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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Flirt met with Dr. Siemens, board certified excellent cardiologist, at a cardiac clinic today. She said there were no signs of DCM and her heart looked excellent and very healthy and "she would not expect her to develop DCM." And "since she is spayed and a breeder, we might test again at 8" - that's in 3 years. now she also commented that this was just a snapshot of when we tested and she had no signs in the EKG.

I'm a wee bit confused. Isn't this something I should keep testing for yearly? We only had 20 minutes per appt so I didn't want to take up more of her time Maybe she was just "being nice" and not realizing I'm a STRESS FREAK. And I know all my husband heard was she is FINE, and we dont need to spend the money for 3 years. He is very supportive. I don't want to make him out to be an ogre but he doesn't understand a lot fo the testing and why we do it. He spent the money on her obstruction surgery without question. It's the prophylacti stuff that is difficult to convince him (and well I'd do it anyway, that's how I roll, it's just easier if everyone is on board)

She also did see very very very very early signs of Mitral valve disease with a small leak in the mitral valve. She said not to worry (HA ME NOT WORRY!) and just to have the regular vet listen yearly for murmurs. If she gets one, then see her. It doesn't mean she WILL get it. And it's much "better" than DCM. I had a lab mix that had it for 3 years and we actually lost her to old age in general. I'm still kind of freaked though.
 

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I think that cadiologists are like any other people; there's more conservative ones, more aggressive ones, more paranoid ones, ect. If Flirt's echo is so good now that her heart is extremely healthy and well functioning and she's not having arrhythmias in her holters, she may be at a very, very low risk of it *suddenly* going downhill, even more so if the hearts in her pedigree have a history of staying steady. I'm glad to hear the good news!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, so my literal minded brain is taking it TOO LITERAL :) Makes sense thanks.
 

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I'm getting mixed messages too, but from my regular vet. She said the holter is not accurate and I shouldn't do it to Chase since I got the BPN done and he was extremely low (below 900 is excellent, he was in the 200's).

She said that if I wanted to check his heart, I should get an ultra sound. She quoted me $700.00 per test.
 

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One good reading does NOT mean your dog will not get cardio... I would be doing her yearly and by another cardio vet.. as any one that would say that i wouldnt think knows doberman cardio very well.
They can develop cardio at any age at any time.. and testing yearly is the only way to catch it early IF its commng and give your dog my time.
JMHO of someone who's lived it.
 

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I'm getting mixed messages too, but from my regular vet. She said the holter is not accurate and I shouldn't do it to Chase since I got the BPN done and he was extremely low (below 900 is excellent, he was in the 200's).

She said that if I wanted to check his heart, I should get an ultra sound. She quoted me $700.00 per test.
700!!! I see you are in Toronto? why do you not enroll your dog in the Doberman Heart study at guelph UN ? Its 100 dollars for ekg and ultrasound .
I'm surprised your reg vet did not suggest that. As Guelph have been studying doberman cardio for yrs.
 

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I'm getting mixed messages too, but from my regular vet. She said the holter is not accurate and I shouldn't do it to Chase since I got the BPN done and he was extremely low (below 900 is excellent, he was in the 200's).

She said that if I wanted to check his heart, I should get an ultra sound. She quoted me $700.00 per test.
What does that mean, "the holter is not accurate"?!

I mean, they use them for human cardio diagnostics, too. The data is absolutely accurate. It's working with a good cardiologist to interpret the results that is important.

If your vet means it's not *predictive* of whether a dog will develop DCM or not, well, we don't have anything really that does that, yet.

But, you can diagnose much earlier, with holter and echo (not sure why your vet thinks it has to be either/or and not both).

You have to keep screening, yeah, you do. It's a snapshot, but I'd rather have an actual assurance, at least once a year, if possible, that my dog is not developing arrythmias.

C--glad to hear Flirt does not show signs of DCM.

I guess if I were in your shoes, I'd celebrate that, but find a doc that has a testing interval/protocol that fits my own comfort level.

The remark about her not being a "breeder" kind of leads me to believe perhaps this particular cardiologist places less of a priority on catching DCM early on "just a pet" rather than a brood bitch active in a breeding program, dunno. Probably not fair to speculate, but that wording just can't help but give me pause.

Btw, I have a friend with a Weim with a bigtime mitral murmer and this bitch is still very actively competing in agility, leading a normal life, doing just fine. I hope Flirt doesn't develop any issues related to that, but just thought a good outcome story on that one wouldn't hurt your state of mind :)
 

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One of my guys has a mitral valve murmur / mitral valve disease. I don't remember exactly when I was told that but it was at least a few years ago, and he's going to be 10 this year (knock on wood). Dr. O'Grady said that eventually it would lead to congestive heart failure but at the same time said it's something that progresses really slowly, and I'd probably lose him to something else before it ever became a problem.
 

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What I know about DCM after my experience with Petey is that.....ANY dog can go on to develop it at ANY time, even weeks after a great check-up. If you are a worry wart....you need to do yearly holters and echos. Was the cardiologist one that works with Dobes? Not all cardiologist are the same....I went through 3 of them to find one that works with lots of Dobermans. There are people on this very forum who's dogs hearts look completely normal in an echo and they have serious arrhythmias that could kill them suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What I know about DCM after my experience with Petey is that.....ANY dog can go on to develop it at ANY time, even weeks after a great check-up. If you are a worry wart....you need to do yearly holters and echos. Was the cardiologist one that works with Dobes? Not all cardiologist are the same....I went through 3 of them to find one that works with lots of Dobermans. There are people on this very forum who's dogs hearts look completely normal in an echo and they have serious arrhythmias that could kill them suddenly.
Yes, this is what kind of surprised me. she's the big Dobe cardio guru and one of the best in town. It was Dr. Lori Siemens. Here is a Dobe Q&A link she did a while back
http://www.cyberdobes.com/PDF/Siemens.pdf

Ah, in the article she says detection in the pet may not do much to prolong the life of the Doberman BUT may prepare the owner. and she mentions how we must eliminate this in breeders...maybe that's why the focus on spayed pet vs breeder?
 

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700!!! I see you are in Toronto? why do you not enroll your dog in the Doberman Heart study at guelph UN ? Its 100 dollars for ekg and ultrasound .
I'm surprised your reg vet did not suggest that. As Guelph have been studying doberman cardio for yrs.
Yes, expensive, and she wanted me to do that yearly.

RFR, I'm with you, I want to test Chase yearly with the BPN and holter, I'll be doing it regardless of what my vet says. I was just taken aback that she totally ditched a diagnostic tool that is widely used on dogs with heart problems.

As for Guelph, I'm still trying! Last year no one returned my calls or emails, this year I kept getting the wrong department, or wrong person...but I've been using the number a breeder AND vet gave me. Maybe the program is too full?
 

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Yes, this is what kind of surprised me. she's the big Dobe cardio guru and one of the best in town. It was Dr. Lori Siemens. Here is a Dobe Q&A link she did a while back
http://www.cyberdobes.com/PDF/Siemens.pdf

Ah, in the article she says detection in the pet may not do much to prolong the life of the Doberman BUT may prepare the owner. and she mentions how we must eliminate this in breeders...maybe that's why the focus on spayed pet vs breeder?
I think this is what most Cardiologist believe. The first two I went to felt that meds did not prolong their lives in the occult stage. Even the one we ended up with let me know that most are gone with in two years of diagnosis in the occult stage, meds or not. I know people who are doing little or even no medicating and their dobes are living much longer then Petey did by far. Petey's bro died 5 weeks before him....no diagnosis and no meds. I think people need to do what they feel most comfortable with. Being prepared that Petey would die was right for me, I would have had to be committed if I didn't know he was going to die suddenly. Now with Monty....I'm not sure I'd want to know, I don't think I could deal with putting my life on hold again for more then a year and a half. I now understand that ALL dobes are candidates for sudden death and I can live with that. I will never allow myself to get that deeply attached to another dog again. I love Monty, but he isn't the center of my universe like Petey was, I was too obsessed with him.
 

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I'm sure your cardiologist "knows her stuff" and I would take the positive she gave you but still continue to have routine heart exams. Although, I would in no way trust a simple yearly stethoscope reading- I think you know what you want to do with your dog and thats have her checked yearly (i believe) so I would do just that if Iwere you. Just tell the Cardiologist that you are THAT MOM :) and it would help you sleep better to see her on a regular basis. Also, its not a bad idea to have your rDVM ultrasound her whenever you are in possibly for other things- mainly to monitor the progress of mitral valve disease. ( if you did not get any u/s print off, you should and take a copy to your rDVM to keep for future comparisons) Sorry, long winded and I'm sure you already know most everything I have mentioned :)
 
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Flirt met with Dr. Siemens, board certified excellent cardiologist, at a cardiac clinic today. She said there were no signs of DCM and her heart looked excellent and very healthy and "she would not expect her to develop DCM." And "since she is spayed and a breeder, we might test again at 8" - that's in 3 years. now she also commented that this was just a snapshot of when we tested and she had no signs in the EKG.

I'm a wee bit confused. Isn't this something I should keep testing for yearly? We only had 20 minutes per appt so I didn't want to take up more of her time Maybe she was just "being nice" and not realizing I'm a STRESS FREAK. And I know all my husband heard was she is FINE, and we dont need to spend the money for 3 years. He is very supportive. I don't want to make him out to be an ogre but he doesn't understand a lot fo the testing and why we do it. He spent the money on her obstruction surgery without question. It's the prophylacti stuff that is difficult to convince him (and well I'd do it anyway, that's how I roll, it's just easier if everyone is on board)

She also did see very very very very early signs of Mitral valve disease with a small leak in the mitral valve. She said not to worry (HA ME NOT WORRY!) and just to have the regular vet listen yearly for murmurs. If she gets one, then see her. It doesn't mean she WILL get it. And it's much "better" than DCM. I had a lab mix that had it for 3 years and we actually lost her to old age in general. I'm still kind of freaked though.
I wonder if it was more a comment of because she is a spayed girl, you don't have the breeder concerns (i.e. cardiac health of the breed)? I know she deals a lot with people saying they don't want to test because they don't want to know. She is GREAT with emailing though, so maybe you could email her with concerns.

We weren't quite as lucky. Eva showed mild DCM. We are going to recheck in 6 months and it seems as though there are plenty of dogs in the area that need checks so we will probably do the clinic every 6 months to a year. So whenever you want to retest her there will probably be a clinic available if you are patient.
 

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I wonder if it was more a comment of because she is a spayed girl, you don't have the breeder concerns (i.e. cardiac health of the breed)? I know she deals a lot with people saying they don't want to test because they don't want to know. She is GREAT with emailing though, so maybe you could email her with concerns.

We weren't quite as lucky. Eva showed mild DCM. We are going to recheck in 6 months and it seems as though there are plenty of dogs in the area that need checks so we will probably do the clinic every 6 months to a year. So whenever you want to retest her there will probably be a clinic available if you are patient.
:( Deeply sorry to hear this news. You were one of my rocks from diagnosis to death...I'm here for you when ever you need me. May Eva have many years and die an old Dobe. ox
 

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Yes, expensive, and she wanted me to do that yearly.

RFR, I'm with you, I want to test Chase yearly with the BPN and holter, I'll be doing it regardless of what my vet says. I was just taken aback that she totally ditched a diagnostic tool that is widely used on dogs with heart problems.

As for Guelph, I'm still trying! Last year no one returned my calls or emails, this year I kept getting the wrong department, or wrong person...but I've been using the number a breeder AND vet gave me. Maybe the program is too full?
I didn't read past this post so maybe someone else mentioned already...

My new landlord works at the OVC. I'm trying to get Dakota in there as well, and had emailed with no response. My landlord said that they are really backed up right now because they're down to one cardiologist at the moment. I guess they usually have 2, but one just retired and since they pay his salary for a year after retirement she thinks they're waiting until that year is up before they bring a new cardiologist on to replace him. So don't give up yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I wonder if it was more a comment of because she is a spayed girl, you don't have the breeder concerns (i.e. cardiac health of the breed)? I know she deals a lot with people saying they don't want to test because they don't want to know. She is GREAT with emailing though, so maybe you could email her with concerns.

We weren't quite as lucky. Eva showed mild DCM. We are going to recheck in 6 months and it seems as though there are plenty of dogs in the area that need checks so we will probably do the clinic every 6 months to a year. So whenever you want to retest her there will probably be a clinic available if you are patient.
Oh bummer, I'm sorry to hear that :(

I do think that she was focusing on making sure all our breeders are tested and not putting down or not "counting" "pet dogs" on the same level.

I fall in the HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING category and Stress Queen!
 

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Hi Adara,

I don't think that was very good advice personally. The cardiologists who do our Dobe Club clinics have recently started requiring a Holter within three months of the Echo. The club owns and loans out the Holter equipment at a minimal cost and the clinics for the echo's are $225 presently.

The club hosts the clinics twice a year--in June and November. I've got two Dobes and do each one once a year. One dog is now 9 and the other is 6. I've been doing yearly echo's since they were 4 (the 9 year old) and 2 (the 6 year old) and Holters on both for the last three years.

Let me give you some very personal experiences on cardio and why I think it's important to do these once a year.

One of my very close friends had echo'd her champion male when he was two because his breeder wanted to use him on some of her champion bitches. His numbers on that first echo were great. Two years later she echo'd him at one of the club clinics--only two years and on a young dog--at that time his numbers were marginal--enough so that the cardiologist said "occult" and put him on some meds. Two years later he was dead of fast developing DCM ending in CHF. Practically all of the rest of his litter (now all over 10) are still alive and doing well. If he hadn't been on meds and being echo'd every six months after that 4 year echo he would not have lasted that long.

And Holters don't tell you anything or aren't accurate?--I'm very surprised to hear that. I've been doing Holters on some dogs who are signed up for the June clinic. One of the bitches whose Holter a year ago came back with 11 VPC's (or PVC's--same thing some people call them one thing and others use the other abbreviation). We just got back her Holter results a couple of weeks ago--they showed over 5,000 VPC's with some doublets and a couple of runs. Her owner got her into the cardiologist post haste--they did an echo--the echo showed virtually no changes in the numbers from the last clinic she was in a year ago but the Holter says that she's at risk for a sudden death type of cardio--she's being medicated specifically to control the PVC's. Without that information from the Holter she could have dropped dead and my friend would have had no warning at all--which would have been very sad since it's a treatable condition.

Cardio in the Doberman doesn't have any good ends--it's always going to be a death sentence but doing periodic tests (and personally for me that means yearly) will at least give you an opportunity to make the dog comfortable if cardiomyopathy or arrhythmias are present--the drugs used to control cardio are infinitely better than when my first Doberman (in the late 60's) developed DCM/CHF and the only thing that was available for treatment was lasix which at least kept him from drowning in his own fluids.

And I've known a couple of bitches with mitral valve malfunctions--that one wouldn't concern me so much--and it can be heard with a stethascope--it is generally very slow to develop and isn't likely to be the COD.

I don't care if Flirt is spayed and not a "breeder"--she's still your dog and you do things with her and I for one would definitely want to know what was going on. But then I'll cop to being pretty obsessive and where there are tests available I use them--for me, for the dog and for the additional information it gives the breeder about the dogs who aren't being bred but still are part of the breeding line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
And I've known a couple of bitches with mitral valve malfunctions--that one wouldn't concern me so much--and it can be heard with a stethascope--it is generally very slow to develop and isn't likely to be the COD.

I don't care if Flirt is spayed and not a "breeder"--she's still your dog and you do things with her and I for one would definitely want to know what was going on. But then I'll cop to being pretty obsessive and where there are tests available I use them--for me, for the dog and for the additional information it gives the breeder about the dogs who aren't being bred but still are part of the breeding line.
Thanks on both counts! I definitely need and want to know and these posts are helpful to provide more information to hubby who doesn't mind spending the money if he knows why.

I also had a lab mix with Mitral valve disease diagnosed at 11 and passed at 14 mostly due to old age though. So far Flirt doesn't have any murmurs just need to make sure to let the regular vet know to listen for them and keep a good eye on it.
 
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