Local Story on Dog’s Oxygen Crate Makes Global Impact

Basil in the Bubble, the homemade oxygen crate

Basil in the Bubble, the homemade oxygen crate

By Suzanne Weiler

When something hurtful happens, I look for a way to soothe myself. When our little Baxter (aka “The Baz”) died of congestive heart failure due to an enlarging heart in December 2011, I wondered why we lost him so young at the age of only nine years old. What was the silver lining to this hurtful experience? It didn’t take long and an opportunity popped up that caused me to pause…

In May of 2012, Pet Friends Magazine ran an article about families with pets that had significant/terminal diagnoses; our Basil was part of that article. As Baz’s heart continued to enlarge, he had significant breathing problems. He was on a no salt diet and prescriptions but the heart and breathing episodes became more frequent. At the vet, Baz would stay in the oxygen tent until stronger then often come home the same day. I got to thinking…could we help boost his increasing need for oxygen? Could we do this at home to augment what the vet could do?

With help from my veterinarian and the medical supply stores, I set into motion the making of an “oxygen tent” made from a dog crate. Covering a crate with clear plastic (so Baz could see out) and inserting the tube from the side of the crate, I coordinated efforts to get oxygen pumped into the crate. My vet provided a prescription for oxygen and the medical supply store helped determine amount of oxygen based on size of crate and size of dog. Viola! Basil had his own personalized oxygen tent in our living room!

Because of the article in Pet Friends Magazine and because of the power of the internet, I have been contacted by many people for information about the home based oxygen crate. I have been asked about oxygen for all kinds of small dogs to Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, cats, bunnies, and birds. These people are desperate to provide comfort for their beloved pets; some pet owners are more verbal about their desperation than others, but all are faced with pet diagnoses that are terminal. Below are some examples. If you want to know more about how to make your own oxygen crate, please email Suzanne here.

 

“Unfortunately, I am unemployed, and can no longer afford to pursue more in depth care. The guilt that I feel that economics is going to lead to the death of my beloved pet is overwhelming, and yet I’m out of financial choices. So now I am looking for something I CAN afford to at least give Shadow whatever relief or comfort I possibly can provide…I know I’m a complete stranger, but I am struggling to find something I can do other than sit and just watch my Shadow struggle to breathe. A stranger trying to cope.” Iris, Abilene, TX

 

“When the doctor showed me first a healthy dog’s X-ray compared to Benny’s X-ray and then letting on the news of his diagnosis, I was pretty numb. The doctor asked for Benny to stay a few nights for treatment and also to have the cardiologist evaluate him the next morning. Before I left, I asked to say goodbye. I walked in the ICU where Benny was in an 02 tent crate, kissed him and drove home crying my eyes out. After three days in the hospital, he is back home where he is resting and taking his meds. I will never put my dog down just because he’s suffering and will do everything necessary to make his prognosis as gentle as possible.” Jenny, North Jersey

 

“My vet said she will prescribe oxygen for him. Last time he was at the Pet ER…well, we just don’t have the money for that.  And my son doesn’t want his dog to die there, alone.  Debbie, El Cajon, CA

 

I have heard from people all over the U.S., Turkey, South Africa, Singapore, Asia and Afghanistan and more. Learning of the resources available (or not) in other countries has been eye-opening. Some countries evidently do not require prescriptions for medications while other countries only provide veterinarian care for farm animals and limited household pets. Regardless of where the pet owner is from, one thing has been consistent: the love and desperation to provide for their pet…

 

“I am a South African working for (a beer company) brewing in Honduras. Our veterinarian services here are non existent. The little bit that can be done are for dogs, horses and cattle. When our 16-year-old cat, Kerneels, began showing symptoms, I visited various vets in the USA for help. But they are not willing to help without seeing the patient, not even a script, or even special food for that matter. Eventually I took the risk of flying with him to Miami but I know the inevitable is coming (it’s been 12 months now) and want to prepare.” Boyce, Honduras

 

“I am Rosanne, from Singapore. I read an article on the Pet Friends Magazine on your beloved dog Baz and I am so sorry for your loss. I have a 13 year-old Chihuahua, Toto. She has serious heart murmur and the vet recommended putting an oxygen generator at home to help her breathe better.”

 

“Hi, I am keen to build one for my pet dog who is in hospital and needs to be on an oxygen cage and it’s very expensive. She has heart failure and I live in Asia. Can you please teach me on how to build the oxygen cage?” Regards, Dawn

 

Since I am not a veterinarian, I am careful not to prescribe but only to share what I did for our pet. Many people are reaching out for an answer; I remind pet owners that the oxygen tent might be a treatment, but is not a cure. Even though I don’t have the answer I can provide empathy for their situation.The feeling of helplessness, wanting to do SOMETHING to help your beloved pet, yet realizing the inevitability of the diagnosis. At this point, I developed an interest in hospice care for pets. Here is how some of my online friends coped:

Wrinkles on Oxygen

Wrinkles on Oxygen

“I know its treatment and Wrinkles is not bad yet, she just can’t breathe well on her own. I’m not gonna let her suffer or put her through anything bad and I am preparing for it to get worse, right now I just want to keep her comfortable.”  Karleen, Austin, TX

 

“I’m starting to think that hospice at home would be the best thing for (our 14 year old Jack Russell Terrier).” Susan, Santa Cruz, CA

Babu in homemade oxygen tent made from a 20 gallon fish tank. Visited by his friend, Milah.

Babu in homemade oxygen tent made from a 20 gallon fish tank. Visited by his friend, Milah.

“Babu is doing better today! I am so happy. This morning I thought all hope was lost. But late morning he started eating. He ate the hamburger I cooked for him. And then he sat out in the sun, as the day progressed he got even better, barking occasionally. I even took him out to watch the sun set over the ocean. I feel lucky to have shared that with him one more time at least. But I was thinking today that without loss how would anything be valuable to us?” Eron, San Luis Obispo, CA

Lucy in oxygen crate

Lucy in oxygen crate

“I’m aware it’s not a cure. I’m just trying to make her (Lucy) comfortable as the vet says she isn’t actually in pain and MAYBE she can live awhile with compromised oxygen intake. I am terrified and deviated and need to do whatever I can do to help her. Thank you for all your support. You sound like a lovely human. I’ll keep you posted if you like.” Lori, Pittsburgh, PA

Many of us are familiar with the now famous picture of John and Shoep, the extent to which John provided “end of life” care for his longtime friend. Because of the many people I have met online and because of the article in Pet Friends Magazine, I realize that anything worth having is worth the effort. It is an honor to be with a friend all the way to the Rainbow Bridge. As Eron from California so eloquently said, “without loss, how would anything be valuable to us?”

 

 

Advertisements

Tagged: ,

41 thoughts on “Local Story on Dog’s Oxygen Crate Makes Global Impact

  1. Michele Simons January 18, 2015 at 5:28 pm Reply

    Jen I’ve had two dogs with the guessed equivalent of adult respiratory syndrome. My first Schip, Ted E. Bear, had heart problems. By the time he was diagnosed, and waiting for him to see cardiologist, he died in my arms at home with his buddies. Then this past Sept I lost my Sunny, the handicapped one, to his ongoing decline because he was not breathing well. Did not occur to me or vet to think of oxygen tent. It would have probably bought him a bit more time. I don’t agree with some comments that said I won’t put a pet down because he’s suffering. That’s what compassionate euthanasia is for. But I see that there is so much that can be done with DIY and a cooperative vet. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to share that article about oxygen tents with my vet. Food for thought. We realize it is NOT a cure but an attempt to keep fur babies comfortable so they may pass in peace at home. I did not realize your readership was so wide spread. I KNEW you’d do well with this venture, but worldwide readership is a real accomplishment you can be proud of. I try to tell all my dog people about you. I’m going to research pet hospice to see what is being done and what we as pet parents can do. As always, thanks. Michele

    Pet Friends Magazine News • Events • Adoptab

    • Pet Friends Magazine January 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Thanks, Michele. I never know what stories go “viral” sometimes and why. I just try to educate and inform. Everyone else does the rest. Good idea to talk to vets about the oxygen crate.

  2. adventuresindefault May 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm Reply

    We just finished building one of these for our Pit bull. He doesn’t have heart problems, but has pneumonia. Our vet suggested we do this to give him relief until his treatments can begin to work. I wanted to share for people to realize there may be other diagnoses less serious where this would be life saving.

  3. Steven Larry Kaye June 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm Reply

    After losing three Boston in last three years, my 13 year old is in oxygen tent at Ocean state I was told they want to put him down I cannot do it. Devastated Steven Larry kaye

    • Pet Friends Magazine June 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm Reply

      Sorry to hear about your dog. I think my article has an email address for the woman who built the oxygen crate for her dog. If not, let me know. She’ll answer any questions you have. Prayers to you and your family.

      • Traci July 9, 2015 at 2:40 am

        I’m looking to make or buy an oxygen crate for my Pomeranian who has congestive heart failure. Can someone help explain to me where to get/ make one? Thank u!! Tracivictoria143@aol.com

  4. Dayna Gould August 25, 2015 at 3:54 am Reply

    Hi, I am interested in making an oxygen tent for my shih tzu who has COPD. Can you please tell me was an oxygen concentrator being used?Thank you.

    • adventuresindefault August 30, 2015 at 12:42 am Reply

      Hi, yes, we bought a used one on Craigslist, or you can rent them. It seemed to make our boy more comfortable in his last days. he would finally lie down and rest – whereas before, he would struggle to breathe unless he stood up all the time. If you make one, be sure to monitor the temperature inside the crate – the plastic can make it too hot inside – we put a thermometer in the back of the crate and left the front open – we laid the tip of the tube where the oxygen came out right by his nose. He seemed to want to lay close to it. Also, we kept a humidifier going right by his face as the oxygen is drying – offer lots of water – we also offered him homemade chicken stock for liquid nourishment. The best to you and your pup.

      • Tara January 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

        Hi,
        I’m currently researching at-home oxygen for my pup. In addition to a concentrator, can you tell me what other components or parts I would need to purchase?
        Thanks!

  5. tara October 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm Reply

    Hello, my 13 yr old pom has been diagnosed with COPD and collapsed trachea. He is currently in the ICU and has a 50/50 chance of returning home because he has so much trouble breathing w/out being in the oxygen crate. Is there a way you could give me a list of instructions to create this myself for him? If he is sent home I want him to have a place he can be comfortable. Thank you Tara

    • Pet Friends Magazine October 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm Reply

      You can contact Suzanne about the oxygen crate at this email address: suzmark@ameritech.net

    • Laura Rand November 30, 2015 at 1:53 am Reply

      Our pup has pneumonia and he needs time in oxygen. I am going to make everything ready asap. We would like to have it ready by tomorrow. Can you also give me instructions? I am so desparate!

  6. Kathy February 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm Reply

    where do i aquire an 02 tank, my cardiac vet wants me to just keep bringing him back for 02 treatments, i love my dog as most people do to death but can’t go completely broke and we have had 2 expensive hospital stays… most of it was just upping the meds temporarily and the 02 tank for a day. and he is back to his happy loving self… i want to make this for home so he can get it when he needs without the trauma of being left at the vets. please reply asap

  7. Larry Wilkinson February 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm Reply

    I am trying to hunt down an oxygen compressor and some sort of cage or tent to fill with the oxygen. Precious is scared of anything put on her and fights having the oxygen mask or even the oxygen tubing in front of her nose. She has had a hard life medically in her nine year life. It took me three years for my vets to realize she has collapsed trachea and by that time is extended into her lungs which can’t be surgically repaired. She works so hard to breathe. If I can get her a tent of some sort we can put her in it when she is having a hard time. I just can’t let her go. She still has some good quality of life and loves being with me. Taking her in the car to take her to the vet stresses her so bad she barely gets there. She had liver cancer which was surgically removed two years ago and now has a bad case of Cushing’s disease that so far not responding to medication. Anyone who can help me with where or how to build an oxygen tent would be greatly appreciated. She deserves this last chance to make her life a little more comfortable. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth Heath June 1, 2016 at 1:01 pm Reply

      Larry, I’m experiencing similar issues with my Pomeranian, Pete. His trachea collapsed and he now has a stent. But at times breathing is difficult. I’m trying to figure out how to get oxygen to him, but in the meantime, he is soothed when he is laying down with a fan blowing on him, about 2 feet away. He gets stressed in the car also, but it helps to have the air conditioner aimed at him. Good Luck

      • Debbie Lariscy June 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

        Amy: this site has the info you need. My post has some ideas I used. I got such a deal on the oxygen concentrator (machine turns air into purer oxygen) and made a Oxygen box out of a wire kennel (u pick size) and wrapped a clear plastic shower curtain around it to keep oxygen in. BUT, remember, it’s important to leave HOLES or escape route for the carbon monoxide the dog is breathing out. Also, IF you use a concentrator machine, you have to put the FLOW RATE at the proper number/amount. My dog is 7 pounds and I do 2 1/2 #. I only put out $75.00 for the machine and few dollars for the plastic. I’m Not an expert. There are Companies who SELL oxygen chambers that look like a carrying case. They can be expensive but you could see if you no longer needed. You can google and it sounds like “buster buddy” or similar. sorry. My dog was not real happy in the chamber, but I now believe he is NOT quite ready for it. It may help, but I think as he worsens (he will with enlarged heart he has), it will be ready to help him. His meds help, too. If you get stuck, write the Suz lady or I will watch for reply and may send u my info. Good luck and you are kind to help your little dog.

  8. Kathy February 11, 2016 at 9:55 am Reply

    Larry I just made one myself using the suggested pic, by wrapping a wire cage in plastic and I purchased a concentrator from craigslist, there were several there. I put 2 of my 4 in the cage when needed. One has CHF and the other has collapsing trach with related problems, So much better at home!

  9. Debbie Lariscy March 9, 2016 at 11:43 am Reply

    My 16 yr old, 7lb toy fox terrier has an enlarged heart and hi BP. I want to make this tent, hoping it’s not too expensive. How long does one treatment help the dog? Any suggestions on routine? He’s on Vetmedin and Lisinopril. Both are helping. He can’t take a diuretic cause of his BP, maybe as a last option. Is an oxygen compressor better than renting oxygen tanks? THANKS for any feedback and bless our dogs !!

  10. Sherri N Steve March 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm Reply

    We used a regular plastic dog crate (medium sized) wrapped it with clear plastic (food wrap). We asked elderly people that we knew for extra O2 tanks and one came with a regulator. Our papillon Flame had worst case collapsed trachea. Our homemade O2 crate I believe prolonged her life and saved us thousands in vet bills. Vets told us that she wouldn’t last a year…she lived over 4 years. When she was having a tough time breathing we would put her in the crate for 20 to 30 minutes. O2 crates should be available and affordable for all pet parents. Our Flame lost her battle yesterday….

    • Pet Friends Magazine March 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm Reply

      Aw… sorry to hear that. Sound like you found a good solution to helping her and as blessed to have extra time with her. And networking helps others learn as well. So thanks for that.

    • stacy June 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm Reply

      Sherri and Steve – I am so sorry about your baby Flame. Weird question – would it be possible to borrow your home made cage? my number is 443-843-8047.and my cell is 443-907-8041. So sorry for asking but my dog is having trouble breathing and has a collapsed trachea and pneumonia. Ughh. She’s on antibiotics. hopefully that will help.

  11. Debbie Lariscy March 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm Reply

    So sorry Sherri about Flame, she must have had a great, loving home and you went the extra mile. I hope to help my boy with oxygen and the tent. Still waiting for suzmark to reply, but I am not complaining, just know she must be busy and I’ll do more research, too. Thanks for this site, it really helps make pets, and owners, life less worrisome and hard.

  12. Debbie Lariscy March 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm Reply

    Just bought an Oxygen Concentrator on Craigs List for only $75.00 and a tank was going to be higher when I also needed a regulator. I totally scored a bargain and now I don’t have to travel to fill tanks or pay. I suggest you do the same. If you keep looking you might get a deal, too. Insurance co probably paid for it, so I lucked out. Building the cage as we speak. Remember to leave EXIT holes for the OLD air to go out, its very important. The link to Suz here on this site helped as she sent info and pics. Nice of her and the magazine to give us help.

  13. debbie lariscy March 30, 2016 at 10:07 am Reply

    Thanks , you’ve provided a priceless gift to all of us animal lovers with your magazine and useful info.

  14. Amy Chiang April 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm Reply

    my 12 year old Chihuahua has severe collapsing trachea. We went through the stent surgery but because it is a foreign object, she needs time to heal plus the fact that she has pneumonia… She is at the vet for a week now and the doctors there think that what she needs is an oxygen chamber for her to be comfortable at home while the drugs do the magic and give her time to heal. I have placed an order to rent the oxygen concentrator to be picked up and am determined to build an oxygen crate for her. I saw some pictures using a plastic storage box and attach the tube to the box so she can stay in the box and inhale the oxygen when she needs. Can anyone offer me any suggestions or whether using plastic box is a good idea? I was thinking not to close the lid but drape a towel over so it is not completely enclosed, any bit of advise would help greatly. Thank you!

  15. Martha June 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm Reply

    I need help finding where to purchase oxygen rental. I have a vet which will write me a prescription but can not find where to get tank and mask …. Please HELP!!

  16. Debbie Lariscy June 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm Reply

    Martha: if you have read some of my posts, I mention how hard it is to get an ox tank and NOT get on a “subscription” basis with a company where they come every so often and fill. I wanted to rent/buy a tank and then get it refilled. I found it almost impossible where I live and bought what I think is better, an ox concentrator. I got it for 75$ on CL, a steal. Then I just followed instructions on this site for using and building your own ox enclosure. Use the site and it will help.
    I made an enclosure using a wire kennel (instructions here) because I wasn’t sure my dog would ACCEPT the mask. Good luck.

  17. Tara January 4, 2017 at 12:56 am Reply

    Has anyone tried using the OxyHood? If so, how did you supply the O2? With canisters or a concentrator? Currently looking to create a home oxygen system for my pup and would welcome any advice!

  18. Loretta Barricelli March 29, 2017 at 12:13 am Reply

    i am also looking into making an oxygen tank system. i am involved in kitten rescues.
    And during kitten season last year i had gotten a lot of kittens struggling to breath due to a number of problems. i am not looking forward to a repeat of that. i want to be prepared this time. kitten season has all ready started due to the warm winter we had. i have already had three babies go from upper respiratory issues. i think this will help get them through the rough spot of recovery.i have already bought an oxygen concentration unit. now i can use a little help in putting one together safely. i asked my vet , but she didnt really know the details of the do and don’ts . anyone have any tips?

  19. deborah lariscy April 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm Reply

    I made an ox chamber and used a “human” grade Oxygen CONCENTRATOR , the machine converts air to oxygen and you don’t need tanks and filling them, etc.
    Unfortunately, my little Buster passed away in Feb 2017. IF you live in Florida, I would sell you my unit, they are not cheap, I just got a great deal. Then I made a chamber out of a wire crate, wrapped in plastic. IF you want to buy it, I’d give u a good deal as I love animals and want to help. I’m not expert, this unit was built using info from here, from Suzmark and the web. *** I did offer it to local animal rescue, so it might be gone, but if not I wanted to let yall know, if in Florida. THANKS

    • Sheilah Luthi April 26, 2017 at 2:45 am Reply

      Deborah, I would be very interested in buying your Oxygen Concentrator. My Pomeranian, Pilar has mitro valve issues. Her heart is enlarged, and she has trouble breathing too. She likes to lay on the AC vents, but my Traditional Chinese Dr. said it is not good for her to lie on the cold vents. I tried getting the tanks and trying to use the mask or hold the tube up to her nose, but she doesn’t like that. If you still have it, I can give you my email address and we can communicate at first that way. It is such a good feeling to know that there are others that are willing to go that extra mile in helping their fur babies. I had no idea that others were having these same desperate feelings that I have been experiencing. Thank you, Sheilah Luthi

      • deborah lariscy May 11, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        HI, sorry it took me a while, I lost contact with site. email : debL51@outlook.com. Maybe we can work it out.

  20. Janet Whitten Hamilton May 10, 2017 at 3:31 am Reply

    My pomeranian is in a veternary hospital. She cannot breath without being in the oxygen tank. She has bubbles coming from her nose and mucous but no coughing. They eched her heart. It is not from that nor is it fluid in her lungs. They think it is a pituitary tumor or nasal tumor and want to put her down. Tonight she crawled to me at the front of the window and cried and pawed at me. She wants to come home. We are going to make an oxygen tank tomorrow and see about prescription from vet. Her brothers and sisters at home miss her.

  21. Tom Conley June 30, 2017 at 7:44 pm Reply

    I work with Rocket Dog rescue in San Francisco and we use an oxygen concentrator I found at the flea market couple with a homemade oxygen tent. So you don’t need to keep buying oxygen and tanks and regulators. But O2 tanks and regulators are a cheap and easy find at any flea market. And you can fill them up a welding supply stores. No need for thousands of dollars in vet bills for fancy oxygen chambers. Thanks for posting your ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: