We are sad to report that Smurfette, who was adopted by Krista, Nigel, Pitou, Blue, Spice, Honey, Chip, Dale and Ruby, back in November of 2013 has been diagnosed with DCM - dilated cardiomyopathy. She is only 3 years old. This is, in essence, congestive heart failure. DCM is where the chambers of the heart become dilated and the heart begins to work very hard to maintain properly oxygenated blood to the body. Symptoms can be respiratory issues such as developing fluid build up on the lungs, laboured breathing, coughing, rapid heart rate and blood pressure issues and weight loss. There is no cure.
Krista and Nigel took Smurfette to Guelph Veterinary Hospital a few weeks ago and ran a gamut of tests from radiography of her chest, heart and lungs, ultrasounds and blood work. In the process, they also found out she had Addison's Disease to complicate matters even further. Addison's involves a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. It is not fatal and it can be managed with steroidal therapy such as Prednisone.
Krista and Nigel have Smurfette on a regimen of medication to mitigate the effects of both conditions. She is eating again and is very much herself and sets her own physical activity level. They do not know how long she has but they are aware that two scenarios may unfold: 1) she may die suddenly, unexpectedly due to complete heart failure, or 2) she may develop more acute respiratory problems and rapidly declining renal function. When the end does come, they very much hope it is the former vs. the latter.
Large breed dogs who suffer from DCM can live, with the proper medication and supervision, for weeks, months and even up to a year. Let us hope Smurfette breaks all the rules and remains with her Great Dane Angels family for as long as possible.
From all of us at GDA, we love you Smurfette!