by Jade Soon in Michigan
On Christmas Day 2017, our Chinese Crested Nuance (a/k/a NooNooBooBoo) started coughing and collapsing. I took her to our vet the next day and after x-rays were taken, we were given two choices – euthanasia or go immediately to a cardiologist. Unprepared to say good-bye to our girl, we chose the cardiologist. The same day, December 26, Nuance was diagnosed with severe dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Her prognosis was very poor, maybe three to six months left to live.
In retrospect, we finally knew what had been wrong for so long. Nuance had a nagging cough that wouldn’t go away with treatment. It was at first thought to be kennel cough and then possibly a softening of her trachea. DCM was not considered because her breed is not predisposed to it and until now, no symptoms pointed to it. Her severe symptoms, which also included labored breathing and bloating, seemed to come out of nowhere, so sudden. Until her diagnosis, we didn’t know her heart was failing.
The cardiologist put Nuance on several medications to stabilize her heart and prevent fluid accumulation in her abdomen. The medications included Pimobendan, Enalapril and Lasix, along with taurine supplements and a probiotic. Nuance’s diet was Acana grain-free kibble, and this was immediately changed to Royal Canin digestive health formula with other toppers.
It was a long 18 months, but she recovered!
After several months, Nuance began to respond to diet change and treatment. And just over a year later, at her February 2019 heart check, there was actual improvement in her heart muscle and function, and her murmur had considerably softened. Nuance was now 10.3 years old.
Five months later, in July 2019, we went back to the cardiologist for another echo. After performing the echo, the cardiologist came into our waiting room and said…
“You have a normal dog!”
The echo revealed normal atrial and ventricular dimensions with normal myocardial contractility and normal intra-cardiac blood flow. There was NO evidence of any significant underlying heart disease and her prognosis was “Excellent.”
Based on those findings, we were able to discontinue all medications. Nuance was now 11 years old – with a healed and healthy heart! She continues to get taurine supplements and a probiotic, but that’s it.
My message to anyone going through this horrible and preventable disease with their beloved dog is to never give up! My Nuance, AKC CH Habiba Sugelande Gongzhu, was at the brink of death. She is PROOF that diet caused her DCM. She is proof that the right diet can reverse it!