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Case study: Keeping moving with a heart condition

We love hearing stories from our pack, and recently we had the privilege of having Benji’s story shared with us. Benji is four years old and hasn’t had the easiest start in life. Luckily he has two fantastic humans, Graham and Jean, by his side. So it’s over to them to tell you more about Benji, and how PitPat has helped them on their journey…

Getting the diagnosis

” We adopted two year old Benji two years ago with the knowledge that he had a limited lifespan. We were told he had Cognitive Heart Disease, though eighteen months later we saved enough to see a proper Vet Heart Specialist, who did scans on his heart. The diagnosis was changed to Severe Pulmonic Stenosis, which basically is the fusing together of the valves in the heart. 

The right hand side of his heart is also distorted. This means he will now die instantly at some point, instead of suffering with coughing and fluid on the lungs, to name a few effects. His medication is now Beta Blockers to regulate and balance his heartbeat.

Our first visit to the vet was rather emotional when we got his diagnosis. We discussed what was necessary to help his lifestyle such as diet and exercise. Regular, monitored exercise was vitally important to keep Benji in the best health.

Making a plan

We went home and thought out how we were going to ensure we could keep to a regular exercise program of between two and three miles twice a day, with a normal minimum of 40 minutes of actual exercise. We looked on the internet and found PitPat, which seemed to fit what we were looking for.We started using it the day it arrived. The mobile phone app was easy to install and set up, as was setting the minimum exercise to 40 minutes. At the end of each day we downloaded the data from the PitPat to our mobile phone.

Getting out there

We were able to see that it recorded the type of exercise, such as actual walking and running as part of the 40 minutes. If we stopped to talk, or Benji had a ‘sniffing’ session, it was recorded as pottering and not added to the exercise total. This was very clever as there was no way to cheat by just being outside without doing the proper walking. 

In real terms we found that you needed to spend around one hour outside to achieve 40 minutes of exercise, unless you were continually walking, which no dog does. The distance was not so important, though obviously we tried to keep to at least two miles in the two sessions.

How PitPat helped us

PitPat is an essential part of our dog Benj’s daily routine. It’s literally helping to prolong his anticipated short lifespan.

We found that PitPat is a valuable aid for us humans too. It’s all too easy to think of reasons why we shouldn’t go out today, tomorrow or any other day. With Benji’s needs being the most important, and PitPat helping to hold us accountable, it soon became the ‘norm’ to go out whatever the weather. With the benefit that as a Pensioner, I too am getting my essential exercise by taking Benji out. 

There is also the added bonus of working towards gaining ‘badges’ for distances, such as a lap of Stonehenge, a marathon, 30 day continuous goal, or Lands End to John O’Groats. We have just achieved our 365 day goal streak for not missing one day of our 40 minute target. This is an achievement we are really proud of.

Benji loves being out in the open air and is maintaining good health at the moment, though we know his heart is not. As long as we have provided him with the best quality of life possible, with the help of PitPat, we will be content when he does eventually pass over the Rainbow Bridge.”

Didn’t we tell you Graham and Jean were fantastic? We are so glad that PitPat has been able to help them.

If you have a dog who has an ongoing condition, needs help rehabilitating after an operation, or is just starting to slow down, why not see if PitPat can help you too? It’s a great way to monitor all your dog’s activity, and you can even share the data with your vet to help you put the best plan together for your pup.

It’s amazing how something as small as a PitPat can be so invaluable and Benji isn’t the only dog to benefit. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at Olive, Tolly or Bryn’s stories, each with their own health issue to overcome.