and if a less then perfect heart was found...what kind of things do they do to help it???
One of the real problems with DCM is that dogs are usually in the end stages of the disease before they have any outward symptoms. One of my dogs is a good example-she lived exactly 7 days from the first discernible symptom.
Dogs who have an irregular heartbeat due to vpc's can be put on anti arrythmic drugs, hopefully to reduce the chance of sudden death.
Drugs like Enalapril and Pimobendan (thankfully, now FDA approved) allow the heart to work more efficiently, slow the progression of the disease and significantly extend lifespan in many dogs.
Prior to Pimobendan, a doberman in congestive heart failure lived an average of 90 days after diagnosis, and as my experience with my girl illustrates, many lived for a considerably short time period. With Pimo, that average time has been increased to almost a year.
There are studies going on right now about the efficacy of giving dogs in occult DCM Pimobendan, to see if there's any benefit to giving it to them prior to them going into CHF. Time will tell about that.
We had some good news about Rush's heart this past week, in addition to a scary situation with a liver biopsy. About 6 weeks ago he had a "funny" measurement when they did his regular echo..the LVID (which many consider the earliest predictor of DCM) was suddenly in the borderline area. So they did a followup echo on Thursday, and I'm pleased to say ALL the measurements were well within the normal range. No one really knows why they got the weird LVID measurement the last time, but for right now he's good to go from a cardiac standpoint. BIG sigh of relief!
However, his liver biopsy (also done last Thurs.) provided some scary moments. He's vWD affected, and that increased the risk factor of a procedure that's always considered risky. Sure enough, he started bleeding internally after the biopsy-the doc said he took about a year off her lifespan. They gave him a bunch of plasma and got him stabilized, but he had to spend an extra night there for observation. I brought him home on Friday, and he really wasn't himself until this morning-it really took a lot out of him. But today he's perking up again.