DCM diagnosed in my 1 year old - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-11-2019, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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DCM diagnosed in my 1 year old

My beautiful 1 year old has been diagnosed with DCM. Luckily (ha ha what a word to use) I found a Vet in town who has a holiter monitor. He wore it yesterday and last night, and I turned it in today. There is not a canine cardiologist anywhere near me. But, this Vet has decided to specialize in Dobermen.
As for medication. We are going to wait until all of the test results are in before we make the final decision. It is very expensive. That is not the issue. I am in love with this dog and my heart is broken.
For those, if any who have medicated, did it make a difference? My discussions with this new Vet and our regular Vet tell me that the pills may only add 3 months to his life. I am trying to educate myself through the profound grief that I am feeling right now.
He has never been fed Grain Free. He has only eaten Purina Pro Plan for Large Breed Dogs.
I paid for Genetic Testing. But, I don't need to see the results to know that this was passed on by one of his parents.

Last edited by melbrod; 09-13-2019 at 06:53 PM.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-13-2019, 06:03 PM
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Sometimes I regret trying to explain something thoroughly--it seems to cause DT to delete posts that are lentghy--so I'll try this again as I think some of this information really should be common knowledge.

So--iluvMarcus123--your 1 year old dog was diagnosed with DCM? But not by a cardiologist? It would be fairly unusual for a one year old dog to have DCM--not imporss8ible but unusual. And how did the vet arrive at this conclusion?

Here's a bit of information that I got direct from a vet cardiologist (and was confirmed by another vet cardiologist)--testing (by echo and holter) very young dogs will sometimes give totally bizarre results because the heart is immature. The general recommendation is to start cardio testing at around 2 years. Test yearly for young dogs and twice a year for dogs older than 7 or who are showing signs of cardio.

Yes, it makes a lot of difference. Exactly what pills are the vets talking about. Three months is the kind of predicted life span that you see most often when an older dog is diagnosed with advanced DCM/CHF--CHF--congestive heart failure is end stage cardio in Dobes--and prior to better diagnostic methods and better medication is about what the prospects for extending life were. My dogs (and practically all of my recent dogs have been diagnosed with DCM and started on appropriate meds and have lived 3, 4, 5 years.
And actually I've only lost 2 dogs directly to cardio--most of the other Dobes have been euthanized because of other health issues. Cardio is not the only thing that kills Dobermans--and many dogs live long lives with treated cardio and die from something else entirely.

You paid for genetic testing? What were you testing for? THERE IS NO GENETIC TEST THAT WILL PREDICT OR CONFIRM CARDIO IN A DOBERMAN! The best way to deal with cardio is to start testing at around two and test yearly until 7 or 8 or the dogs shows overt symptoms of cardio verified by echo and holter preferably by a board certified cardiologist.

The exact method of genetic transference in Dobermans of DCM is still unknown. There are dogs who died young from cardio--and you left puppies who grew up and lived into double digits. Conversely there are dog who lived long, long lives--12, 13 sometimes more and who produced puppies that died young--of cardio.

Chances are that dog produced by dogs who were themselves long lived will also be long lived and there is certainly a greater chance of ending up with a dog with cardio if one or both parents had cardio. Cardiomyopathy is in the breed--and probably has been since the beginning of the breed.

But proper diagnosis and treatment will often give a dog who will be your beloved companion for many years.

I'd be talking at length to your vets and trying to get one of both of them to consult with a board certified cardiologist for the most recent information on diagnosis and treatment.

Cardio in the Doberman is generally regarded as genetic and rarely dietary. You might want to read some of the information on dietary vs genetic cardio--there as been a good bit of recent information posted here about that.

I'm sorry you've been told your dog has DCM and I'd be upset too but I think there is more information that you are getting at this point.

dobebug

And yes, the medication is expensive--but it works and I get to have the pleasure of the company of my dogs much longer than without it.



About medication--the medication available today for treatment of cardio is very effective but it's also worth noting that regular testing enables the dog to be started on appropriate medication when there is first evidence of cardio problems. Early diagnosis will help to get the dog properly medicated early and offer the best prospect of proper treatment and the longest possible live span.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-13-2019, 06:32 PM
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Regarding genetic testing for DCM...there are a couple of tests which can identify the presence of genes which have been associated with DCM in the doberman, but they are not really much more than of academic interest at the moment. The tests can be positive in a doberman who never develops DCM, and negative in dobermans that do.

There are different versions of DCM which can develop in different breeds, some of which may be dietary, but the tendency to develop DCM is regarded as inherited in the doberman. There appear to be a number of genes involved and it is really unclear at this point exactly what is going on. Many breeders run the genetic tests that are currently available in the hopes of eventually being able to trace the inheritance of DCM, but right now, about the best thing they can do to try to minimize DCM in their bloodlines is to track the incidence of DCM in the ancestors and relatives of the dogs they are breeding--parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/siblings/half siblings....and avoid breeding animals which have too much incidence of DCM in their bloodlines.

Breeders should be running full tests (echo and holter) within a year or even better 6 months of the planned breeding of any dog they plan to breed. Once is not enough; dobes can develop sub-clinical or even overtly observable DCM fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, DCM is present in every doberman bloodline, so run from any breeder who tells you that their bloodlines are completely free of it, and from any breeder who claims their breeding pair is DCM free, based simply on the results of a one-time genetic test.
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Last edited by melbrod; 09-13-2019 at 07:56 PM.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-13-2019, 10:23 PM
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I am just going to interject my experience (however little) with this. I had SE tested in Missouri at the National UDC show. Echo was fine. Holter was not. Asked the cardiologist if the results could be skewed due to stress. He said it was unlikely. She was in a crate for 12 hours for the trip and shown in the three obedience trials and the WAE. I followed up at Colo State University with 3 additional holters within a year from original test. All holter results from those three tests were in low numbers. The last being 6. Cardiologist at CSU did feel that stress contributed to her high numbers in Missouri. So take everything with a grain of salt until you consistently come back with normal numbers for a baseline. And if they are not normal, then you have something to be worried about. SE has an echo scheduled for November. If that is normal, we will only be testing once a year instead of 3 times. And I would drive what ever hours it took to get to a cardiologist not just a practicing vet. They are not knowledgeable in cardiology. Get to someone that is. You won't regret it. I stressed for a year over her results in Missouri. And I love the cardiologist that she has now. One test is not conclusive. You have to get your baseline established.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-14-2019, 12:24 AM
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I am so sorry to hear this. Wishing you and your puppy the best. I have no experience with dcm, but my boy is pdk4 homozygous and dcm2 hetero so we do advanced cardio annually. Always a fear with this breed.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-14-2019, 08:20 AM
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Please see a cardiac specialist before you start any treatments. If one is not near you, perhaps your vet can do a phone consult with one?
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-14-2019, 09:51 PM
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I would also be interested in why/how your puppy was diagnosed with DCM - does he have symptoms of DCM? Is his heart enlarged on an ultrasound? I'm not saying it is impossible, but it would be very rare. The vet cardiologist I use for yearly cardiac ultrasounds does not like doing them on Dobermans under age 2 and even will admit that it is sometimes best to wait till age 3 to start them as you can really get wonky results on young immature dogs.

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-15-2019, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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I paid for genetic testing, because I am suspect that the breeder may have known about this dogs problems. I told them about the dogs health problems. This is not the first. And yet, you can imagine my utter shock when I saw that they aren in the process of breeding the father right now. Will this information help my dog? Absolutely not. Will it help me? Yes. My grief is beyond belief. 2 cardiologists have read and reviewed both the echo and the holier. My beautiful puppy has some serious heart problems. And, the fact that the "breeder" chose to ignore me and breed the dog again is irresponsible.
I got onto this group, because I saw a post from 2 years ago from a guest singing the praises of this breeder. She has one of their puppies, that she is planning to breed.
I have learned enough about this disease in the past week, to know that one should move slowly before making decisions to continue this line. This is not a Craigs List dog. This is a supposed reputable AKC registered breeder, who ignored me when I tried to tell them about what was going on with my dogs health.
My tears have turned to anger.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-15-2019, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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It was found by accident, because he ate my underwear, and spent the night at the Vet. They kept doing x rays to see why he was vomiting. That is when the Vet saw his enlarged heart, and heard the murmur. She sent me form an echo.
The murmur, by the way, has nothing to do with the results of the echo. That is in addition to this. The results are technical, I can provide them, if anyone is interested. My Vet sent everything to a cardiologist at the Vet school. In the mean time, I luckely found a wonderful Vet here who had purchased a holiter monitor. I took my dog there, and had a 24 hour monitor done. Again, I have the results, that I am happy to share. She has consulted a different cardiologist. All agree on this diagnosis.
We have begun meditating my dog. We will rerun the tests in 3 months to see if the medication is helping.
This poor dog has had one health problem after another. Vet #2 that did the holiter said that this has been going on for a long time.
I am totally devastated, and cannot believe that they are willfully breeding the father again without testing.
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-15-2019, 09:13 PM
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I was also wondering how your puppy was diagnosed. Also would you mind sharing the pedigree with me? You can send it via PM if you want but I keep a spreadsheet of DCM diagnosed dogs and I've learned a lot from it and others have found it useful as well.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 06:44 AM
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Firstly... I am so sorry that you have to go through this terrible disease. It is a pox on our breed that leaves many grieving.
Medication can extend their lives by a lot, or by little, every dog and case is different. A lot of it will depend on the age of the dog and stage of the disease at first diagnosis and when first put on medication. There is no hardline answer. However there can be some hope.

Genetic testing for DCM is not predictive as others have stated but can be important for research purposes. If your dog is participating in any project tracking it (Such as the Doberman Diversity Project) it would be important to update the organisers. If not, it could also be worth it to signal it to NCSU who came up with the tests for PDK4/DCM1 and DCM2. I agree with G_R it would help to also state the dog's pedigree.

There are also support groups on facebook for those who have dobes diganosed with DCM, sharing tips and tricks to help with the management of the disease. Also there are regularly people selling discounted meds once their dogs have passed on, to make it more accessible to other owners.
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 09:38 AM
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I would like to see the technical information and I'd also like to see the results of the Holter.

I'd also like to know what medication they have started your dog on.

Do you know if any other puppies from your dog's litter have cardio issues at this age?

Thanks for the additional information.

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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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It was found by accident. He is symptom free. He ate my underwear. He was vomiting profusely, and we has no idea why. He spent the night at the Vets office. They did multiple x rays to follow what ever they felt that he had injected down his digestive tract. That is when they saw the enlarged heart, and heard a heard murmur (which by the way has nothing do do with the DCM). He was sent to a specialist for an echo. The news was devastating. My Vet has been in consultation with a cardiologist.
In the mean time, I found a Vet here in the Memphis area that owns a holier monitor. I took Marcus to her, and she did a 24 hour monitor. The results were not great. She consulted with another cardiologist. So 2 different cardiologists have seen the studies on Marcus.
The plan at this point, is to medicate him, and re do the tests in 3 to 6 months. I probably will go to a cardiologist, but the closest one is about a 4 hour drive from here.
Right now, I am still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. He is a beautiful happy boy.
If I sit back and look at things unemotionally, I see that he does tire easily.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvMarcus123 View Post
I paid for genetic testing, because I am suspect that the breeder may have known about this dogs problems. I told them about the dogs health problems. This is not the first. And yet, you can imagine my utter shock when I saw that they aren in the process of breeding the father right now. Will this information help my dog? Absolutely not. Will it help me? Yes. My grief is beyond belief. 2 cardiologists have read and reviewed both the echo and the holier. My beautiful puppy has some serious heart problems. And, the fact that the "breeder" chose to ignore me and breed the dog again is irresponsible.
I got onto this group, because I saw a post from 2 years ago from a guest singing the praises of this breeder. She has one of their puppies, that she is planning to breed.
I have learned enough about this disease in the past week, to know that one should move slowly before making decisions to continue this line. This is not a Craigs List dog. This is a supposed reputable AKC registered breeder, who ignored me when I tried to tell them about what was going on with my dogs health.
My tears have turned to anger.
I'm very sorry you are dealing with this. I hope that with medication and the care of a cardiologist you are able to get some quality time with your dog.

As others have said, genetic testing (as in, testing for the two genes identified so far as implicated in DCM) are not definitive in terms of being predictive of DCM. Dogs can test negative for the genetic markers and still develop DCM, or test positive for one or both genetic markers and never develop the disease. At best, the genetic testing at this point is worthwhile for further research, and I'm glad you are helping further that.

The best that breeders can do right now is to study pedigrees for patterns, cause of death, and longevity, and good breeders are doing that. Even so, DCM is in all pedigrees, and can pop up anywhere. A good, ethical breeder will tell you that, will let you know that they've done their best, but that they can't make promises, and will support you should your dog develop this disease.

All of that said, I want to add that a breeder that is "AKC registered" is not a guarantee of quality. The AKC is simply a registry that guarantees a dog is purebred. You'll see dogs of all kinds of quality there. I'm not trying to scold or to put you down, especially in a time when you're dealing with such a terrible situation, but in the interest of education, and especially because there are often those reading along who haven't registered or posted, simply having a breeder be AKC registered really tells you nothing about the quality of the breeder. I'm sorry you've learned this the hard way - many of us have been in your shoes, whether it be health issues, or temperament.

My thoughts are with you, and I hope you'll share both more information with us on the details of the holter/echo info (you have a lot of VERY experienced breed people here who can be a great resource for you), as well as I hope you share the breeder information, too, because someone may end up seeing this before they buy a puppy. You could save someone from making the same mistake you did.


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Richter & Sypha
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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All of the other puppies died. I stupidly bought the breeders story that the other puppies got stuck in the birth canal and the mother had an emergency surgery blah blah blah
We felt confident with this breeder. He is an ex Marine. My husband is an ex Marine. So much for God Honor and Country. They are breeding the father again, even after I told them about Marcus. I wrote and poured my heart out about my puppy. I did not hear one word. Crickets.
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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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I will be happy to send it to you. Someone on another Doberman board listed several line names that she said were notorious DCM carriers. Those names appear in my dogs line. That may or may not mean anything.
Can I do it through this site, or someplace else?
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvMarcus123 View Post
I will be happy to send it to you. Someone on another Doberman board listed several line names that she said were notorious DCM carriers. Those names appear in my dogs line. That may or may not mean anything.
Can I do it through this site, or someplace else?
Yes you can message on here or email me [email protected]
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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 11:39 AM
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I'm sorry you've had such devastating news about your pup. Given your pup's age and the fact that the rest of his litter died (in utero or shortly after birth?), I'm almost wondering if the problem is not the classic DCM picture that dobes present, but another kind of heart defect. But no matter. Apparently his symptoms and test results are the same.

A heart condition like DCM is a terrible thing to have to deal with, and too many dobe owners have to at some point. Medication can help, sometimes quite a lot. But it's still tough. I'm sorry.
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Last edited by melbrod; 09-17-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvMarcus123 View Post
I will be happy to send it to you. Someone on another Doberman board listed several line names that she said were notorious DCM carriers. Those names appear in my dogs line. That may or may not mean anything.
Can I do it through this site, or someplace else?
Just be wary of some of the Doberman FB groups. There are varying levels of knowledge in them, and some are helpful, some less so. It can be hard to discern who you are getting advice or information from sometimes (and I realize the same can be said here on DT, but sometimes it's easier or more likely for people to provide their "credentials" here, for some reason).
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DSC_0133
by Shanoa Delta, on Flickr

Richter & Sypha
Glengate's Mountain Fortress CAA ORT L1V NW1 L1I L1E L1C NW2 L2V L2I ACT1 RATI SOG WAC
& Sirai's Golden Masquerade ORT NW1 L1C L1V L1E L1I NW2 RATI SOG WAC
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What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
― Jane Goodall

Last edited by MeadowCat; 09-16-2019 at 04:23 PM.
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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 04:21 PM
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You can e-mail me at [email protected], or privately on this forum but in the name of further education for the newer owners it would be nice if you actually posted it in this thread.

I read the fact that the whole litter died except for your boy and kind of am inclined to go along with Melbrod--maybe this is not a typical DCM but rather a different type of cardio. But it's true a lot of them look alike on echos and Holters.

dobebug

PS It's possible to lose an entire litter or most of a litter if one puppy gets "stuck" and they don't get the bitch to a vet fast enough for an emergency Caesarian and emergency care for the puppies whose birth was delayed.

But that's just for general information--it doesn't make you feel any better about the fact that you've got a very young dog who has been diagnosed with the plague or the Doberman breed, DCM.

dobebug
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post #21 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
Just be wary of some of the Doberman FB groups. There are varying levels of knowledge in them, and some are helpful, some less so. It can be hard to discern who you are getting advice or information from sometimes (and I realize the same can be said here on DT, but sometimes it's easier or more likely for people to provide their "credentials" here, for some reason).
You are too right!!! I had to leave a DCM group because it was full of a bunch of crazies that all drank the same juice.
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post #22 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 05:43 PM
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I'd be interested in knowing who your breeder is and what the parents registered names are. I'm very sorry this is happening to you and your puppy. Sometimes it is just a freak thing - but it sure would be good to be able to do some health research. For sure as the breeder, I'd want to test my dogs before even thinking about breeding them again.

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post #23 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I agree. But, this is new. So, I am still gathering information. I will listen to my Vets and the Cardiologists.
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post #24 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-16-2019, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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I went to a new Cardiologist with my husband today. He has conjestive heart failure. The doctor actually said that he has DCM!!! OMG. I cannot stand the irony. At least, I knew exactly what he was talking about.
But, with my husband, if the new medications don't work, they will look at putting in a pace maker.
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post #25 of 45 (permalink) Unread 09-17-2019, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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The breeder is Olivette Doberman in Savannah Tennessee. I have been reluctant to put their name out on any kind of social media, until I get the genetic testing back. It may not tell me anything. But, who knows???
For anyone who knows, some one on another board gave me the names of Doberman lines that are known to have DCM. I found 2 of those names in Marcus pedigree line. Is this meaningful?
When I first got the news, I contacted them, and told them what was going on. I told them that I had paid for the testing.
I told them that I was devastated, that I was in love with the dog, and that he was costing thousands of dollars in medical bills.
The only thing that I asked them for, was another dog from another blood line.
I would have been happy.
I got crickets. No response. Not even, I am so sorry.
Then, I find out that they are breeding his father again.
So, now I am mad.
They should have apologized and offered me a puppy.

They gave us Marcus when he was 6 weeks old. It is illegal to sell a puppy in the state of Tennessee before 8 weeks. Again...stupid me. They had taken him away from his mother and bottle fed him. She was spayed and stopped producing milk. She was "hurting" him by licking him to hard, as he was the only one. He stopped drinking from the bottle himself and ate food on his own at 3 weeks. again blah blah blah

Will I go after them now? You be that I will.
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