Join Date: Jun 2011
Dogs Name: Havana and Tank
Titles: Master of Naughty
Dogs Age: 4 yrs Female 2 1/2 years male
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Before you get excited...
If you are thinking of having the test done but are not sure, please consider this email explanation of how to interpret the results from Dr. Meurs. This test does not a black or white answer.
As a veterinary cardiologist who spent years working with very sick affected Doberman pinschers and then who spent 15 years trying to figure out what caused it, i do believe that the test is an extremely useful took that will gradually reduce the prevalence of this horrible disease. As you said, the general public may not have a great understanding of the complexities of these genetic disease so I spend alot of time educating veterinarians about the test and the disease and most of our clients use their veterinarians to help interpret the results. I wish I could make it a bit clearer for the general public but these are very complex diseases and the answers to the questions about expressivity and penetrance are not known in the dog or the human being with this disease.
This is how I suggest using the test:
if the dog is positive heterozygous, this means that this dog is at increased risk for DCM and I would recommend more careful evaluation on an annual basis of this dog for evidence of clinical disease. If i had breeding program , i would carefully weigh this information with consideration of risk benefits of breeding.
If the dog is negative , this means it does not have the only known cause of this disease in the Doberman. We know that in human beings there are over 100 known genetic mutations that can cause DCM, we have no idea if there is more than one in the Doberman but this is likely, since there are so many in people it is likely that there will be > 1 in the dog, therefore, IF your dog should ever develop signs of heart disease such as a cough, or exercise intolerance we would have it evaluated by your veterinarian for heart disease since it is still possible that it could get DCM from other causes yet to be discovered or have another heart disease
Hope that helps