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Old 07-02-2007, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Holter Your Dogs!

I just got Drago's (Katoba's Fire Roller) baseline cardiac testing results back and his echocardiogram and 24-hour holter ECG were both normal. The Dragonman's heart at age 21 months is in wonderful shape with not a single beat out of place. He's has perfect rhythm. 1 out of 2 Dobermans are likely to develop dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in their lifetime. Onset can be as early as age 3. So I will be completing annual echocardiograms and 24-hour holter ECGs on Drago for the rest of his life.

There's a really sweet picture of him sporting his holter monitor on my new personal website Dragonheart Dobermans: http://dragonheartdobermans.com

You will find the most complete information about Drago and our adventures together on this website as well.

Enjoy, Tracy
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Tracy, Thanks for the reminder.

I knew how prone dobies were to cardiac disease (DCM) but honestly didn't think there could be anything done about it if they had it.

I am so greatful for the 9 1/2 years I had with Cleo but I there is no limits to what I would give to have just an extra 6 months added to her life.

I'm so happy his baseline came back normal. Wonderful news.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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A healthy heart is wonderful news and always a good thing to have How much does something like that cost? and if a less then perfect heart was found...what kind of things do they do to help it???
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Can any vet do the echocardiogram and holter test or do you need to go to a specialized vet? Bumpy will be 18 months in two days, when should I get these tests done?
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Can any vet do the echocardiogram and holter test or do you need to go to a specialized vet? Bumpy will be 18 months in two days, when should I get these tests done?
Regular vets have neither the equipment nor the training to do and interpret echoes correctly-you pretty much have to go to a board certified cardiologist for this. This can be a problem for people who live in areas where there aren't any cardiologists around. You can find cardiologists by going to the ACVIM website and doing a search by state.

A lot of shows, dpca chapter clubs and rescues are now offering cardiac clinics-this is also the cheapest way to get an echo done.

Holtering can be done at home, but you need to have access to a holter monitor. Guelph university has a project where they'll send a holter for a group of dogs to have this done..Maryanddobes can tell you more about this project.

A lot of people are buying their own holter monitors-over time this is probably the cheapest way to go, especially if you have more than one dog. And many chapter clubs are buying holter monitors for their members to use, and to rent out to interested parties.

I start going annual echoes on my dogs at about age 2. After age 5 or so, I start doing echoes every six months.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great news Tracy!!!

From what I understand WSU is one of the premier, if not the best, canine cardio facilities in the Pacific Northwest. I think I will follow your lead and take Rex there this fall for his full exam as Drago had.

Thanks for setting such a good example for us to follow.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That is wonderful news for Drago!!!
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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[quote=Murreydobe;70968]

Holtering can be done at home, but you need to have access to a holter monitor. Guelph university has a project where they'll send a holter for a group of dogs to have this done..Maryanddobes can tell you more about this project.


I thought you can get the holter for just one dog from the U.O.G. ????
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Old 07-02-2007, 03:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[quote=Okie-dobie;70976
I thought you can get the holter for just one dog from the U.O.G. ????[/QUOTE]

It's not worth their while to ship it out for less than 3 dogs. A contact person for the OVC study has to put together a group of 3 or more Dobermans to be Holtered.
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Old 07-02-2007, 06:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oh perfect, I looked at the ACVIM website and ASEC, the specialty hospital in Los Angeles that was going to do Bumpy's neuter (for $3,500 - lol) has the cardiologist staff. I will call and check if they do these tests.
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It's just me and Drago and I don't live close to a specialty club that has purchased their own monitor. It's important to note that a simple 10 to 15 minute ECG strip is not a sufficient measurement to detect the abnormal beats. It's too small of a window in time. So a 24-hour holter ECG monitor is the way to go and now highly recommended by the DPCA and required for OFA doberman cardiac certification submission along with the echocardiogram.

I am blessed with an excellent state-of-the-art veterinary teaching hospital just 5 minutes from my house. They charged me $220 for the echocardiagram and $220 for the Holter plus $44 for their heart certification diagnosis from the cardiologist. This has all been sent in to OFA which costs an additional $15 to record in their database. Grand total was $499 but well worth it to make sure Drago's heart was healthy. These tests will be repeated on an annual basis for the remainder of his life to assure continued wellness.

WSU just called me tonight and told me that Drago's thyroid panel was normal as well. So he's a fine young healthy dog right now which makes me very happy.
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Oh perfect, I looked at the ACVIM website and ASEC, the specialty hospital in Los Angeles that was going to do Bumpy's neuter (for $3,500 - lol) has the cardiologist staff. I will call and check if they do these tests.
If not, California Animal Hospital (near the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda) definitely has the staff and the equipment. That's where I go, and while they're expensive, I can recommend them highly.
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Glad to hear everything checked out okay for Drago

I'm lucky because one of my good friends and colleagues is a board certified veterinary cardiologist so I can get annual echocardiograms and Holters done for minimal (if any) cost, and I will be taking full advantage to make sure if Red is going to have a problem, we catch it early.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you Murreydobe, I will check California Animal Hospital.

Dragonman, you are lucky to have such a strong healthy boy. Great news on all the test results.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you Murreydobe, I will check California Animal Hospital.
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Kirstie Barrett, DVM is the cardiologist I use there, and she's the BEST..an excellent doctor and a truly compassionate, caring person.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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So glad to hear that all his results came back great!
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:12 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Glad everything came back fine. Definately one thing off the list to think about for a time.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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glad to hear of his strong healthy heart. check with your local dobe (or boxer or great dane) rescue for cardio clinics - boxers and danes are also prone to DCM.

we just did one 2 months ago $175, compared to the $450 usual charge in the DC area. it came in handy toady whne they found the fluid in Pollo's pericardium. they were able to compare echos and see that his heart is actually fine and the fluid came from elsewhere.

if dogs are diaganosed in early stages they can be treated with meds and live for quite some time. once symptoms appear, most folks I know have only had a matter of days with their dobes.

It is a most worthwhile invetsment. I don't know if pet insurance covers it or not, but worth a phone call

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