• Amazon bestselling mystery series for kids & dog lovers starring Honey the Great Dane!
    Have you read the books starring Honey the Great Dane & her friends? Available as EBOOK & Paperback. Buy on Amazon (also available on iTunes, Barnes & Noble (NOOK), Kobo and through bookstores)

Honey’s Health Scare (by Hsin-Yi)

I wasn’t sure whether to post about this but I’ve decided to share it as it may be useful to some other dog owners. So please excuse the long wordy post!

Honey gave me a scare on Tue – I had been out for lunch and came back around 3pm to find her sleeping peacefully in her crate, but at around 5pm I noticed that she was awake and panting very heavily. I was a bit concerned as it was not a hot day but didn’t want to be a paranoid pet owner so I bundled her into the car and took her to one of our local parks. She seemed quite alert & well when we arrived at the park and started the walk in her normal trot, although still panting heavily. She also seemed quite thirsty, wanting to stop at every water fountain for a drink… but otherwise, she was alert & well and even did a nice, normal poo.

About 15mins into our walk, we had wandered into the empty fenced off-leash section and I let her off for a little sniff, thinking I might also do some training. I asked her to Heel and noticed that she seemed a bit unsteady on her feet – it was like she was trying very hard to follow my command but struggling to do so. I stopped immediately and watched her – and was horrified to see her teetering slightly, as if she was struggling to stay on her feet. I panicked, thinking that she might collapse and wondering how I was going to carry her (she weighs more then me) back to the car, which was on the other side of the park. It was about 6pm by this time and getting dark, with very few people in the park. Thankfully, I managed to get her to walk back to the car and I immediately rushed her off to the emergency vet (Pet Emergency – : 263 Appleby Rd, Stafford Heights, Qld 4053,  (07) 3359 0777).

The main thing I was worried about was bloat, as heavy panting is one of the signs – although the ‘wobbly spell’ also had me worrying about her heart – sadly, these are both things that are prevalent in this breed, no matter how many precautions you take – it’s a genetic lottery – and much as I hate to admit it, Honey isn’t a young dog anymore…

By the time we got to the emergency vet, she had perked up a bit and by the time the vet examined her, she seemed fine and back to her normal self, although still panting (but this was probably more due to the excitement of being in a new place). The vet assured me it wasn’t bloat after examining her abdomen and that her heart also sounded fine and it was unlikely to be a bowel obstruction (always a consideration when you’re on the raw diet) because Honey had done a nice, normal poo in the park, was taking food & water quite happily and did not have a tender abdomen…but she was concerned enough by my description to keep Honey in for full blood tests & X-rays. I was sent home to wait by the phone…

At around 10pm, they rang to say that results had all come back and they were all fine. Honey had practically “perfect” blood results and her X-rays were completely normal too – so it was a mystery. I went to pick her up and she was full of beans – I really started to feel a bit of a fool! The vet did say that clear results may not be a guarantee that there is no underlying disease – she even mentioned the dreaded ‘cancer’ word – as she said dogs often pant from pain or acidosis, if not from heat – but given Honey’s overall good health, appetite, energy, etc, – it seemed very unlikely.

So I brought Honey home, feeling like a bit like an idiot – maybe I had imagined it all? But something had definitely happened in the park to cause me to panic – and I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn’t done everything I could and regretted it later. Better safe than sorry, I guess. And if it had been bloat, that could have been a fatal emergency. Thank goodness we’ve got pet insurance because that little panic trip & tests, etc, cost us AUD$600! (US$550) – with a giant breed, everything is expensive!

Honey has been fine since then – completely her normal self, with no further “funny episodes” – but I have been thinking and I do wonder now if it was a reaction to the annual heartworm injection which she had 2 weeks ago at that 3rd vet. Here is a list of the possible side-effects, which makes for disturbing reading. “Wobbliness” and “shortness of breath” certainly fit. Of course, these are side-effects to Proheart 6 – NOT Proheart-SR 12 , which is what Honey had – but the fact that they are from the same stable makes me uncomfortable. Anyway, if that is what it was – then let’s just hope that these are the only reactions she suffers, as some of the others on the list are really frightening.

Of course, there is nothing to prove that it was a reaction to the injection and it may simply be a coincidence. I did ask the emergency vet, of course, about the possibility, but like most vets, she brushed it off, saying that most reactions occur immediately after the injection. However, I do know – from my own research for several articles I have written on vaccinosis – that studies show that vaccine reactions usually show up in the 3 months following the vaccine…delayed reactions are quite common…and it is reasonable to assume that reactions to this injection might follow a similar pattern.

Oh, how I regret agreeing to that heartworm injection before doing proper research on it! Especially as we had no problems giving the monthly tablets but were just silly to simply follow what the vets recommended…you would think someone like me, who usually researches everything to death, would know better! I think we were just so overwhelmed with the whole move and everything that when it came to heartworm being a “new” Australian issue that we’d never dealt with before, we just bowed to the Australian vets’ advice without ever questioning them…

Anyway, hopefully this will be the end of things and at least one good thing that’s come from all this is that we have X-rays of Honey’s heart & lungs & stomach & intestines, etc, and detailed blood test results and from those, she seems a completely healthy dog – in fact, very good for her age. So I suppose that is reassurance of some sort!

On a slightly related topic, we have also been a bit concerned with Honey’s weight. I didn’t mention this in the post about the vets previously but we were a bit shocked when Honey got on the scales here and came in at around 60kg! Back in NZ, she had always weighed 68-70kg all her adult life and looked good at that weight – our vets there were happy and nobody commented on her being overweight. So even allowing for a slight difference in scales between countries, 10kg seems a huge difference to account for!

I know the move has been very stressful for her and we may have also been feeding her slightly less as we’re getting used to new raw diet supplies here – and to be honest, I had been looking at her recently and thinking she looked very bony and sinewy. The other Dane owners on our recent beach playdate commented on her hip bones jutting out and I was wondering if she was a bit too thin – you can definitely see her back ribs quite clearly and I’d noticed even her spine was a bit prominent along her back…but what is confusing is that the vets here all kept telling me that she is good at this weight!

Well, if she is good now – that must mean that she was OVERweight all the rest of her life back in NZ! Or if she was good then, that must mean she is UNDERweight now! Which is it? And what weight should we be aiming for?

The problem with Honey, I find, is that she is such a big girl, she tends to put on or lose a few kilos with very few people noticing and most people always say she looks good at whatever weight she is at…

Here are a couple of photos I took of her yesterday morning, at the weight she is now (60kg):

And here are a couple of photos taken last year back in NZ when she was around 70kg:

As you can see, there isn’t a huge difference although in terms of numbers, that’s 10kg. And I certainly don’t think she looked fat or overweight in the pictures from NZ, at 70kg! In fact, I think I prefer her looking more like before – more rounded and fleshed out.

I have asked our lovely breeders as they are so experienced and they know what their type of Dane should look like – and they say that Honey is a big girl (35″ with big bones – of the more solid type of Dane) and takes after her mother, who apparently tipped the scales at around 70kg  too- so that should be an acceptable weight for her. They also said that dogs can lose weight in the heat, plus the stress of the move so perhaps she is a bit underweight. Certainly, they don’t think she looked overweight back in NZ and ultimately, they felt that I should go with my own instincts, as I know Honey best, as opposed to vets who may not be necessarily experienced enough to judge for individual breeds.

The vets here talked a lot about Honey being a “geriatric” and muscle wastage from ageing. I’d noticed recently that her ‘bum’ in particular is looking very bony and almost pointy at the end, near the tail. – so perhaps that is not due so much to weight loss as muscle wastage due to age? It does seem a bit dramatic though – those pictures in NZ above were only taken about 6 months ago – how can a dog age that fast?!

I actually wonder if all this “muscle wastage” is not due so much to ageing as lack of decent dog parks here in Brisbane where she can run off-leash! Back in Auckland, there were so many ‘proper’ off-leash dog parks (whole parks, not small fenced enclosures) – and so Honey got off-leash exercise at least twice a week, often without necessarily playing with other dogs – but just exploring by herself. She had a lot more chance to do free running and steady trotting for extended periods – whereas here, we primarily do pavement/leashed park walks and the few times she has had off-leash runs, it’s been in areas with lots of other dogs so she starts playing – but that is a totally different kind of running, with lots of high impact, sudden twisting & turning and braking – it’s no wonder that she injured herself at the last playdate!

Honey enjoying free running in a big, uncrowded Auckland dog park!

There is only really 1 proper, big, unfenced dog park here at Kedron Brook but because it is so unique, it is always crowded with dog owners from all over Brisbane and it is impossible to go there without meeting other dogs constantly. This means that unless I keep stopping her (which seems cruel), Honey would start playing and – aside from the fact that she is not allowed to play at the moment while on her 6 weeks prescribed “rest” by the vets – it is also not really the beneficial kind of steady off-leash exercise that would help to build up her muscle tone, I think.

(sigh) I just wish there were more parks here where she could run off-leash for an extended time, without being crowded by lots of other dogs & owners…we never realised how lucky we were back in Auckland! :(

~ Hsin-Yi

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Honey’s Health Scare (by Hsin-Yi)

  1. The Musketeers says:

    Hi Hsin Yi !

    Lucky Honey is fine, honestly she do look a little skinny now, just by looking at the photo itself. I think she look perfect at her NZ time. Just nice.

    Cody’s weight is not in the healthy Golden Retriever range, but the doctor say it is just nice for him, as his have big boney legs. So from my point of view is, some dogs may be heavier due to their boning and size, that may cause a few kilos added to their weight. The best way to know that your dog is not fat, or overweight is whenever you touch their ribcage area you can feel it.

    Still hope you guys will get used to be in Brisbane. 😉
    Takecare !

  2. Amber says:

    I’m so glad you took Honey in and that all the tests came back good! How scary that must have been and yes, it is better safe than sorry. I am thinking maybe we should get insurance for Nala. At first when you said she was panting heavily my thought was that maybe she had been bitten by a spider or something…don’t know if that could cause the wobbliness though? As for the heartworm, I really hope that’s not it and if it is then I hope that is all the side effects she will suffer. Try not to be too hard on yourself about it. (I’m not one to talk though) It’s challenging when you have vets telling you so adamantly you need to do this or that and like you said this was a new thing to you all so add that to it and it makes it even more difficult. I think Honey looks very healthy….slightly thinner than before but barely. I am sure once you figure out the raw diet options there and settle in to a routine things will get better. :)

    Thinking of you,
    Amber & Nala

  3. Ricky says:

    I’m glad you took Honey to the vet to make sure she was ok – I know it’s a lot of money and everything but it’s worth it to be sure! I don’t think you should beat yourself up about the heartworm injection – you did the best you could at the time and who knows for sure if it caused Honey any problems or not. She does look a little too thin to me – but I bet the move stressful and it was natural for her to lose a little weight.

  4. Mango says:

    Honey! I am more and more convinced that it was that heartworm injection. Thanks for posting. I hope you are OK now.


  5. Hsin Yi,
    I understand your concern regarding the weight loss. I too would be concerned about that kind of weight loss over a short period of time. In US – 68kg would be 150 pounds (I need to convert so I can better visualize :) Both of our girls are right around 150 pounds. Now, they are a bit overweight, however, Honey looks really good at that weight in the photos. I would trust your judgement. If you think 68kg is a healthier weight for her then I would shoot for that. And, if she loses any more weight, I would be concerned.

    Keep us posted!

  6. Heather in MN says:

    Oh, my goodness, how scary for you! I’m glad she’s ok and I’ll bet it was the injection. My dog Emily had bad reactions to heartworm injections, and it was the next day or even two days after.

    Hugs to you,


  7. Cheryl says:

    I am so glad Honey is OK, your concern for her is so sweet it is obvious she is your heart of hearts.

    Before my Doberman passed we averaged a trip to the Vet once every 3 months and I calculated the vet bills for her 7 year life span at over 10 thousand dollars, LOL.

    I pray for Honey to have many more good years with you!

  8. Jake & Zeus says:

    Glad to hear that all your tests came back clear Honey. Hsin-Yi you are quite right in saying her ‘muscle wastage’ could be caused by lack of free running, it happens quite quickly too ask our brother Zeus.
    Zeus and I are 9yrs old in May and are still in good health, especially me, that is why I get to reply to your posting Honey while Zeus takes a nap!
    Zeus and I think you look much better when you weigh more Honey, so tell your human to feed you up, *sigh* I wish I was being fed more but my human Kim says I look perfect at my 80kg.
    Kim says that she thinks the injection caused Honeys wobbliness but she should be ok.

    your big brothers Jake and Zeus

  9. Homer says:

    Hi Hsin Yi,

    You did the right thing by taking Honey to the vet immediately, I would do the same too, just for a peace of mind.

    Homer used to get some reaction, well delayed reaction when he’s due for his vaccinations. But, everything is fine after a week or so.

    As for Honey’s weight loss/weight gain, it’s kind of difficult to tell from the photos. Can you try to take photos from the top view? Anyway, in my personal opinion, I prefer to keep Homer slightly underweight as Golden Retrievers are prone to hip and elbow problems. At this moment, Homer’s weight is ideal so I’m not complaining. I think Honey will regain a couple of kilos just a matter of time. Perhaps she’s still trying to adjust to the new enviroment and like you’ve mentioned before, you’ve given her lesser raw diet?

    Lots of love to Honey (and you too!)

    The Missus

    PS: I’m going to check out if they have dog insurance in Italy. Thanks for the useful information!

  10. Cinnamon says:

    Hi Hsin-Yi,

    It WAS an SCARY episode for you! I am glad that all the results from X-rays and blood tests are clear. The body of any living creatures including dogs and humans alike is full of mystery, so unfortunately it is not always possible to completely understand the cause of a problem that happens in it. At least you have done all you could. Now I hope it was a single and only episode and Honey will continue to stay healthy.

    About the weight loss, maybe you can try increasing the amount of food and see if she gains back some weight. She never looked overweight in NZ!

  11. Hi Hsin-Yi,

    I’m so glad that there was nothing immediately wrong with Honey, what a scary moment you must have been having. I can only imagine how I’d feel seeing Princess wobble or anything. And we’ll keep her in our thoughts for this injection to stop messing with her. You are so right that we shouldn’t blindly trust our vets and unfortunately you learned the hard way. We can always get second opinions or do further research as is the beauty of the internet now.

    Sorry as well that Honey seems to be loosing some weight hopefully as she continues to get more settled you’ll see some of it come back on. I also hope ya’ll can find a decent area for her to get more exercise when she’s up for it. I can’t imagine not seeing P’s muscly hind quarters!

    Thanks for sharing, I think it can only help with your readers!!

    ~P’s Mom

  12. brrr it was a very very big scare you hsin-yi!!!
    Sanne had a big scare to of us, one time el’bow just felt on the floor!!!! he had a sunburn!! and one time hauwii wasnt him self he didnt do anthing!!! so she bring him to the vet but he didnt find anthing so she felt like a fool to!

    so dont be sicky honey! and dont scare hsin-yi no more! promest honey?

    a very very big hugh from us

    El’bow & Hauwii

  13. Hi Honey,

    You always loooked a good weight to me when I saw you back in Auckland – in your latest photos you do look very lean.

    My mum has the same trouble tying to work out what weight I should be. I’m half your size literally! I was told I was “FAT” by a man on Monday nights that you knew – how rude! But then a few other doggie people commented on my size at the time (35kg) as I was just starting agility and their dogs were finely tuned racing machines!

    So mum asked my vets and got even more confused as three vets (all in the same practice) had different ideas about what weight is best for me! They all felt my ribs and spine and my usual vet said that 34kg is ideal, another says I shoud loose about 10% – 15% more weight and be 30kg or a bit below that, and another vet said 32 to 33kg would be best.

    The NZ Kennel club website says about Golden retrievers that “The average weight in good hard condition should be: Dogs: 32 – 37 kg (70 – 80 lb) Bitches: 27 – 32 kg (60 – 70 LB)” – so mum is aiming for the middle ground of the vet’s recommendations of 32 (which is right at the bottom of the NZKC standard for a dog!) as being lighter is meant to be better for my bones as I age – although she is aware that I started out as a big puppy and don’t have small bones or a small head (when we are with other retrievers I’m tall and have a big boned head!) so it all gets quite confusing for her, especially as each day I give my mum my best hungry look to try to get more food – but it never works as she’s started measuring out my rations and treats (which she even cuts down if my daily exercise is reduced) and she weighs me each time we visit the vet – even if we are just there to buy a toy or worm pills. Does she have that paranoia thing too?

    So Honey, you have probably guessed that my vote is for anything with more food. Being overweight in the Brisbane heat wouldn’t be good, but perhps your mum could try to get you up to the average of what your NZ and Australian vets have said (about 64 or 65 kg) and see how you are energy wise, coat wise, etc and then work out which way to go from there.


  14. sara, misty & oreo says:

    Oh Hsin-Yi, you must have been so worried. I’m glad Honey is ok now.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Honey’s weight, consdiering her bloodwork came back normal. Misty’s weight has gone down as she has gotten older as well. The good thing is, she has no signs of arthritis, because she has stayed so lean.

  15. Hi Hisn-Yi,

    Honey is SO lucky to have a wonderful owner like you! I am glad that nothing is wrong with her. My mom always gets very worried when I act even a little bit funny. She would have done the same thing. Thank goodness for pet insurance! I got sick the first week of January and my 4 vet trips (including 1 emergency vet trip) were over $1000. It was NO FUN!

    My grandparents had a great dane who went to the rainbow bridge in 2006. She was 11.5 years old! I hope Honey and I both have looooong healthy lives like Rosie did. And Rosie was a big, beautiful fawn girl, just like Honey! :)

    Honey weighs about the same as my sister, Satin. Satin is 130 pounds, which my mom calculated for me and says is 60 kg.
    But I think Satin is probably shorter than Honey. I bet Rosie was the same size as Honey, she weighed 148 pounds, which google tells me is about 67 kg.

    I am very petite, I only weigh 110 pounds, which mom looked online and found out is only 50 kg! I have always been a little on the smaller side. I am very skinny too. My mom has SUCH a hard time getting me to eat. I just don’t like to eat too much! She has to play lots of tricks on me to get me to eat my food. (Cottage cheese used to be my favorite trick but the last 2 times I ate it I threw up! Mom says probably because I got SO excited I ate it SO fast!) I wish I had some advice to give you, but I am a teeny girl (I prefer “dane-ty”!), and I don’t like to eat much! I hope Honey can bulk back up soon, but she is just beautiful either way!

    Elle Woods

    p.s. I wrote a couple blog posts recently that you might like! http://legallyfabulous.blogspot.com/2010/03/update-from-elle-woods.html


  16. sprinkles says:

    What a relief that Honey is OK! I would have rushed her to the vet too! I had a very sickly kitty who often went to the vet several times a year for one thing or another so I’m always watching my little dogs for any sign that something isn’t normal!

    I once took my kitty to the vet and they tried to tell me nothing was wrong with him. They finally agreed to do some blood tests just to apease me and I felt vindicated that they found some issues with his liver! I wasn’t happy he was sick, of course! But I knew something was wrong and the vet didn’t listen when I tried to tell him!

    I wish my local vet accepted pet insurance. My little dogs only go once or twice a year for their checkups but I certainly could have used it for my kitty. He was VERY costly from his first day with me right up until his last day. He was so worth it though, just as Honey is!

    I didn’t notice a big difference in Honey’s weight from your pictures but I do think she looked a little better when she was heavier. My dogs just went to the vet for their annual shots last week and my big chihuahua Shiver was 10 pounds! I was shocked and expected a lecture from the vet about how he was overweight but no one said anything.

    I wish there were some dog parks here. There is a walking path near my house but all dogs are expected to be on a leash. It’s a beautiful path and I love that there are markers to tell you how far you’ve walked. I’ve never let my dogs run free though except in the back yard so I’d be nervous about letting them run off leash in an open area.

  17. Kaj& Harley says:

    Wow that is very scary. Those blasted emeg vet clinics. Harley and I ended up having to goto to one of those last Sunday. On Saturday night Harley had a runny nose and seemed kind of. Out of it. I had called the vet and he told me it must just be allerges. So we decided to wait till Monday. Well Sunday morning it was obvious that she was in pain. I took her to the emerg vet. And after x rays and some blood work and talking to a couple bone specialists and a few other older vets. The came to the conclusion that she has a very uncommon disease called HOD ( Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy). It’s a disease that they don’t know much about. Very little researh done one it. It attacked her front. Legs just above her ankles. A build up of calcium I think. She had a high fever with the runny snotty nose. But after 3 days. She is already alot better still in pain and limited exercise. But she will be fine and hopefully no more flare ups. Appernetly it only affects growing puppies

  18. The OP Pack says:

    It is really too bad that you couldn’t get an answer as to what was wrong but the good news is that she checked out so well. The change in weight is probably due to a combination of all those factors, the move being the chief one and then the slight change in diet amount. You are such a wonderful mom to be so concerned about her and to be looking so hard for answers.

    Paws crossed from here that she is just fne.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  19. Kasha the Great Dane says:

    Hi Honey….

    Oh nooooooooooooo, I’m sorry you are not feeling well. But I’m glad your mom took you to the vet straight away..nothing scarier than a sick doggie. I like you at your current weight of 60kg. You don’t look thin to me at all. I’m a dainty girl you know and only weigh around 116 pounds. I don’t think I am as tall as you are either. I eat and get lots of treats but mom has always tried to keep her dogs on the lean side especially with the chances of hip problems with us large breeds. I can’t believe they called you “geriatic” honey…I’m older than you and nobody has ever called me that…I prefer “cougar”…LOL

    I do wonder if that injection is what made you weak in the legs and wobbly. I get heartworm tablets. My brother who has since went to Rainbow Bridge was Heartworm Positive when mom adopted him and he had to go through the whole treatment but he lived a long and good life til the age of 13 for a big dog that was great.

    I hope you feel better soon Honey and tell your mom that when I bloated the first sign was that I was really, really, really, drooling all over the place (which I normally don’t do). Keep us posted on how you are doing.

    AARF Kasha the Dainty Great Dane

  20. Gosh that is scary! I was reading and thinking just like you; what would you do if she had collapsed. I hope its isolated and not the heartworm shot.

    P.S. the picture of her on the water is breathtaking!! I do prefer her NZ weight but she does look healthy in both

  21. asta says:

    I’m so happy you have such a wondewful , cawing, loving mom and that she took you to be examined. the best news is that you awe all wight..
    Pleez stay well sweet honey
    i love you
    smoochie kisses

  22. Khyra says:

    I’m in agreement with Mango about the HW injekhtion –

    Woo were a great mom to be so khoncerned bekhause woo don’t get a sekhond chance in many of those situations –

    We agree she’s a bit light now but in time – and getting settled – I’m sure she’ll add a few more kgs –

    Sorry the park situation is so bad –

    Hugz&Khysses to ALL,

  23. Sapphire says:

    thank you for sharing with us Hsin-yi. Honey will be just fine. keep up the great work you’re doing and love love love your blog (: *pats and kiss Honey*

  24. luna says:


    my my what a scare~!! i am glad everything is ok though.

    and i just wanted to say that you are my hero Honey (and what a cute name)~!!!!

    luna (& mum J)

  25. Oh Honey and Hsin-Yi! What a scare! Bloat is something not to be taken lightly so Im glad you rushed her to the emergency vet! And great that it turned out to be nothing, but how frustrating that you couldn’t find out exactly what it is! The great thing about insurance is being able to rush her in and not have to worry about the cost! Our danes put us through so much worrying these days!

    Regarding her weight, I think she looks a little on the thin side (for her) in those first pictures. But it could totally be because of the move and the heat. Last summer it got up to 100+ (F) in Seattle and Darwin was a lot less active and didn’t eat as much (granted she was still a baby, but her energy level and eating did spike up once fall/winter came and she wasn’t a bump on a log). I’m sure once Honey’s routine gets more settled her eating will go back to normal and she’ll gain back some of that weight.

    Keep us posted on her!
    Take care!
    Brooke and Darwin

  26. MAXDOG says:

    Hey there Hsin-Yi

    What a scare! I am really glad that Honey is ok!

    What I have learned over the past 3 months is to ‘ALWAYS’ trust my/your own instinct…NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY! Had I not honored my instinct I would never have picked up Max’s mast cell tumour 5 months ago. (which was successfully removed). Neither would they have picked up his current liver cancer.

    In addition, the Vets don’t ALWAYS KNOW! The fact that Max, despite all the tests, xrays, scans etc, is currently on his 48th day “past-his-sell-by-date” (as far as the Vets are concerned), and is pain free, comfortable and happy, is testimony to the fact that despite all scientific research and acumen….they DON’T ALWAYS KNOW!!!

    So…ALWAYS trust your instict with your animal!!! Never doubt it – even if you think they are labelling you neurotic! It is this particular uniqueness of the bond we have with our animals that allows our companions to defy all medical expectations!

    My thoughts and prayers are always with you and Honey as you travel your own personal path together! Trust it!

    With love!

  27. Dino says:

    Hsin-Yi, just reading the title of your post scares me. I am relieved that Honey is alright. Glad to hear that the test results all came back fine too. You are a wonderful owner, doing the best you can to ensure her good health. She does look a little bony, but I am sure she will gain back the weight she lost in a couple of months. Sending big hugs to you and Paul, you guys must be worried sick for her. Please give Honey extra scratchies from us in Taipei. Thinking of all of you! Love, Dino

  28. Sara & Pu says:

    I´m just like you… I get really worried when I see that something’s not right with pu.
    He´s usually so happy and playful, that whenever he’s not his usual self I panic!
    And normally hi´s “emergencies” always happens on weekends! Witch means we have to pay the emergency fee…
    Were glad that honey’s feeling better now.
    Big licks

  29. Pipa says:

    õhmigosh, Hsin-Yi, I’m so sorry I’ve only read this post now…
    Thank God everything was fine with the blood tests…
    How is she doing now?

    Thank you for sharing all this, your experience can be my experience!



  30. janice says:

    my honest opinion is that it is the heartworm medication. i am 100% convinced from reading your story. Giant breeds are such a different kettle of fish from normal or even large size dogs that truthfully vets don’t always have the knowledge to make a propper assessment of their needs. Anaethetic is a perfect example–so many giant breeds die do to improper dose of anasthetics. you have to be so careful with the lean giant breeds (wolfhounds, great danes, borzoi,deerhounds)
    and i am just not too sure the vets always have it right. owning a giant breed, you will always be the exception to every rule, and it can be frustrating and expensive..with your dog always being a bit of a guinea pig. i DO see a difference in the comparison pics of Honey and agree she looks a bit healthier at 70 kg. my 2 are just a few kg heavier than that and a smidge taller–and they are lean, so….i think the stress has got her down a bit. i don’t believe in the muscle wasting theory. not for an active dog like Honey who is on a routine. i know there has been a lifestyle change recently–perhaps she has simple lost a little bit of tone? i know you think Honey is not young anymore but i believe she is still quite young because of the high quality care and lifestyle she has. i think you could knock a few years off her age compared to most danes i have seen. she seems more like 4 or 5 to me. these are all just my opinions and what do i know?? and sorry for the bad grammar/spelling hehehe

  31. Kimba says:

    Dear Honey,

    My mom usually doesn’t read long texts. I wonder why she always read yours…

    Anyway, we keep following your blog always looking for an update. Today we got really upset and sad about your health scare, but we know you’re in the best hands and that comforts us a little.

    Take great care of yourself and remember that we love you.

    Kimba & family.

  32. What a scare!!! We’re glad you took Honey in! Better to be extra safe!
    We sure hope everything is OK!
    Tail wags

  33. parlance says:

    Hsin-Yi, I felt sick with anxiety for you when I thought of you ever-so-gently leading Honey back to the car that night.

    I guess you just have to put it behind you and know that all the results came back fine.

    As to the weight loss, I think it must have been a great life-change for you all, not only Honey, when you moved, so that may be why her weight has changed.

  34. Oh, dear, we came by to catch up and read this. We’re so glad Honey is okay.


    Someone who used to show dogs in the US said they would lessen their feed before a show so they looked almost emaciated. To someone like that, your dog would undoubtedly look fine. But to one who believes as long as the dog has a trim “figure” it’s healthy, your dog would look too thin. So it might be according to who you are asking????

  35. Ashley says:

    My neighbors had a Great Dane who lived to be 12! She had the rump “muscle wastage” in her senior years, too. I have no idea what causes it, but I know she got plenty of exercise.

    Your ordeal with Honey seemed terrifying. My first thought was heart too, based on the risks with the breed. I’m glad she’s fine and it’s unfortunate the pharmacist/vet didn’t inform you about the side effects of the injection. I’ve been ill informed myself about a heart medication I take. It definitely pays to do your own research to avoid getting the brush off.

  36. Lorenza says:

    Paws crossed that was an only one episode!
    Sure it was scary! Glad you took her to the Vet and everything is ok!
    I wish I could donate to Honey the kilos I have in excess!
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  37. Oskar says:

    We are so thankful that beautiful Honey is o.k.

  38. Dana says:

    Glad things are still normal for Honey. I had not considered the change in type of exercise as part of her weight loss but that makes sense. Gotta rest though and when the paw issues are better I think you can get back to normal. We suffer a lack of parks where we are too so feel for you.

  39. Oh Honey. Not good to scare your Mom and Dad like that. We are so glad you are feeling better now. We only have one tiny off leash park and lots of dogs in the area. I haven’t been to it yet.


  40. I don’t think she looks bad. I like my dogs thin. I think the weight loss is from adjusting to a new climate, new diet, new home, new schedule (if it’s changed), new exercise, etc. Since she acts healthy (aside from the scare) I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Maybe check to see if you’re feeding the same amount (is this meat leaner maybe?) and adjust back to what you were feeding. I think it’s largely preference and I think she’s healthy at either weight. The only thing I would keep in mind is that she’s a large dog and the least amount of weight she can get away with (without being too thin) the better for her joints, heart, etc.

    As for the exercise can you use a bicycle or skates to walk her with? Then you could keep her at a steady trot over a longer distance, just don’t do it on pavement obviously. Dunno just an idea. Please keep us updated.

  41. Deborah says:

    ProHeart 6 injections do kill too many dogs and in the US we have been fighting to keep it off the market. The FDA seemed to already have their minds made up at their hearing last week. It caused severe months of weight lose and bloody stools and vomiting in our male Italian Greyhound and was the only injection he received. Please research the medication because if your dog is having a reaction at all now, if you repeat the injections their tolerance can decrease and then they can’t fight the adverse reactions at all. I am a registered nurse in the US and wish someone had informed me. We sign giving permission for our human children to get vaccines, we should be equally as informed about our pets. Good luck.

  42. Jean says:

    It sure sounds like Honey had a reaction to ProHeart. I hate to also tell you that weight loss is one of the top reactions to the drug. This medication is time-released, and I’m afraid until it is completely out of her system, you MIGHT see a relapse of her symptoms every month about the time the shot was given. I know this as I was one of the people who collected written complaints by people whose dogs were affected here in the U.S. A lot of them said thing. Besides collecting written complaints, I know I spoke to literally hundreds of people before the drug was taken off the market here back in 2004.

    You know your dog better than anyone else, no matter what the so-called “experts” try to tell you.

    BTW, I had three dogs who had only one shot of ProHeart 6 four days after the second supplemental NADA came out in 2002. Two of the three died — one from autoimmune hemolytic anemia and the second from, shoot, I don’t know since the followup necropsy results never ended up at my vet’s office (Fort Dodge knew I was going to use it against them in litigation), but cancer cells, they say, were found in his liver. No tumors were found, no ruptured spleen, etc., just free-flowing blood that had filled his abdomen. (Turns out “liver disease” was also one of the reactions, which of course does not show up overnight.)

    I decided to put my second dog to sleep, and this was a little over three months after he got the shot. I didn’t want the rest of his life recovering from a surgery with such a poor prognosis and him still being under the influence of ProHeart 6.

    My third dog has been on meds to regulate his immune system. Seven years of this and counting. I feel I’ve kept him as healthy as possible because I refuse to allow any type of vaccines or drugs in him except his meds. I see a holistic vet. Plus my dogs are on a mostly raw diet.

    I haven’t read all the posts here. I wonder: Do you know where you can report adverse reactions there? Do you know you can report adverse reactions if your vet does not? Because let me tell you, Pfizer and the FDA here in the States are saying that because ProHeart is doing “so well” in other countries and there hasn’t been much reporting, that’s the basis they’re keeping it on the market here, although it’s supposed to be on a limited basis.

    I was at the meeting in Washington last week. Our government still seems to be hiding information from the public and seem to be “in bed” with the manufacturer. You see, our FDA receives at least half its funding from the pharmaceutical companies, and seems to me that they don’t want to “bite the hand that feeds them.”

    I know I don’t need to tell you, but please watch your dog like a hawk. And to any friends of yours whose dogs may have had the shot once, twice, three or more times and haven’t had a problem, that doesn’t mean that one day that dog won’t have a problem with the shot. We saw it happen here. It’s just NOT worth the risk of EVER getting the ProHeart shot, whether it’s the 6-month version or the 12-month version. Stick with the oral forms of HW prevention. At least if the dog has a reaction, the oral medication is out of their system in a matter of days.

    Good luck with everything!

  43. Con says:

    Hi Hsin-Yi and Honey,

    It does sound like Honey very probably had a reaction to the ProHeart shot. You can still report it. I would suggest reporting it through the Australian site http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/adverse/index.php
    as well as to the FDA in the US where it is manufactured.
    That form is 1932a
    Often times people don’t know that they can report an adverse event reaction.
    Good luck with it all. If I can help, let me know.

  44. Nicoletta & Lucille says:

    Ciao Hsin-Yi, glad you decided to publish your experience. Must say I chose the injection last year as i thought I was not running the risk to forget the tablets, but better that than running the risk of those side-effects.
    For the weight, my great dane is the same as yours: she looses weight than she gains it back, but the vet always tell me she is fine as they see her the moment they see her… At least in Italy Vets are not commonly treating danes and they do not know too much of the peculiarities of this breed. Of course a disease is a disaese and they know how to treat it, but things like diet or the weight is sometimes nice to have a chat with the breeder that knows them inside out…
    Ciao Nicoletta & Lucille

  45. Georgina says:

    So glad that Honey is alright. What a scare for you though. It must be frustrating not to have many places for Honey to have a good run around in. You have made me think we better look into insurance when we get to NZ. I assume they won’t cover anything to do with Gemma’s knees though as they are existing conditions. We are still just observing her for now. She can’t have too much exercise at the moment as she gets tired quickly. Quite sad to see as she has been such a little dynamite. We will need to decide on the surgery soon I think. Big hugs to Honey. (ps She does look a bit thin to me in the latest pics).

  46. Carmela says:

    Hi Glad to hear all ended well. This is the first time i hopped onto your website and was surprised to see that you use the same vet i do. We have been fortunate to adopt 2 danes and are just new to the whole thing. We find Sandgate foreshore a great off leash (not officially off leash) area in the middle of the day at low tide when not to many dogs are out.

We'd love to hear your thoughts... (You can comment using your Facebook or Twitter account too!)

  • * Don't worry if your comment disappears - it's probably gone into the Spam folder but we'll fish it out!