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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

Wife took Aries to the vet yesterday to get his CT scan on our chances they can remove the cancer from his month. The results of the CT scan showed that they could remove it all but they notice something with his heart.

They ran more tests and found he appears to have the early stages of cardiomyopathy. Doctor said we should start seeing symptoms of this in about 1 to 2 years.

Has anyone had this condition in their dogs before? I need help
 

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Im sorry to hear of the problems your boy is having :( Wishing you all the best.

There are lots of members here who have unfortunately had dogs diagnosed with DCM, im sure they'll be able to offer you more advice.
 

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Sea Hag
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DCM is all too common in this breed, and lots of people on this board have lost dogs to this disease. :(

It's a progessive disease that's ALWAYS fatal. All you can do is try to delay the symptoms of the disease as long as possible. Death can come in two forms-sudden death, where the dog just drops dead due to cardiac arrythmias. The other form is the dog eventually succombs to congestive heart failure.

Right now your dog is in what's called the occult (hidden) phase of the disease, where there are no obvious symptoms. That does usually last about 1-2 years. Drugs like enalapril can slow the progression down, so treatment should be started before the dog does show any symptoms.

I see you're in Santa Monica. You really need to consult with a cardiologist at some time..this disease is too complex for the average vet to deal with. There are two very excellent cardiologists right in your area. Dr. Lesser in Lawndale, and Dr. Barrett (who I use) at California Animal Hospital-Los Angles address, the building is at the corner of Sepulveda and Santa Monica.
 

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DCM is all too common in this breed, and lots of people on this board have lost dogs to this disease. :(

It's a progessive disease that's ALWAYS fatal. All you can do is try to delay the symptoms of the disease as long as possible. Death can come in two forms-sudden death, where the dog just drops dead due to cardiac arrythmias. The other form is the dog eventually succombs to congestive heart failure.

Right now your dog is in what's called the occult (hidden) phase of the disease, where there are no obvious symptoms. That does usually last about 1-2 years. Drugs like enalapril can slow the progression down, so treatment should be started before the dog does show any symptoms.

I see you're in Santa Monica. You really need to consult with a cardiologist at some time..this disease is too complex for the average vet to deal with. There are two very excellent cardiologists right in your area. Dr. Lesser in Lawndale, and Dr. Barrett (who I use) at California Animal Hospital-Los Angles address, the building is at the corner of Sepulveda and Santa Monica.
Murreydobe: We saw Dr. Arndt in cardiology at City of Angels. He did three scans at different angles and has noticed Aries has lost 3% of the function on his heart. I know their are pills he can take to help slow this down. After the test I am not sure what else I can do, but enjoy the time we have now and wait until his quality of life starts to go before we decided to put him down.
 

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This cancer is slow growing and I am not sure putting him through surgery is worth it to him. I wouldn't be gaining him anymore time. What my wife and I are thinking is that if we do the surgery Aries would be spending more of his time recovering from that then enjoying life. DCM just sounds like a losing battle that we can not win.
 

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OP...
Sorry to hear of your guy's health problems. Unfortunately about half of all dobermans come down with DCM. There are several threads on DT dealing with this disease.

Again, I am truly sorry.
 

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joie de vivre
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Very sorry to hear you've received more upsetting news. I hope your family and Aries has many happy days left together.
 
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Sea Hag
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I know their are pills he can take to help slow this down. After the test I am not sure what else I can do, but enjoy the time we have now and wait until his quality of life starts to go before we decided to put him down.
There *is* a research project going on at UCDavis, using stem cells to treat DCM. So far, it looks pretty promising. I'd be on this like white on rice if one of my dogs was diagnosed. I don't know if they're taking dogs in the occult stage, but it might be worth looking into.

Other than that, all you can do is try to slow it down and treasure every good day. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this, and wish you luck.

I don't know if I'd do surgery on a DCM dog, it could exacerbate the progression of the disease.
 

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nutsaboutmydobes
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Sadly DCM is all too common in this breed, I lost my 7 year old boy just last week to it. When we got our diagnosis Homer was already in congestive heart failure(CHF). It sounds like your dobe is in the occult stages of the disease so I can't really advise you about that part of it. I'm sure there will be other members here with occult DCM dogs who can. Have you had an appt with a cardiologist yet? They may want to put a holter monitor on Aries which he will wear for 24 hrs. This records your dogs heartbeat & will tell them if the heart is beating abnormally fast, it will also show up any abnormal rhythms which indicates that the dog is at risk of sudden death. For reference, when Homer was holtered he had 161,280 heartbeats over 24 hrs averaging 112bpm. It picked up 18300 abnormal beats putting him at risk of sudden death. There are people here far more knowledgeable about Holtering than me & they should be able to give you more info.
I can only tell you about the latter stages of the disease & what it's like when a dog goes into CHF. They start to become less tolerant of exercise & tire more easily. They start to cough due to the fluid building up in their lungs. They become restless & can't get comfortable due to the fluid. My boy couldn't lay on his side on his bad days & could only get comfy when he laid like a Sphinx. Their gums & lips start to go pale & they lose their appetite as well. Medication like Vetmedin(for the heart) & frusemide/lasix(diuretics) can help with the symptoms of CHF, but only for so long. My boy succumbed to CHF only 3 months after diagnosis but there are dogs that last longer than this & some won't make it that far, each dog is different.
DCM/CHF is a hideous disease but you will get good days & bad days. My Homer was doing great for about 2 months, the diuretics kept his cough at bay & he bounced about like there was nothing wrong with him. In the last month he started coughing again & despite upping various meds 2 or 3 times ultimately it didn't work & at that point we let him go.
I'm sorry to paint such a bleak picture for you but I don't believe sugar coating the truth helps. As painful as it is, it is better to arm yourself with as much info as possible. I'm so sorry you & your wife are faced with this on top of cancer. Life can be very cruel sometimes. Just love your dobe & enjoy every moment you can with him.

Big hugs to you & your wife & Aries too.
 

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I am going through this right now with Tyson...good days and bad days...I am hoping he will go suddenly as that would be the best thing than to slowly deteriorate. If it becomes too bad - I will let him go - that is what I would want for myself if I had an incurable disease. So sorry for all of us that are in this situation or have been there. So sorry...
 

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Murreydobe: We saw Dr. Arndt in cardiology at City of Angels. He did three scans at different angles and has noticed Aries has lost 3% of the function on his heart. I know their are pills he can take to help slow this down. After the test I am not sure what else I can do, but enjoy the time we have now and wait until his quality of life starts to go before we decided to put him down.
When you say that he's lost 3%, does that mean that he has previously had his shortening fraction measured, and that it is 3% less now than it was? If so, in what period of time has this happened? What is his shortening fraction, now? Is it less than 25%?
 

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When you say that he's lost 3%, does that mean that he has previously had his shortening fraction measured, and that it is 3% less now than it was? If so, in what period of time has this happened? What is his shortening fraction, now? Is it less than 25%?
The shorten fraction is what the normal would be. Since this was just noticed yesterday and they did tests yesterday
 

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The shorten fraction is what the normal would be. Since this was just noticed yesterday and they did tests yesterday
Normal is pretty subjective. My dog NEVER tested all that well... his initial baseline testing when he was about two years old showed a shortening fraction of (I think) 28%. 25 - 30% is usually considered "gray area" and less than 25% is usually taken as evidence of DCM. It is changes to heart function which are most significant, and it sounds like there is nothing with which to compare his results from yesterday. With just one cardio evaluation, it is hard to say what is happening how fast.

I think that if it was my dog, I would be asking the hard questions of the surgeon about recovery time and prognosis. I know you don't want him to lose part of his jaw, but that would (quite frankly) be the very least of my concerns. Recovery from surgery is liable to take weeks. He could have significant time (years, depending) left with his heart. If you don't address the cancer, it could very well be the cancer which ends up taking him.

Not sure what my two cents are worth in this economy, but there it is...
 

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So sorry to hear about your dog, I have lost 5 dobes to DCM, and it never gets any easier,one just dropped dead on me, at 5 years of age, the other ones were between 5 -6 years, it's such a terrible thing to go through, knowing that your time with them is so limited.
This is the first year, we have not had a Doberman, I just cannot go through that again, and I cannot bring myself to get another, as much as I love the breed, my prayers are with you
 

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Sea Hag
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Normal is pretty subjective. My dog NEVER tested all that well... his initial baseline testing when he was about two years old showed a shortening fraction of (I think) 28%. 25 - 30% is usually considered "gray area" and less than 25% is usually taken as evidence of DCM. It is changes to heart function which are most significant, and it sounds like there is nothing with which to compare his results from yesterday. With just one cardio evaluation, it is hard to say what is happening how fast.

QUOTE]

Just wanted to add that I had a dog hospitalized at one point, told she wasn't likely to live through the night, in congestive heart failure. Her fractional shortening? NORMAL!!!

FS is only one part of the puzzle. My understanding is LVID (the dimension of the left venticle) is usually the first and most important indication of DCM. But most cardiologists look at the whole picture, rather than just one area.
 

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GOT's Kal-Drogo The Horseman (Drogo),TKI,TKN, CGC, 7 years; RIP Baron, Miley, Dax, Lonesome, Baron 1
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I am so very, very sorry to read this. Everytime I read another one has DCM, it breaks my heart and makes me so angry that another Dobe and their family have to deal with this horrible disease that is a plague to his breed. My Baron is in early stage DCM: http://www.dobermantalk.com/doberman-health/53082-baron-has-dcm.html

The above is his thread. Please feel free to PM anytime if you need to vent.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
After a long weekend. My wife and I thought it over and we are not going to do the surgery to remove the cancer after learning that Aries has the very early stages of DCM. The cancer is a very slow moving and hasn't advanced since we had the mass removed from his mouth.

Our thoughts were that we would not be adding anymore years to his life by going through the surgery to remove the cancer. It would be a losing battle. We are going to enjoy him until he tells us it's time. Its hard for me to write this. I try to remember that Aries doesn't know he is sick.

Hope this community doesn't think our decision is bad choice. We want Aries to have the best quality life that he can have. We feel that since DCM is probably going to take him that we don't want him spending a majority of the time recovering from surgery.

This is a very hard decision.
 

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Dcm

I am so sorry for the diagnosis; you are not alone in living with this. It has taken over my life for the past year . . . my 6 year old Daisy was diagnosed in June 2011, went into heart failure in October and she is still happy living life.

We have been very lucky to have very few bad days. She is still perky and "up", but I do sense the tide is turning. Like you said, they don't know they are sick, so keep loving and living. We never restricted her from anything.

I still wake up several times a night to watch her breathe :(:(

Hugs to you and Aries, I think you are making the right decision.
 

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Sea Hag
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After a long weekend. My wife and I thought it over and we are not going to do the surgery to remove the cancer after learning that Aries has the very early stages of DCM. The cancer is a very slow moving and hasn't advanced since we had the mass removed from his mouth.

Our thoughts were that we would not be adding anymore years to his life by going through the surgery to remove the cancer. It would be a losing battle. We are going to enjoy him until he tells us it's time. Its hard for me to write this. I try to remember that Aries doesn't know he is sick.

Hope this community doesn't think our decision is bad choice. We want Aries to have the best quality life that he can have. We feel that since DCM is probably going to take him that we don't want him spending a majority of the time recovering from surgery.

This is a very hard decision.
I more than likely would make the very same decision. But regardless, there really isn't a wrong or right decision in situations like this, as long as the dog's quality of life is considered. You've more than filled that criteria.
 
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