Hi friends, 

My sweet 5 yr old cocker spaniel Sullivan has been diagnosed with chronic degenerative valve disease.  This is a degenerative disease that affects the heart valves, resulting in the affected valves becoming thick and irregular.  These changes prevent the valve from forming a tight seal when the heart contracts, which allows blood to flow backward across the valve (valvular regurgitation).  This causes the heart to work harder by pumping additional blood volumes.The regurgitation also creates turbulence, resulting in a heart murmur.

This is a progressive condition in dogs; however, there is a wide variation in how rapidly the disease progresses.  The most common sequelae is congestive heart failure (CHF), which is the buildup of fluid in the lungs or within the abdomen. Some dogs continue to live normal lives and never develop CHF, while others progress into congestive heart failure quite rapidly.  Sullivan does not have evidence of CHF at this time.

Thankfully his heart function is good right now and he doesn’t need any medication, but the docs want him to have another echocardiogram in six months and then periodically after that. These check-ups don’t come cheap, but I think I can find a way to continue paying for his medical care by doing what i love, my pet illustrations, and that’s why I’ve launched a campaign to do 50 pet illustrations in 6 months.

Sulley came along and "saved me" after my first Cocker Spaniel, Baxter, was hit and killed by a car in front of me. The accident shattered me in pieces.   Sulley gave me hope and brought me out of a deep depression after witnessing Baxter pass before my very eyes. After Sulley, I rescued DeeDee, an 8-years-young female Cocker Spaniel, thanks to Cocker Spaniel of East Texas. She was my second foster dog who made it easy to fall in love with her. I became a very proud foster fail and made her a permanent member of our family. The three of us are a family and it breaks my heart knowing that Sulley has this diagnosis.

Sulley, DeeDee and I are inseparable, and they give me hope, joy, and everything a person could ask for in a dog. If you are a dog lover like I am, you totally understand what I mean. Dogs are pure happiness and Sulley and DeeDee are the lights of my life! 

Even if you don’t have a pet, please consider sharing my story with others to help me reach my goal of 50 illustrations in 6 months! 

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