Loki’s Story

Loki’s Story

by Jessica Ibañez in Miami, Florida

This is sweet Loki, my 2-year-old Miniature Schnauzer. He was diagnosed in August of 2019 with early onset DCM from eating grain-free food. Some people think this only happens to big dogs. I wish they were right, but they are wrong. I wish it didn’t happen at all.

I learned about diet-related DCM in May of 2019. My mom saw an article and mentioned Blue Buffalo grain-free as one of the brands linked to DCM. That was Loki’s diet, so we started switching him to Royal Canin. Loki didn’t have any symptoms, so we had no reason to think he was affected.

A month later, in June, Loki developed a cough. We took him to his DVM, who diagnosed kennel cough. They also took x-rays and said everything looked fine.

A few weeks later, Loki threw up twice in the afternoon and was fine until evening, when I noticed he wasn’t moving. I went to check on him and found he was burning up. The vet was closed, so I googled how to cool him down while my mom went to the nearest pharmacy for a thermometer. Loki’s temperature was 109! I rushed him to the emergency clinic. They got his fever back down and also took x-rays. Unfortunately, the x-rays showed Loki had an enlarged heart.

Official diagnosis

The next day, our regular vet measured the new x-rays against the ones they had taken and found the size of Loki’s heart had increased within a month. They referred me to a cardiologist. Dr. Robert Prosek, the best cardiologist in South Florida, diagnosed Loki with early onset DCM by echocardiogram on August 7, 2019, and prescribed medication to stabilize Loki’s heart.

Three months later…

On November 8, 2019, we went for Loki’s 3-month follow-up with the cardiologist. After the echo, Dr. Prosek looked me in the eye and said, “Your baby looks to have a normal heart.”

I burst into happy tears! Today is November 9. Loki will spend three more months on medication and have another recheck in February 2020. But his heart looks normal! Thank you, God!

I am so thankful for Loki’s doctors and my family – especially my mom for finding that article – and for these Facebook groups!

We caught this in time for Loki’s heart to heal and for him to have many more heart-healthy birthdays!