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Hi everyone, I apologize, I do not have a Doberman, but last night our sweet girl was unexpectedly diagnosed with DCM and through my internet research, I came across this board and I really hoped to speak with others who have / or are currently going through this.

Zoey is almost 9, she's a lab / rottie mix. Through recent testing to diagnose an unrelated issue, our vet Dr. Barb Royal here in Chicago, noticed that her X-rays showed an enlarged heart. She didn't seem super concerned about it but recommended we see the cardiologist she refers to. Last night we went in expecting something super minor, given that Zoey is still so young and acts like a puppy, instead we were told she has a murmur and occult DCM (meaning she's asymptomatic). It's effecting her left portion of the heart and it's already decently enlarged and detoriating, however she isn't displaying any other signs of concern, or CHF.
Our vet was very informative and educational, he also warned that if we did any research online, we would be horrified because of the poor prognosis. He said he's had patients, Dobermans and non-Dobermans that do very well with pemodenin if this is caught in the occult phase and that they can still live for years.

But I broke the rules and went online to do research anyway, because I want to completely understand this disease, and I am of course devastated at the general prognosis. I've read a lot of posts here about Dobermans and their owners experiencing this and I'm heartbroken.

I guess I'm looking for someone who's experienced a similar situation. Maybe it's a Doberman, maybe it's a mixed breed like mine? Has anyone got a diagnosis in the occult phase, if so, how has it been for you and your fur baby? Is there any advice or extra things we should look out for or any additional medical intervention we should explore?

I'd appreciate anyones thoughts, thank you so much.
 

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First, I'm so sorry for your guys! It really is crummy news, though your vet is absolutely correct -- dogs with DCM can live for years, provided it's well-controlled. We lost our female doberman in June, 15 months after her diagnosis, but she died from tacchychardia, not her DCM. Our cardiologist did an EKG at 12 months, and her heart looked exactly the same as it had when she was diagnosed the year before. We gave her vetmedin, which is a chewable version of pemobendin, and she did great on it. Pemobendin is a million times cheaper, so I'd stick with it.

Bottom line: That's crummy news, especially so close to the holidays, but you can easily have many more years with your dog. Keep up with her meds and her vet checks and just focus on the happy girl you have. There will be plenty of time to be sad down the road, which would unfortunately be true even if she never had DCM.
 

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My senior Doberman was diagnosed with occult DCM and did well on vetmedin (and other heart meds, she also had an arrhythmia) for 2 years before passing from cancer. I think her heart would have been fine for much longer if she didn't get cancer, and she was competing in barn hunt and running and playing with our other dog until about 2 weeks before she passed.
 

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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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Hi and welcome to the forum and so sorry you found DT under these circumstances. My Baron was diagnosed with early stage DCM at 4.5 years old and he just turned 10 last week. He had only been on Sotalol, fish oil, and CoQ10 until 2015 when the disease started showing signs of progression and he was put on Pimobendan and Mexiletine also. Early diagnosis and meds are helping extend the life of DCM dogs. Not sure how it affects non-Dobe dogs though. This is Baron's DCM thread: http://www.dobermantalk.com/doberman-health/53082-baron-has-dcm.html
 

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I am so grateful for your responses. I really feel like we're not alone now and I have much more hope hearing your stories and hearing that these treatment plans can be successful. I stayed home from work today and we took a trip to the dog beach and I definitely realized how important it is to be happy with her now.

Zoey has a great raw food diet, natural supplements for overall immune health, bone and joint, skin, etc.! We have an appointment with our regular vet on Saturday to get additional supplements to get more Carnitine and Taurine in her diet. We were asked to do a 6-month check up with the cardio - I may bump that up sooner...kinda feels like a long way away for monitoring something like this?

I will definitely follow along with Baron's story, thank you for sharing.

Thank you so much everyone.
 

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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 grateful for your responses. I really feel like we're not alone now and I have much more hope hearing your stories and hearing that these treatment plans can be successful. I stayed home from work today and we took a trip to the dog beach and I definitely realized how important it is to be happy with her now.

Zoey has a great raw food diet, natural supplements for overall immune health, bone and joint, skin, etc.! We have an appointment with our regular vet on Saturday to get additional supplements to get more Carnitine and Taurine in her diet. We were asked to do a 6-month check up with the cardio - I may bump that up sooner...kinda feels like a long way away for monitoring something like this?

I will definitely follow along with Baron's story, thank you for sharing.

Thank you so much everyone.
No, you are not alone. One thing to remember is to live in the moment with him. That was what was drummed into my head by another member of DT who was battling DCM with her dog. Sometimes its hard but you just need to let them be a dog and have fun! Also, like someelse mentioned, if you are on FB, please considering joining the Dobermann DCM group. Lots of good information and helpful and kind people who are all going through this horrible disease in one form or another: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288462947847717/
 
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