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Keagan Goes to the Canine Cardiologist

Keagan had a taurine test a couple of months ago that was a little low (238. The recommended minimum for a golden retriever is 250) and I just now schlepped him the two hour trip to the canine cardiologist in Annapolis.

The good news is Keagan does not have dilated cardiomyopathy.

However, the cardiologist did suggest we change foods, again, to one backed by scientific research until Dr. Stern’s research is completed on the link between peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes and lentils and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers. I can’t bring myself to feed Hills Science Diet, Royal Canine or Purina, but we are going to try Farmina Ancestral Grains which is top rated by Dog Food Advisor even though it has beet pulp as it’s 6th ingredient. Will of course, continue to add healthy human foods like lean meats, seasonal veggies, yogurt, eggs, etc.

The surprising news is Keagan has a mild mitral valve leak, or murmur. Cardiologist says low level heart murmurs in big dogs are usually hard to hear, are not uncommon as dogs get older and usually insignificant. Keagan is 4 years seven months old. No meds. No exercise restrictions, just follow up in 6 months with regular vet and in a year with cardiologist.

I asked the cardiologist why so many vets are hesitant to do taurine tests as I’ve heard from some of you. He thinks it is because they don’t know what to do with the information if it comes back low. Because of the expense of the echocardiogram ($650 before insurance for Keagan today) he believes local vets are hesitant to refer for an echo as patients might be upset about cost if results were fine. He did say, goldens with a low taurine test result are FOR SURE at a greater risk for dilated cardiomyopathy. I asked what he’d recommend golden retriever parents do until the research is complete which could be a couple of YEARS. He said change their diet to one backed by research.

So, glad Keagan is fine for now. Worth the trip.


1 Sarah Tuck { 11.30.18 at 11:04 am }

Joe and Pat,

I am glad to hear Keagan is okay, albeit with the caveats you list –so, other than avoiding foods with the top five ingredients having one or more of the “bad” ingredients, what else does he mean by a diet backed by science? Did he recommend the cheaper foods?

2 Pat { 12.03.18 at 2:20 pm }

Sarah, companies that do feeding trials where they feed the product to actual dogs before putting it on the market such as Purina, Royal Canin, Hills and Farmina

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