms to an oxygen cage so she could breathe. After she was made comfortable, our vet showed us the X-ray. Her lungs were full of blood clots.

Marley was transported to Cornell University Animal Hospital for intensive care and monitoring. She suffered from multiple blood clots.

We learned the hard way that when the cyanide injections are finished, they can cause the larvae to die off quickly, which can cause blood clots in the lungs.

We were given blood thinners and she was released so that she could go home to recuperate.

Her quiet time was then increased from to several months. Needless to say, it was an extremely long summer!

I work from home and had to keep her inside my office while I worked, closing out her other furry brothers and sisters so there would be no playing.

Our walks were outside to go to the bathroom and right back in.

Finally, after the summer was coming to a close and fall was setting in, we got the OK from our vet that she could resume some outdoor light activity.

Even after going through this odyssey to bring Marley home and the nightmare with her heartworms, I can’t help but to look back and realize how much it was worth it just to have her in my life. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices for this pit bull, and although she was once a dog that no one wanted, we strive every day to make sure that she knows her life is not only worth living, but that it’s enriched ours as well.

See the first half of Marley’s journey

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