So now we all know that the pneumothoraxes did, ultimately, kill my dog, even if I was the one that decided to put her out of her misery. She had a third pneumothorax on Feb. 5 while I was at home, which announced itself by her coughing 19 times in a row (yes, I counted). I called the vet specialty hospital immediately and told them I was bringing her in. She was there in under half an hour, and they tapped 2 liters of air of her, the most to date. That was what made my decision. They were either occurring too frequently that they would rip open her lungs, or they were getting bigger, or both.
Air removed from Pupgirl: first pneumothorax: 1.5 liters; second pneumothorax: 700 milliliters; second penumothorax, part b: 500 milliliters; third penumotjhorax: 2 liters
What would I do differently? I would insist they tube her rather than just tap the air out of her lungs. Why? The surgeon at the specialty hospital told me that tubing is more stressful on the dog, so they prefer tapping. but he also talked at length about negative air pressure. I think tapping, which is just needle aspiration, didn't get all the air out of her lungs after the second event, and that created constant pressure that could have caused the third pneumothorax. When she was tubed at the first emergency hospital, it was on her for three days, and allowed all the air to escape. I don't think the tapping did, as the critical care vet at the specialty hospital admitted they can never tap all the air off. So I should have insisted on tubing. It might have given me another month with her. It might not, But since I'd give my own lung for another day with my precious girl, I'd risk it.
Her ahses came home Wednesday, and I ordered her a red glass box from Rays of Joy (who made a kelly green box for my cats C and G years ago). When I picked up her ashes, I found that the hospital had made a cast of her pawprint. The bag in which was the cast had a date and time stamp on it, so I know the cast was made 25 minutes before she died. I always thought these things were cheesy, until I held her pawprint in my hand and bawled. I will get a kit and make a cast of Mr. Big's paw, since I don't know how and when he'll die, and probably the girl cats' prints, too. I now wish I had C and G's paw prints.