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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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medical testing question

Just wondering the best age to check for cardiomyopathy issues. I am assuming they do an echo to look at the heart. Also, if and when do you check for thyroid problems? Lexie has a vet appointment comming up. She has had her first two distempers and will be brought up to date on her shots. Any other tests to be done?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sheezbusy View Post
Just wondering the best age to check for cardiomyopathy issues. I am assuming they do an echo to look at the heart. Also, if and when do you check for thyroid problems? Lexie has a vet appointment comming up. She has had her first two distempers and will be brought up to date on her shots. Any other tests to be done?
Happy Easter!
Lisa
Echoes are done. Also 24 hour holter monitoring, to check for rhythm disturbances, which can be a precursor to DCM and sudden death. There's also a new blood test being touted as a predictor of future heart problems. although it's not widely used yet, and some cardiologists are on the fence about whether it's accurate or useful.

My almost 2 year old bitch will start regular cardiac testing within the next few months. I'll probably do that annually until she's 5 or so. my almost 6 year old male gets echoes done twice a year.

Thyroids should be checked annually after 18 months-2 years of age.

Really, the only definitive test that can be performed on a puppy is the dna test for vWD. Depending on the status of the parents, it might be a good idea to do that..if either parent is known to be vWD clear, then I wouldn't bother if the dog is never going to be used for breeding-a clear dog can never produce an affected puppy. If both parents are carriers, or one carrier and one affected, then I'd do the dna test-it's a good idea to know vWD status.

but that's something you do yourself, with a swab which you obtain from Vetgen, and send back to them for the results. www.vetgen.com . Don't waste your money on the ELISA blood test for vWD your vet performs-there's a high percentage of errors, and an overlap between categories, all of which makes it not reliable to diagnose vWD status.



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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheezbusy View Post
Just wondering the best age to check for cardiomyopathy issues. I am assuming they do an echo to look at the heart. Also, if and when do you check for thyroid problems? Lexie has a vet appointment comming up. She has had her first two distempers and will be brought up to date on her shots. Any other tests to be done?
Happy Easter!
Lisa
I asked the board certified cardiologist I work with the same question. He recommended starting echocardiograms and Holter monitoring at 2 years of age, and then doing it annually thereafter.

Start testing thyroid at 2 years old as well, and then annually thereafter.

Test for vWD/coagulation factor before spay/neuter, no matter what age the dog is at the time.



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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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I planned on getting vWD done. Do you recall the name of the blood test? I know I do a test called BNP on humans which gives an indication of congestive heart failure.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sheezbusy View Post
Do you recall the name of the blood test? I know I do a test called BNP on humans which gives an indication of congestive heart failure.
Lisa
I believe that's what being tested for with dogs-the test is being marketed by a place called Veterinary Diagnostics. http://www.vdxinstitute.com/

Some cardiologists are using it, some tend to think it was rushed to the marketplace too soon.



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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheezbusy View Post
Just wondering the best age to check for cardiomyopathy issues. I am assuming they do an echo to look at the heart. Also, if and when do you check for thyroid problems? Lexie has a vet appointment comming up. She has had her first two distempers and will be brought up to date on her shots. Any other tests to be done?
Happy Easter!
Lisa
Yes, they do an echo and EKG and give you a print out and measurements as well as an interpretation of what the measurements mean. At least my cardiologist does--he sees quite a few Dobes and has actually worked out a somewhat adjusted list of measurements for Dobes echos.

I've started checking my dogs for cardio (echo and extended EKG) sometime between two and three. I do this not necessarily because I'm expecting to find much or because I intend to breed them but just because I want to know what's there and I want a baseline evaluation so I know what's there when they are young.

It's true that Dobes sometimes die at young ages (I know of a puppy who was only about 7 months who died the sudden death type--there was a necropsy done and it was DCM but from arythmias) and I also know that some people are having holters done (much more likely to find evidence of arrythmias there than on a 15 mnute EKG) on very young dogs. I recently rejoined a Dobe club as an associate member so that I can borrow the club owned holter and will be doing holters at a younger age and certainly oftener than I have in the past.

I do a full panel thyroid test (the works--T-4, T-4 by ED, TSH and some other stuff (which escapes me at the moment) at two. I now do these with Antech instead of sending them off to UOM (or Dr Jean Dodds, since she uses Antech as well) because they actually do all of the full panels. Used to be only UOM (or is it MU?) did those. If, I was seeing any sort of evidence that the dog might have an early thyroid problem I'd do the full panel much younger but I've only had one who actually was low (very) thyroid at two--most of them have been much older (7, 9)

If I don't know what the dogs vWD status is by parentage (actually even if I do) I do a gene test with VetGen. And because I'm incredibly curious I also now do a gene test for coat color (which I didn't do on the fawn dog--what you sees is what you gets with him--bbdd).

I usually start looking for a CERF clinic at the first shows I go to--one of the best board certified opthamologists in the area has been doing CERF's at shows in Washington and Oregon for years--it's much less expensive than making an appointment with him at the specialty clinic. So I usually do a CERF between 6 months and a year. I've never had a dog with any sort of eye problems and since I don't breed mine I don't usually retest oftener than once every 2 to 4 years. If I were breeding I'd test yearly for males and before every breeding for bitches.

I do OFA x-rays for both hips and elbows as soon as they are two.

I know I'm forgetting something but I can't think what--so that's what I do and sort of the age ranges that I do the testing.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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From what I know of doing BNP in humans, the problem I would have doing it on dogs is that it would be possible to have early cardiomyopathy without actually having heart failure. So the BNP is not so much a diagnostic tool. If you have a BNP elevation, you are probably showing signs of CHF. The test gives a number which the higher it is the more severe the failure. I think the way to go is the echo and holter.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 10:38 PM
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So I usually do a CERF between 6 months and a year. I've never had a dog with any sort of eye problems and since I don't breed mine I don't usually retest oftener than once every 2 to 4 years. If I were breeding I'd test yearly for males and before every breeding for bitches.
I know the reason Dobebug does a lot of the testing she does on non breeding dogs is to provide data for the person who bred her dogs..and that's a good thing. But especially with eyes, I wouldn't think the average pet owner with a spayed/neutered animal needs to do this-it's not like there's going to be much they can do about it in the event there is an eye issue. And if you own animals from American lines, eye issues are pretty rare.



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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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I did'nt know there was a gene test for coat color...Hmm, I thought you just needed to look back through the pedigree? I'm curious as to what my dogs are. I can never figure it out on my own.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:33 PM
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I did'nt know there was a gene test for coat color...Hmm, I thought you just needed to look back through the pedigree? I'm curious as to what my dogs are. I can never figure it out on my own.
Pedigree research can give you hints at times, but recessives can lurk for an untold number of generations.

The dna test for color is marketed by heathgene www.healthgene.com It's $75, I got the results back via email in about 10 days.



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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:37 PM
 
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Murry thanks for the information. I bookmarked the VetGen site. If there are accuracy problems with the blood tests for vWD, this will be worth doing. Also what is the DNA profile good for aside from the obvious color factors and so on, does it help in identifying hip and elbow problems ect.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama&PapaTeak View Post
Murry thanks for the information. I bookmarked the VetGen site. If there are accuracy problems with the blood tests for vWD, this will be worth doing. Also what is the DNA profile good for aside from the obvious color factors and so on, does it help in identifying hip and elbow problems ect.
There are big time accuracy problems with the ELISA blood test for vWD.

Being honest, the dna profile offered by Vetgen serves no useful purpose that I can think of. In general, dna profiles are used to prove parentage-but the last I knew, the AKC didn't accept Vetgen's test. They only accept dna results from other labs that prove parentage by different sets of markers than the ones Vetgen uses.

What are billed as dna profiles do NOT test for markers for color, btw. And there is no dna test for hip or elbow problems.



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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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Does the AKC and or DPCA accept the vWD results from VetGen?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2007, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
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Does the AKC and or DPCA accept the vWD results from VetGen?
There isn't really any issue about whether the AKC accepts Vetgen results for vWD..it's only an issue when trying to prove parentage with the AKC because they're a registry. They have their own set of approved labs to do their dna testing when parentage is in question-Vetgen isn't one of those labs. The AKC has no interest or voice in where vWD testing is done.

The OFA accepts Vetgen results for vWD for dobermans who want to be part of the CHIC program through their database. The CHIC program requires that dogs take specific health tests, as well as the WAE.



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