Update on Holden’s Big Heart

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Holden decided to give me the computer again today so he and Sophie could go grab a latte. Just kidding, he knew that I am the one with opposable thumbs and can probably write a bit better than him.

It’s been several months since I have read the latest blog post we made. I just finished reading it, and to be honest, it made me sick to my stomach. It brought back all of that pain that I felt the day Holden was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. That was almost eight months ago. That day, I was in a haze, in a panic, and was honestly numb. I couldn’t believe this was happening to my perfect dog.

I was in pain. I started losing my hair from being so stressed. I was devastated. For a long time. And even now, eight months later, I don’t know if I feel much different. But enough about me, let’s chat about the main reason you’re reading this: Holden the Golden.

Gah, what a special dog. He is truly amazing. After he started his medication (over 20 pills a day), his heart did get out of Congestive Heart Failure after a week. This was really good news to know that his heart was already responding to the medication.

In case you’re wondering what his meds were:

– Furosemide
– Benazepril
– Taurine Supplements
– Carnitine Supplements

At this point, we just had to wait and see. We kept him pretty quiet during this time, but still let him “be a dog” and go on short walks and play with Sophie. I gave him so much love each and every day because I knew that any day his heart could just stop working.

Months went by of us continuing the meds and giving lots of love. We did monthly check ins with our primary vet to make sure he didn’t go back into heart failure, and after four months, we decided to get films again. The results were astonishing.

Holden Heart

Holden’s heart had SIGNIFICANTLY shrunk in size. We had no idea just how enlarged it was until we saw that. Like what?! How can a heart do that? We don’t know, but I am so thankful it responded to the medications.

We went back to our cardiologist at six month post diagnosis, and were actually able to come off of some of the meds! No more diuretics. This was HUGE because it meant Holden would be more comfortable throughout the day, instead of having the constant urge to pee to avoid fluid build up. He is still on medications three times a day, but this was definitely awesome to be able to give him less.

He has come to love “meddies time”. He gets a giant glob of turkey filled with all his meds. Don’t worry, Sophie gets a bite, too. We’ve been told we can let him be a normal dog, but just to keep an eye on his resting breathing rate. So I monitor his breathing when he is in a deep sleep. Holden is doing great, yall. He is beating this. He is strong.

Now, let’s get down to business. Yesterday, the FDA released an update to their investigation on these diets linking to heart disease. This was a HUGE step in the right direction. They actually released the names of the food companies that have led to cases of DCM.

Dog Food Brands Named Most Frequently in DCM Cases Reported to FDA. Graph shows the dog food brands most frequently named in reports of DCM submitted to FDA. Acana 67; Zignature 64; Taste of the Wild 53; 4Health 32; Earthborn Holistic 32; Blue Buffalo 31; Nature’s Domain 29; Fromm 24; Merrick 16; California Natural 15; Natural Balance 15; Orijen 12; Nature’s Variety 11; NutriSource 10; Nutro 10; Rachael Ray Nutrish 10

Yall, Holden is one of the 67 dogs that ate Acana. Here is the thing. These are just those who reported to the FDA. I am hearing from so many people that they fed their dog certain food and they died without a warning, which easily could have been DCM. There could be thousands of other cases. The FDA does not just put this information out there for no reason. Dogs are dying. Families are hurting. This is real. And Holden is a part of this. His case is actually on page 38 of the complaints made to the FDA in case your curious.

Due to the FDA releasing the names, it hit the news. I am so thankful for this because this only spreads awareness. I have seen it on CNN, CBS, USA Today, and so many local news channels. The more people that know about it, the more dogs’ lives could be saved, like Holden’s.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, however, these companies are still trying to deny it. Saying there is no scientific evidence. That they research their foods. That their foods are safe. WRONG. Holden’s plasma taurine level was 9. His whole blood taurine level was 82. This is extremely low. His heart is REVERTING. That is only known to happen to dogs with DCM caused by the food. That is evidence.

I truly hope that more research is done and that these companies will then take these foods high in legumes off of the markets. I don’t wish any harm to these companies. I just don’t want any more families to go through what we have gone through.

If you have been feeding these foods that have legumes, lentils, peas, chickpeas, potatoes, etc. in the first 10 ingredients and you have noticed odd breathing in your dog, I highly recommend you get an electrocardiogram as soon as possible. Even still, consult your veterinarian if you have concerns. Also, if you are needing to switch your dog food, I recommend staying away from the “fad” foods, and sticking to those who have been around for a long time and are known to be heavily researched.

The good news is that Holden is improving. We go back in August for a nine month recheck. We hope he can come off of even more meds. It’s also great news that more pet owners are becoming aware, so hopefully more and more dogs will be treated who are sick.

Thank you to all of you who have supported us through this process. Holden surely feels all the love, and we do, too. It means a lot to have others around the world sharing Holden’s story. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We will make sure to share how his nine month check up goes. He will go in for another electrocardiogram and more X-rays. Your prayers are always appreciated.

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With puppy hugs and love,

Caroline, Evan, Holden the Golden and Sophie

11 responses to “Update on Holden’s Big Heart”

  1. Laura Schnitzer Avatar
    Laura Schnitzer

    Thank you for sharing your story. So many people are in doubt and disbelief. I am confident your story will make a difference.

  2. Elise Avatar

    So glad Holden is improving! What kind of dog food did you decide to switch to?

    1. Holden the Golden Avatar
      Holden the Golden

      He is now eating Royal Canin 💛

  3. Lillian Avatar

    So happy for you. My Joey was diagnosed with DCM 2 1/2 years ago at age 9. He is now 11 and I-know the change in his diet saved his life. He’s doing great. Next ultrasound on Tuesday.

    1. Holden the Golden Avatar
      Holden the Golden

      That is so wonderful to hear!!! Please keep us updated!

  4. Gail Peiffer Avatar

    I was also wondering what dog food he is on now. So glad he is doing well!

    1. Holden the Golden Avatar
      Holden the Golden

      Thank you!! He is eating Royal Canin 💛

  5. Victoria Avatar

    I’m new to your blog but so happy to read the news. I’m very concerned about my labradoodle and plan to schedule a vet appt for her ASAP. I am also curious what food Holden is now on. I switched my girl off of Acana a couple weeks ago simply because she’s appeared more lethargic for only being 2.5. All the best to you guys!

    1. Holden the Golden Avatar
      Holden the Golden

      Thank you so much 💛 we now feed Royal canin. I’d recommend checking with your veterinarian!

  6. JoAnne Avatar

    Wow, I’m a retired echo tech, that is a significant reduction in size. I’m sure his ejection fraction is much better, too. Glad he’s doing better.

    1. Holden the Golden Avatar
      Holden the Golden

      Thank you so much!! ❤️

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