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I want to preface the following comment by saying my heart breaks for anyone who is dealing with this horrible disease. DCM is the scourge of our wonderful breed. I hope that medication works for Ripley and she leads a long and healthy life.

However, I want everyone reading this thread to take it as a cautionary tale and get your dogs tested early and consistently for DCM. First echo and holter at 18 months and yearly thereafter unless more frequently is indicated.

PLEASE, if you are going to own our incredible breed you must be proactive about health testing even if you never breed your dog. Breeders and owners of related dogs want to know this information. Testing won't prevent DCM but early detection and medical management by a Cardiologist familiar with our breed can extend life by months and sometimes years. Do your part, test your Dobes! Thank you.
First of all, I don’t know of a single vet cardiologist that would recommend starting heart testing at 18 months of age. The cardiologist I’ve been going to for about 15 years prefers that they be at least 2, and likes them to be closer to 3. You can get weird results from young immature dogs.
I will also say that I was well aware that Laura had had echos done on Ripley in the past, as she told me. Being that both her sire and dam died of cardio, she knew it was important. It is not always so easy to get access to a holter, and at least an EKG is done during a cardiac ultrasound. As the breeder of Ripley’s sire, Maverick, I was happy to keep in touch with Laura since the beginning. It was from Laura that I found out that Ripley’s dam, Gigi, had died of cardio young.
 

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Boy--you pegged that Mary Jo--my first clue about when to start doing echos and Holters came from a woman who was on a Dobe list with me (and I think maybe with you too) She was a physician--a specialist in infant (and even fetal) cardio issues. So she had a singleton puppy from her Champion bitch and Holtered him young (I don't remember exactly how young but I know it was under a year and the result absolutely freaked her out). Ultimately she took the puppy to a vet cardiologist along with the results from the holter and echo she'd done on him. He laughed a lot--and explained that puppies under two often (almost always in fact) have all kind of stuff that shows up in either the echo or the holter or both that will convince anyone who hasn't actually had training in dog cardiology and ultra sound results that their young dog is at deaths door.

I know three of the five local cardiologist (Portland, Oregon ) well enough to talk to them and two of them have done Mt Hood DPC's twice a year health clinics (echo done by board certified cardiologist--Holter read by them) and the third because he's been to our vet clinic for seminars on specific issues in canine cardiology several times.

All of them recommend not starting echo's and holter until the dog is over two--at minimum. This, of course doesn't apply to situations where the dog has an abnomality (valve issue for instance) or has contracted a disease (there are a few--that affect the heart).

Funny, someone asked me just today if I was taking Joey, the loaner to the December cardio clinic ( it was last weekend) I said no and explained that at 18 months he really wouldn't be going for an echo until at least next summer .

dobebug/ABTLH
 

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Discussion Starter #43
An update. Rip's had loose accidents the last two nights. Vet's taking her off the Benazepril for a week to let her gut recover.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
And now, three nights. Poor pup.
 
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Hope they can get her straightened out so she feels better soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
The cardiologist is who made the decision to stop the one medication, and she's considering putting Ripley on something else after our visit to our regular vet next week

I suspect it's the fact that she was taking 10 pills in a day. She got the last dose of the enalapril this morning, and we're getting yogurt for her gut. I'm hopeful she'll start to settle down in the next day or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Accident free night!
 

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Hopefully you will get the meds and her gut in order soon - I know it is a process. Hugs.
 
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Discussion Starter #50
We had our 2 week checkup with our general vet yesterday, and all looks good. She's back on a lower dose of the benazepril, and I'm talking to a friend later on today about borrowing a holter to avoid having to pay a vet visit for holter usage.

Next cardiologist appt is in July.

Also, I want to say the admin team here is phenomenal at what they do. They know why. Thanks, y'all.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
A needed bright spot. Her bloodwork - particularly kidneys and potassium levels - looked perfect. Waiting on a holter to get here, as it's been delayed thanks to the weather in the area. Once that's done we'll be able to breathe much more easily.
 

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A needed bright spot. Her bloodwork - particularly kidneys and potassium levels - looked perfect. Waiting on a holter to get here, as it's been delayed thanks to the weather in the area. Once that's done we'll be able to breathe much more easily.
So nice that you got some good news for a change. I will do my "good holter report" dance for her!!
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Mean Heart Rate: 68 Total Beats: 98164
Maximum Heart Rate:183 @ 4:39pm1
Tachycardia beats: 411 (>=160 BPM) 0%
Minimum Heart Rate: 40 @ 6:00am2
Bradycardia beats: 9853 (<= 60 BPM) 10%
Pauses: 0 (> 5 sec.)
Longest RR at: 3.894 seconds at 4:23am2

Results were sent to our cardiologist and a voicemail is in.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Cardiologist update.
Overall she's stable. He increased her sotalol to 3/4 of a pill twice a day, as her tachycadia is mostly stable but she had a bad run around 6:30 last night (coinciding with her post-dinner constitutional). He wants us to re-holter in a month to check things.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Bug, I was a ball of nervous energy all day until my husband got that phone call. Couldn't focus on anything.
 

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How is she doing after increasing her dosage?
 
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No obvious change, but we're only a day in. Once she got used to the initial meds, she was back to her normal zany self.
 
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