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 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.
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.