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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We have a 9-1/2 year old male Doberman that spent all of last weekend in the intensive care unit of the local 24 hour emergency clinic. (why does everything bad always happen in the middle of the night)

Anyway, he was in CHF with a dropping blood pressure and he was in A-fib. Although it was touch and go all weekend the two vets did pull him out of it. By Sunday evening the CHF was cleared up, his bloodpressure was normal and the A-fib converted to a sinus rythum.

Monday he saw the cardiologist who after reviewing the 4 ekg's, several eco's and blood work that were done over the weekend as well as doing his own workup confirmed that Eddie's heart was enlarged and he does have DCM.

The cardiologist send him home with more meds that he has ever had in his life as well as a printout from Tufts of a list of low sodium foods we should feed. The local Petco does carry ProPlan Performance whic is on the list so that is what I am giving him at this point until we can locate a local source for one of the others on the list that is even lower in sodium.

After todays follow up visit the cardiologist told us to let him be a dog, keep him happy and let him start to play with the others but don't let it get too out of hand.

Appearently he does not live with 5 high strung dobermanns and three of them are under three years of age and have all the energy in the world.

Since I have read several other posts here about other members with Dobermans that have DCM my questions are:

What low sodium food are you feeding?

What low sodium treats are you giving them?

How much activity and excitement do you allow? Including interaction with other dobermans.


And I am sorry for such a long post.
 

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I am so sorry about the Dx and I hope your boy feels better. Our cardiologist told us we don't need to reduce his activity levels at all; we do agility, hiking, and go to fort funston a lot. He's allowed to play to his hearts content with other dobermans and boxers. But we never push him; everything is on his terms, and we always watch for any symptoms of weakness. He's also at a much earlier stage of DCM than your boy. I hope you can find more useful information from more informed members than I!
 

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So very sorry for this diagnosis. Baron is also in much earlier stage DCM but his cardiologist told us to just let him do whatever he feels comfortable doing. Do not limit him. Let him have fun. Baron, at this moment, is not on a sodium restricted diet so I can't help you there but I am sure someone with more experience will chime in. I see you are in NJ. Who is your cardiologist? We are in Eastern PA but go to Dr. Goodwin at Garden State.
 

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Blade is fed primal raw and some times kibble not very often but rotate on fish Evo and six fish Orijen.
He gets to do what ever excersize he wants. We go hiking playing in snow ext. I do keep a close eye to see if he starts to get to tired or week.
As for treats I give pure meats no salt what so ever.
Oh and he lives at home with a ten mo. Old and a two year old. Who are wild things but they leave him alone.
 
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So sorry for you all. :( I lost my boy Petey on August 14th to DCM. His activity was never restricted, he raised a dobe puppy his last year of life, lots of play time, but he was a young dog, less then 5 when he died. He ate a Raw diet. Hoping you have lots more quality time left.
 

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Lucy was always hungry and we needed to keep the weight of her, we gave her a can of no salt green beans with her meal and she gobbled it up. Best to you and yours getting through this.
 

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We have a 9-1/2 year old male Doberman that spent all of last weekend in the intensive care unit of the local 24 hour emergency clinic. (why does everything bad always happen in the middle of the night)

Anyway, he was in CHF with a dropping blood pressure and he was in A-fib. Although it was touch and go all weekend the two vets did pull him out of it. By Sunday evening the CHF was cleared up, his bloodpressure was normal and the A-fib converted to a sinus rythum.

Monday he saw the cardiologist who after reviewing the 4 ekg's, several eco's and blood work that were done over the weekend as well as doing his own workup confirmed that Eddie's heart was enlarged and he does have DCM.

The cardiologist send him home with more meds that he has ever had in his life as well as a printout from Tufts of a list of low sodium foods we should feed. The local Petco does carry ProPlan Performance whic is on the list so that is what I am giving him at this point until we can locate a local source for one of the others on the list that is even lower in sodium.

After todays follow up visit the cardiologist told us to let him be a dog, keep him happy and let him start to play with the others but don't let it get too out of hand.

Appearently he does not live with 5 high strung dobermanns and three of them are under three years of age and have all the energy in the world.

Since I have read several other posts here about other members with Dobermans that have DCM my questions are:

What low sodium food are you feeding?

What low sodium treats are you giving them?

How much activity and excitement do you allow? Including interaction with other dobermans.


And I am sorry for such a long post.
Like the others, I let DCM dogs choose their own activity level. I'm not going to deny a dog with a terminal disease one single minute of joy. And if they happen to drop dead in midstep while playing, then at least they died doing something they loved..there's value in that. You just can't keep them in a bubble and expect them to have any quality of life. I can guarantee you, a dog with DCM/CHF who doesn't feel good isn't going to be wanting to do any running around!

My cardiologist has never recommended sodium restricted diets, and here's why-it's hard enough to keep a dog with DCM/CHF eating as it is. Anorexia is a HUGE problem with these dogs-many of the drugs can cause loss of appetite and nausea, the progression of the disease itself will make a lot of dogs stop eating. So she feels keeping calories going in trumps every other consideration.

However, I do have a dog with a different disease who's fed a low sodium diet, and I believe it's got a lower sodium content than Pro plan-although it's VERY expensive to feed to a dog as large as a doberman. Check out Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods, they have a very low sodium content.

I'm sorry to hear this news about your boy and i hope you get lots of quality time with him. Treasure every minute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Like the others, I let DCM dogs choose their own activity level. I'm not going to deny a dog with a terminal disease one single minute of joy. And if they happen to drop dead in midstep while playing, then at least they died doing something they loved..there's value in that. You just can't keep them in a bubble and expect them to have any quality of life. I can guarantee you, a dog with DCM/CHF who doesn't feel good isn't going to be wanting to do any running around!

My cardiologist has never recommended sodium restricted diets, and here's why-it's hard enough to keep a dog with DCM/CHF eating as it is. Anorexia is a HUGE problem with these dogs-many of the drugs can cause loss of appetite and nausea, the progression of the disease itself will make a lot of dogs stop eating. So she feels keeping calories going in trumps every other consideration.

!

It is not the DCM that requires the sodium restricted diet or the fact that he was on a restricted activity but rather the CHF that is a result of the A-fib that goes hand and hand with advanced DCM.

We have a young female that has become his companion, they play so rough, even in the house. They rear up and just crash their bodies into what ever is in their way. The first week the vet told us to isolat him because that activity could trigger another CHF attack. However, now we are to ease him back into his normal daily activity. We did go for a walk out back behind the barn, stopped to vist the horses and so on. All that made him a very happy camper. We started to put him back together with the little girl, but she is so happy to be back with him, and he with her, that they start off getting rough right away.

I do subcribe to one week of being normal and happy is better than a whole year of being in a jail like unhappy existance. The vet told us that long term for him is probably this side of 6 months and the next bout of CHF will more than likely be the one that does him in. All that said, I want him to be happy and normal, but I don't want to trigger his demise either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I see you are in NJ. Who is your cardiologist? We are in Eastern PA but go to Dr. Goodwin at Garden State.

The emergency clinic in Fairfield, NJ is a referal service by day and an emergency clinic after 6PM and weekends. Dr. Paddle is the cardiologist in that referal clinic so we used him for now. So far we are satisfied with him so we are considering staying with him because if we do have to rush Eddie back to the emergency room his cardiac records will all be there and available for the emergency vet to access.
 

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I have not had to deal with DCM but I just wanted to say how sorry I am for the diagnosis.
 
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Sea Hag
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It is not the DCM that requires the sodium restricted diet or the fact that he was on a restricted activity but rather the CHF that is a result of the A-fib that goes hand and hand with advanced DCM.
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Yes, I realize that. The advice I was given is still the same, and having lived through trying to get more than one dog with advanced chf to eat and seeing how futile it can be a lot of the time, I think she's 100% right about that.

While I wouldn't go out of my way to feed a dog with chf food that's known to be extra salty-processed meats, sausages, etc.-I also think it's more important to get the dog to eat than to worry about a sodium restricted diet. But every cardiologist will have a different opinion about this (and many other things). It's really important for everyone to find a cardiologist whose philosophy is something you feel good about, that you can live with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I realize that. While I wouldn't go out of my way to feed a dog with chf food that's known to be extra salty-processed meats, sausages, etc.-I also think it's more important to get the dog to eat than to worry about a sodium restricted diet. But every cardiologist will have a different opinion about this (and many other things). It's really important for everyone to find a cardiologist whose philosophy is something you feel good about, that you can live with.

I totally agree that getting them to eat is the lesser of the evils. At this time he is eating the low sodium food. If and when the time comes that he stops eating it we will deal with that at that time. Having seveal other dobes since the 1970's most of which lived to be 12 or 13 we had other senior issues to deal with. This is a learning issue for us so guess we will have to take it one day at a time and deal with what ever devil pops it's head up that day.


As far as choosing a cardiologist, we are with him because he is there in the same building as the emergency clinic. So far he hasn't said or did anything that would make us want to look elsewhere and he does appear to be thorough; therefore we are choosing to stay with him because if we have to rush Eddie to the emergency room again in the middle of the night or weekend the ER staff will have access to all his cardiac records as they use the same computer system. Again, one day and one decission at a time for now.

Thank you all for your input and comments. if we agree with everyone or not you have all given us additional options to think about.
 

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I can only add.....ENJOY EACH AND EVERY MOMENT. I have such precious last memories of my sweet Pete, I stopped sweating the small stuff and made each day he had left one of compete quality. He ate the best foods, including lots of treats, played with his little bro and hiked most days. We took him on two vacations his last month of life. He was loved with out measure. I wish you guys the same.
 

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As far as choosing a cardiologist, we are with him because he is there in the same building as the emergency clinic. .
There's a lot of value in that, to be sure. I've had to make a frantic trip to the cardiologist's office in the middle of the night with a dog who was trying to die on me. It would be even more scary than it already is if the records for that dog weren't available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There's a lot of value in that, to be sure. I've had to make a frantic trip to the cardiologist's office in the middle of the night with a dog who was trying to die on me. It would be even more scary than it already is if the records for that dog weren't available.


I hear ya!

We don't know one cardiologist from the next in our area, who is better than who or anything else about them.

The ER vets would not discharge Eddie without the inhouse specialist looking him over first. As I said earlier, so far this man has been thorough. With us taking it one decission at a time our first decission is to stay with him because we will more than likely be running back to the ER with Eddie in full blown CHF again before this is over and for the ER staff to have full access to his cardiac records is something we thought would be just one more thing in his favor with the next bout.

Crazy as it sounds, it is what it is and for now that is how we decided on a cardiologist.
 

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I know multiple cardiologists in this area and some are definitely better than others.

I personally use Dr. Goodwin at Garden State Veterinary Specialists - on my recommendation, multiple other board members are also using him. My technicians also take their pets there.

He's an amazing physician and I trust him inherently with my dogs lives - and he understands how I feel about them. He calls me on his days off, on vacation, he is available to us nonstop.

Rah has no restrictions- he showed to his UD with DCM, competed at tournaments and nationals. His current (partial?) retirement is not heart related, but he has some injury to his elbow that prevents him from doing certain things. He is allowed to wrestle and do whatever he wants with the dogs.

I think it takes awhile to get to the point where you'd rather lose your dog having him do something he loves, than live another day in a bubble. In the beginning I admit I'm afraid, no running on hot days, limited ball playing, etc - at the start you're just too worried. But then every day you let up a little more - my dogs cannot and will not live in bubbles. Rah does pretty much anything any of the other dogs do, and happily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think it takes awhile to get to the point where you'd rather lose your dog having him do something he loves, than live another day in a bubble. In the beginning I admit I'm afraid, no running on hot days, limited ball playing, etc - at the start you're just too worried. But then every day you let up a little more - my dogs cannot and will not live in bubbles. Rah does pretty much anything any of the other dogs do, and happily.


I hear ya Kim!

We were told to keep him a little quiet the first week after his CHF attack. After that we were told to let him be a dog, dont' push him and he will know when to slow down. Like you said it took a bit to trust that. The words are easy, doing it is quite another. Especially after loosing our female Bunnie a couple of days before Christmas with sudden cardiac death (No DCM) and so quickly thereafter we found ourselves a bit over protective.

You knew Bunnie from up at Top Dog. You have also seen Eddie (a red male) at Walter's "Dober Picnic", you were his brothers Tori's vet.

We decided over the past day or two to let him do what ever he feels he can handle, to trust he will know when he has to slow down, and if not let him live his last days having fun and not in a prison made out of our fear of loosing him.

Thank you for the names, we will look into them.


Mike
 

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I'm so sorry that you lost your female Bunnie just before Xmas....how doubly heartbreaking for all of you. Sending out a cyber hug. ox
 
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