Saturday, March 20, 2010
Heartworms: The Follow-up
I chose the photo above to show the strength and vigor Father had after he had fully recovered from heartworms. He was strong, fast, and had quite a bit of pop in his step. Look at how far he got off the ground in that photo, and he was able to get to the ball first before dogs many years younger than he was.
A few months after Father’s heartworm treatments, I would realize how debilitating heartworms is. One evening, Father went running with me, and during this run, I thought back to the last time Father went running with me, which was weeks before his heartworm treatment. On that run, Father barely made it a quarter of a mile because he couldn’t keep up with me. He had to cut short the run, turn away and head back home. By no means was his inability to keep up with me because of my speediness. My days of averaging 6min/mile on a daily 6 mile run were long behind me, because of my being plagued with injuries. At this point of life, I was a slow footed 200 plus pound man. I attributed Father’s inability to keep up to Father’s age. At Father’s first vet visit, I had asked the vet how old she thought Father was, and the vet said around 5-7 years. Father was definitely middle aged.
On this day, many weeks after he was declared heartworm-free, Father was not only keeping up, but he was literally running circles around me. On our run, Father would often be distracted by something, take a look around, while I kept running down the street. Eventually, Father would scurry down the street to catch back up with me. Father was fast; he had always been fast, but he was even faster now, and he now had endurance. It made me happy to see Father get a second chance at life, and he had a jaunty step now where ever he went.
I didn’t realize how much the heartworms had debilitated Father’s health until he had made a full recovery. Father had been a very sick dog, and he had cheated death twice as far as we were aware. Father would never suffer again.