Fuji seemed her usual fun-loving doggy self the day Lloyd Taplin took the Labrador retriever outside their home in Ohio for a game of fetch. But very quickly, Taplin realized something wasn't right.
"I threw the ball once, she brought it back and just melted in a puddle at my feet," Taplin recounted.
Up to that point, Fuji had been active and healthy, apart from having skin allergies. After collapsing in the driveway, Fuji, then age 9, was able to get up woozily. Taplin rushed the dog to an emergency veterinary hospital, where she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM.
DCM isn't rare in dogs but typically, it's seen in particular breeds, usually large ones. Doberman pinschers. Great Danes. Newfoundlands. Boxers. Irish wolfhounds. Cocker spaniels (an exception to the size rule-of-thumb). Labrador retrievers aren't on the usual-suspect list.
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