Holter questions - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Holter questions

I just got Juneau's first holter results back and the cardiologist said it is normal, but I have a couple of questions still.

1) Are pauses normal or cause for any concern? What is a normal length for a pause?

2) What is a good heart rate for a dog? What is average?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 06:25 PM
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Most of those are questions you can discuss with your vet. You paid good money for it so it isn't out of line for you to ask them to explain. Make them earn that money. Keep in mind that just like with people you have averages. Our Dobermans all had pauses on theirs also. It is above a certain number that it is no longer average. Just like for a person our acceptable average is 120 over 80 Some people average higher number with out it being called high blood pressure. You really shouldn't be asking a forum board as you don't know who has medical experience and who are just doing a google search. (which you could do) but I am assuming you are asking because you want a comfort level. Your vet paid big money to be able to answer your questions. call back up there and tell the vet you have a few questions that you would like have answered regarding the holter results.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 09:53 AM
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I agree that these are questions you should be asking the cardiologist--and I AM NOT a cardiologist but I've looked at, and talked to cardiologists about a lot of holter results in the last 15 years.. so for what it's worth.

I pulled one holter report just to give you an example. This was on an 8 year old neutered male who was very fit and was running agility regularly.

Pauses are usually regarded as insignificant if the pauses are less than 5 seconds long (and less than so many in 24 hours--but I don't remember how many that is)

Heart rate is something that will give you heart failure if you don't know that a canine heart rate is all over the place. So they always give heart rate as "mean heart rate" and maximum and minimum heart rate.

On the report I pulled the mean heart rate was 83, maximum heart was 245 and the minimum heart rate was 31 (and both of these occurred between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am)

I could go through holter reports for various dogs at random ages and all of the information on heart rate is similar.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Holter questions

Thank you dobebug for pulling that. I did talk to the specialist who performed/submitted the test about my concerns and he said that everything was normal and inline with expectations. The holter is sent to an offsite cardiologist at NCSU for reading and the results are sent back, so the actual cardiologist who did the reading was unavailable to me.

I specifically had the internalist apply it so that I would have a source to talk to, but it did not seem like there was a lot of anecdotal experience on their end, particularly with Doberman. I never meant to imply that anyone here was a cardiologist or that I was seeking veterinary advice. My concerns were simply that low (27 BPM) and high (192 BPM) seemed really extreme, but it sounds like that is nothing to be alarmed about. A pause of 4.2 seconds also seemed awfully long. Again, I really appreciate you taking the time to check that.

ETA Definitely had a bit of a shock seeing the variations on heart rate each hour. Thank you for the reassurance that it is not an immediate indicator of something wrong. My vet didn't support spending money on a holter, and the internalist couldn't understand why I wanted it since his heart sounded normal but ultimately consented, so this is all very DIY for me.


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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgourle View Post
Thank you dobebug for pulling that. I did talk to the specialist who performed/submitted the test about my concerns and he said that everything was normal and inline with expectations. The holter is sent to an offsite cardiologist at NCSU for reading and the results are sent back, so the actual cardiologist who did the reading was unavailable to me.

I specifically had the internalist apply it so that I would have a source to talk to, but it did not seem like there was a lot of anecdotal experience on their end, particularly with Doberman. I never meant to imply that anyone here was a cardiologist or that I was seeking veterinary advice. My concerns were simply that low (27 BPM) and high (192 BPM) seemed really extreme, but it sounds like that is nothing to be alarmed about. A pause of 4.2 seconds also seemed awfully long. Again, I really appreciate you taking the time to check that.

ETA Definitely had a bit of a shock seeing the variations on heart rate each hour. Thank you for the reassurance that it is not an immediate indicator of something wrong. My vet didn't support spending money on a holter, and the internalist couldn't understand why I wanted it since his heart sounded normal but ultimately consented, so this is all very DIY for me.


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Well, dang! I'd start checking now with Dobe and Boxer Chapter Clubs to see if one of them is doing cardio clinics. For cardio evaluations the best program is an echo done by a cardiologist and a holter done within two or three months of the echo.

If a chapter club offers cardio clinics (ie: Mt Hood Doberman Pinscher Club, in Oregon, offers two a year--one in the summer and one in the winter and the club has holter set ups which can be borrowed by any club member for minimal cost. Each test is really most valuable for different things. The echo allows the cardiologist to see the heart in action get measurements and when it's through a breed specific club you know that the cardiologist is seeing a minimum of something like 40 Dobermans a year--because they do at least 20 Dobes at each clinic. The holter gives a lot more specific information about the electrical activity of the heart and a lot of dogs may not show extended runs of ventricular activity which is what does get caught by holtering instead of relying on 3 or 5 minute EKG testing.) If you don't have a Dobe Club close to you who does this sort of clinic check with Boxer clubs--Google them and find their parent club (I think it's Boxer Club of America.org) because I know that on the west coast the Boxer folk started doing cardio clinics (Boxers have a cardiac issue which is atrial rather than ventricular, but is as widespread in the breed as DCM is in Dobes. Early on one of the Boxer clubs in this area opened their cardio clinics to Dobes and had holter setups they would loan out at moderate rates.

It's one of the big advantages to going through a specific breed clinic--it usually means that the cardiologist sees enough of the breed to know pretty well what is "normal" for the breed. And for holters--a friend and I bought a reconditioned set up from Alba medical--it's a first generation digital (and Mt Hood started out doing clinics when the units were analog and much touchier) we holter the dog--my friend has a computer that is advanced enough to transmit the chip data to Alba--we usually have the data back in two days--we don't have the Alba cardiologist do the explanation of the readout because the cardiologist at our clinic will do that. So my friend prints it out--we get 24 hours worth of diagrams of raw data on an hourly basis and a synopsis of analysis which is a page of stuff like heart rate. ventricular and supraventricular ectopy .

My older dogs get echo'd and holtered every six months and the younger dogs are done yearly. Both echo's and holters are most valuable for the information they provided about what is going on with heart function over time. You (or the cardiologist) can see what isn't working correctly and you have an early warning system to count on that lets you know if and when it is appropriate to start medication for specific issues.

Good for you for going to a lot of trouble to stay on top of this--and I'll tell you that if you can find someplace that does breed specific cardio clinics they are a whole lot less expensive for the same work ups that you'd do directly with a cardiologist for both echo's or holters.

ETA Ausculation (listening to the heart, is a very ineffective way of determining what is going on with a Doberman heart--holters and echo's are much, much better.
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Last edited by dobebug; 06-21-2017 at 02:13 PM.
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