by Lara Day, DVM
This is Wally, my itty bitty pocket Pittie. His DNA test says he is 7/8 American Staffordshire Terrier and 1/8 American Bulldog. To me, he is 100% pure love. Wally will be 4 years old on December 7, 2019, and I’m grateful to say he will reach that milestone with a healthy heart.
Wally was diagnosed with diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in March of 2019. I had been feeding him Fromm food since his adoption at 12 weeks old and until he was 3 years old – first Fromm Puppy Gold and then different Fromm grain-free formulas. Around Thanksgiving 2018, a couple of weeks before Wally’s third birthday, I switched him to Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach because I was concerned about the FDA investigation into diet and DCM.
In March 2019, Wally had an echocardiogram to show our interns what a “normal” canine heart looks like. Although Wally had no clinical signs of heart disease, the echo showed he had an enlarged, thin left ventricle and fractional shortening of 21%. I immediately changed his food to Royal Canin Early Cardiac diet, started him on Pimobendan to stabilize his heart, and began taurine supplementation, even though his taurine level was normal. I have every reason to believe his diet change to Pro Plan three months earlier had already begun to heal his heart.
When Wally had a follow-up echo in October 2019, his DCM had completely resolved! He has been off of medication and taurine supplements for a while now, and has been eating Purina Pro Plan Savor. We are so fortunate to have caught this early enough for a full reversal, and that our other two dogs had normal echoes. I hope others going through this with their dogs also catch it early and have the same result we did with Wally.