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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Has he had an echo already?
No.

Maddox’s NT-pro BNP test came back normal. Now just need to research and confirm if this is good enough for screening or holter/echo still need done. I know in the past there was skepticism about the NT-pro BNP test, but not sure that is the consensus now.
 

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My cardiologist recommends yearly echo/holter and doesn't think the NT-pro BNP is nearly enough information to screen for DCM.
 

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My cardiologist recommends yearly echo/holter and doesn't think the NT-pro BNP is nearly enough information to screen for DCM.
My Cardiologist says the same. A different Cardiologist I had for Indy told me that it’s a better test for cats than dogs. I always echo and holter every year once they turn two.
 

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When the NT pro BNP test first started being talked about my cardiologist said "check it but it isn't accurate enough to take the place of echo's and Holters"--I don't think that's ever changed. And when I was thinking about doing one for the first time one of the techs told me to do it with the full blood panel I was doing yearly anyway--she told me the price of the BNP as a stand alone test and as an add on to the senior panel I had done yearly. Wow--huge difference!

The cardiologist I use now says pretty much the same thing that my previous cardiologist said--not accurate enough to take the place of either the echo or Holter. So about every other year I do the yearly senior blood panel and as an add on the NT pro BNP.

Someone else will have to tell you exactly what it's supposed to show--it's been years since I actually read up on it but basically it looks for an enzyme that show up if there are cardiac issues (as I recall--do not quote me on that though).

dobebug
 

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Straight from an info page, but translated into ordinary speech:

BNP = B-type natriuretic peptide
NT-proBNP = N-terminal (NT)-pro hormone BNP

BNP is a hormone that is released in response to changes of pressure inside the heart, which can be related to heart failure and other cardiac problems. ProBNP is an inactive precursor of that hormone (your body converts it to BNP as needed.) Both will go up if heart failure develops or gets worse, and the levels go down if the heart failure is stabilized. BNP and NT-proBNP levels are higher in patients with heart failure than people who have normal heart function.

These results help to determine if you have heart failure, whether any fatigue or shortness of breath is due to heart failure or to something else, and if the heart failure has progressed toward total heart failure.

Translated from another source :

BNP is one of a family of protein hormones which help regulate the circulation. They cause blood vessels to widen, the kidneys to get rid of more salt and water, and reduce the production of hormones that narrow blood vessels, cause the heart rate to increase and affect fluid retention, like adrenaline, angiotensin and aldosterone.


Also, verbatim:

"When the left ventricle of the heart is having difficulty pumping sufficient amounts of blood to the body, the concentrations of NTproBNP produced can increase markedly. This may occur with many diseases that affect the heart and circulatory system. The increase in circulating NT-proBNP will reflect this diminished capacity to deliver oxygenated blood to the body."
 

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Thanks Melbrod for the great summary in layman's terms. I did a little more research on PubMed and BNP is a very promising blood marker but general census is that this should be used in conjunction with echo.
This review from 2017 has some great info: N-terminal-pro brain natriuretic peptides in dogs and cats: A technical and clinical review Looks like sample collection is critical and could lead to false negatives. Also note that the accepted criteria for elevated risk in dogs is 900 pmol/L but for Doberman is 735 pmol/L. Some of the commercial test kits only list the 900, but the IDEXX kit does note the lower threshold for Dobermans: https://www.idexx.com/files/cardiopet-interpretive-criteria-canine.pdf .
@lestat1978 - did your vet provide the actual values from the test?
 

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Our veterinarian cardiologists have said the same as eegreen's... this is more helpful in cats than dogs. We focus on the annual echos and holters beginning at age 2 here, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My cardiologist also agrees that NT-pro BNP is helpful, but not sufficient as some mildly affected animals will still have normal lab values. Echos and Holters are still preferred to determine if disease is present, the severity, and if medical therapy is warranted.
 
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