When a persistent cough quickly revealed a devastating diagnosis, JackJack received hands-on care from BluePearl veterinary teams in San Antonio, Texas, and Sarasota, Florida.

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Sharrie and her family were preparing for a cross-country move from Texas to Florida when, one day, they noticed their 7-year-old Dalmatian named JackJack began coughing.

JackJack’s cough escalated to the point where Sharrie knew he needed a late-night vet visit. He was diagnosed with kennel cough – a contagious respiratory illness affecting dogs – and sent home with an understanding that he should recover fairly quickly.

But JackJack’s cough continued to worsen.

Sharrie then came to the stunning and terrifying realization that JackJack was having a hard time getting air into his lungs, and the situation became a panic-level emergency.

JackJack’s primary veterinarian referred their family to BluePearl Pet Hospital in San Antonio, where Dr. Catherine Strey, a veterinarian in the critical care service, revealed a much more serious diagnosis: severe dilated cardiomyopathy and pulmonary congestion.

A close up of a dalmatian outdoors in a park with blue skies and green grass.

As a medical professional and cardiac nurse in human medicine, Sharrie immediately understood the translation and severity of this startling diagnosis:

JackJack was experiencing heart failure.

The BluePearl team immediately jumped into action, providing a personalized treatment plan that included prescription medication and dietary changes.

Sharrie knew her family’s move to Sarasota was approaching, leaving her wondering how she could continue JackJack’s care and find a way for his current and potential new veterinary teams to collaborate.
That’s when she discovered the cardiology team at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Sarasota.

“We were moving with a newly diagnosed and very sick animal,” explained Sharrie. “It made us feel safe that we had a doctor here with BluePearl. They could collaborate. They had the records. We were going to be in good hands.”

Now under the care of Dr. Jennifer Mulz, a board-certified veterinary cardiologist, JackJack went in for his recheck exam to assess the progress of his condition.

Dr. Mulz compared his previous x-rays from the San Antonio hospital with the new x-rays taken after the move to Sarasota and made a fortunate discovery.

“When we rechecked him, we actually found that his heart looked remarkably better,” said Dr. Mulz.

JackJack’s heart size had returned to normal.

A dalmatian lays on the floor while his three owners give him lots of love and affection.

Next, Dr. Mulz and her team delivered the wonderful news to Sharrie and her family, who were completely overjoyed.

JackJack’s journey with heart failure ended as swiftly as it began. He was quickly able to resume normal life and feel like his old self again. Sharrie knew he had recovered when he started getting the “zoomies” again for the first time in a long time.

Erin Marshall, a certified veterinary technician in Sarasota who played a big role in Jack’s care, reflects on his remarkable recovery:

“It always feels good to give good news,” said Erin. “When it’s great news to the point where the pet is improving and able to get on with their life like a normal dog, that’s pretty amazing.”