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joie de vivre
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Thank you very much for this info, brw! I'm sorry that you're going through this with both of yours, I can only imagine!
Thanks for the kind words. It really is the luck of the draw in this breed. My girls are only a year apart in age, so I knew age-related and health issues happening on top of one another were a possibility when I decided to bring Tali home nearly 8 years ago. Its been worth it. They're the best. :)

I'm lucky that one of my girls (Tali) has only had arrhythmias for ~3 yrs now. She was on Sotalol only for those 3 years. We just saw some initial weakening of her left ventricle at her check-up last year, and so the cardiologist added pimo and enalapril. Really, overall, she's doing so well. She has slowed down a bit but I believe that's more due to being a 9 yr 8 mo old Doberman with an arthritic hip and shoulder. :) She's on supplements for her arthritis, too, and that keeps her moving easily and feeling good. She's a happy girl with good energy and fitness for her age.

Fiona hasn't fared so well comparatively, but she's doing great right now. She progressed rapidly in the beginning while we were trying to work out her treatment needs. She has already entered CHF, but her lungs are clear and have been for months now thanks to their wonderful cardiologist and aggressive treatment. I feel that we're lucky because treatment is really pretty good nowadays. Nothing is guaranteed but its worth trying, I think. Fi was diagnosed in early April 2017 and here we are, almost 10 months past diagnosis and she's still a very happy girl. She eats really well, she loves to go for short walks, she still wants to play with toys daily, she bounces and plays a little with Tali most days, and she rests comfortably. So, I certainly can't complain. Treatment has given us so much more time with her than we'd have had without it!

I will add that, if you're not already doing it, have an annual echo done, too. That way you have a point of reference against which to compare over the years in case the disease does progress.

Something else I've learned is that I wish I had baseline chest x-rays on my girls for reference in overall heart shape. You would of course expect that your dog has a "normal" shaped heart, but there are cases of abnormalities that aren't related to DCM enlargement. It's helpful to know what's "normal" for your dogs heart when a concern pops up. In the future, I plan to preemptively x-ray all Dobes chests when they're 2-3 yrs of age just to have in their files. Its not something that needs to be done annually but one good reference x-ray would have been helpful for me and my primary vet in Fiona's case, specifically.

Just something to think about. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Thanks for the kind words. It really is the luck of the draw in this breed. My girls are only a year apart in age, so I knew age-related and health issues happening on top of one another were a possibility when I decided to bring Tali home nearly 8 years ago. Its been worth it. They're the best. :)

I'm lucky that one of my girls (Tali) has only had arrhythmias for ~3 yrs now. She was on Sotalol only for those 3 years. We just saw some initial weakening of her left ventricle at her check-up last year, and so the cardiologist added pimo and enalapril. Really, overall, she's doing so well. She has slowed down a bit but I believe that's more due to being a 9 yr 8 mo old Doberman with an arthritic hip and shoulder. :) She's on supplements for her arthritis, too, and that keeps her moving easily and feeling good. She's a happy girl with good energy and fitness for her age.

Fiona hasn't fared so well comparatively, but she's doing great right now. She progressed rapidly in the beginning while we were trying to work out her treatment needs. She has already entered CHF, but her lungs are clear and have been for months now thanks to their wonderful cardiologist and aggressive treatment. I feel that we're lucky because treatment is really pretty good nowadays. Nothing is guaranteed but its worth trying, I think. Fi was diagnosed in early April 2017 and here we are, almost 10 months past diagnosis and she's still a very happy girl. She eats really well, she loves to go for short walks, she still wants to play with toys daily, she bounces and plays a little with Tali most days, and she rests comfortably. So, I certainly can't complain. Treatment has given us so much more time with her than we'd have had without it!

I will add that, if you're not already doing it, have an annual echo done, too. That way you have a point of reference against which to compare over the years in case the disease does progress.

Something else I've learned is that I wish I had baseline chest x-rays on my girls for reference in overall heart shape. You would of course expect that your dog has a "normal" shaped heart, but there are cases of abnormalities that aren't related to DCM enlargement. It's helpful to know what's "normal" for your dogs heart when a concern pops up. In the future, I plan to preemptively x-ray all Dobes chests when they're 2-3 yrs of age just to have in their files. Its not something that needs to be done annually but one good reference x-ray would have been helpful for me and my primary vet in Fiona's case, specifically.

Just something to think about. :)
You're right, we don't really know what's going to happen, no guarantees. My Doberkids are also about a year apart, and we've been very fortunate so far with our girl (she's very healthy), but not so much with our boy.

I'm sorry that Fiona is in CHF, but I'm glad that she's doing OK, and that her treatment is working. And it's also good to know about Tali's condition! :)

We should be getting more information on Hagan's situation this Friday, at his first follow up - maybe an adjustment on medication, then a repeat Holter. Our cardiologist had mentioned monitoring him every 6 months initially, once he's on a therapeutic level; she had also mentioned doing chest X-rays, and I'll ask her about additional blood work.

It's interesting (and good, I suppose) that he had a normal echocardiogram, but his arrhythmias were all over the place, without any symptoms whatsoever. He's so full of energy, runs like a wildebeest in our yard (playing with his partner in crime), and has a wonderful appetite.

For now, I'm just glad that he's tolerating the Sotalol without any side effects, one less thing to worry about. And the very best thing about him is that he's the most affectionate, sweet, loving dog I've ever had!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
How are you and your sweet boy doing?
Hi, Coco! How nice of you to ask!!! :x

We had to postpone last week's follow up due the nor'easter, but Hagan is seeing the cardiologist tomorrow afternoon - I'm hopeful to hear that this dosage of the Sotalol is working, or we'll have to adjust it and take it from there. We've been spending a lot of time cuddling on the couch, playing, and savoring every moment together! I'll post an update when we find out how things are progressing, thank you for your kindness and concern!
 

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Living la Vida Loca!
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I love cuddles with these wonderful dogs.

Fingers crossed for a good appointment! Please update when you can.

And give that luvey a hug and a cuddle from us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I love cuddles with these wonderful dogs.

Fingers crossed for a good appointment! Please update when you can.

And give that luvey a hug and a cuddle from us!


Yesterday's visit went OK: the ECG didn't show anything alarming (but neither did the previous one), Dr. Morris said that the heart rate is slower now (thank you, Sotalol), and Hagan is wearing a Holter monitor again - which he hates! So, the plan is to wait for the results (we'll drop off the monitor on Monday) and repeat the Echo in 6 months; we'll do a chest X-ray as well, after getting the Holter results.

Thank you all for the support, advice, and encouraging words!
 

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Sotalol or Sotalol AF

Sotalol or Sotalol AF is a generic of Betapace or Betapace AF. They are different. A Google search will provide plenty of good information on the drug. It is used to treat us humans with various forms of A-Fib and more. I've been taking this med for over 10 years now. The drug, as I understand it does not per se change the heart's rhythm but my analogy is that it acts more like an engine governor thereby limiting the heart's rate when an abnormal arrhythmia occurs. This allows the heart an opportunity to recover. The problem, at least in people is that even though the heart rate is lower it may get stuck in this abnormal rhythm and require some intervention. When I feel this I force myself to cough and 99% of the time that corrects things. A dog will not know this. Prolong abnormal arrhythmia in people can cause stroke. Not sure if this is the same for dogs but it begs the question whether an aspirin / blood thinner rigimine is in order, again like people. Also, is there a way to monitor the dog's rhythm to alert you when there is an abnormal situation, like a smart phone app tethered to a appliance.

Finally, I would contact Kathryn Meurs at the North Carolina State University (https://cvm.ncsu.edu/directory/meurs-kathryn/) Dr Meurs has been heavily involved with the development of DCM genetics testing including DCM2.

Good Luck

Dan C
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Prolong abnormal arrhythmia in people can cause stroke. Not sure if this is the same for dogs but it begs the question whether an aspirin / blood thinner rigimine is in order, again like people.

Good Luck

Dan C[/QUOTE]



Yes, an ischemic CVA in dogs is always a strong possibility with arrhythmias (especially A-Fib), but anticoagulant therapy would probably be contraindicated for Hagan, since he is affected with von Willebrand disease.

We should be getting results from the second Holter soon, but in the meantime I'm just glad that he doesn't show cardiac enlargement on the Echo (at least, not yet)! Thank you very much for input, Dan.

Maria
 
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How are you and your handsome boy doing?
 
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
How are you and your handsome boy doing?
We're doing OK, thank you for thinking of us! :)

We got the second Holter results yesterday, and he's still having short runs of SVTs, so the cardiologist increased the Sotalol dosage. She wants to repeat the Holter in a month, so we have to be patient, I guess (6 more weeks before we know where we stand). Hagan is still playing, eating, and loving as usual - no obvious disease symptoms, nor medication side effects, so far. We're just hoping that the new regime works!
 

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Hope things are good with you and your lovey. I've been swamped lately and not online much but was thinking about you guys.
 
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Hope things are good with you and your lovey. I've been swamped lately and not online much but was thinking about you guys.
Well, I have both dogs on monitors as I'm typing this! :crying:

Our regular vet detected arrhythmias on our girl a couple of weeks ago, when she was doing her dental prophy pre-op tests (exactly what happened with our boy). Yesterday we took them both to Dr. Morris, Frauke had her baseline echo (which was OK) and got hooked up for her first Holter, and Hagan got his third one (follow up after the increase in Sotalol dosage). We'll be returning them today and then we'll be waiting for a couple of weeks to find out results.

In the meantime, VetGen lost the swabs for the DCM test (they blamed the carrier, even though the tracking says it was delivered), so I'll do it again and send it directly to NCSU.

It means a lot that you thought about us, thank you!!! This is stressful, to say the least, but I appreciate your support! :x
 

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Well, I have both dogs on monitors as I'm typing this! :crying:

Our regular vet detected arrhythmias on our girl a couple of weeks ago, when she was doing her dental prophy pre-op tests (exactly what happened with our boy). Yesterday we took them both to Dr. Morris, Frauke had her baseline echo (which was OK) and got hooked up for her first Holter, and Hagan got his third one (follow up after the increase in Sotalol dosage). We'll be returning them today and then we'll be waiting for a couple of weeks to find out results.

In the meantime, VetGen lost the swabs for the DCM test (they blamed the carrier, even though the tracking says it was delivered), so I'll do it again and send it directly to NCSU.

It means a lot that you thought about us, thank you!!! This is stressful, to say the least, but I appreciate your support! :x
Oh boy it's raining and pouring at your house isn't it. Your babes are lucky to have such a caring, responsible and loving mama.

Sending good vibes, juju and hugs your way. I'm off on Sunday for a week long vacation but will check in with you when I'm back.

Stay strong and try to stay zen.
 
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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
How are things going at your house? Good vibes and hugs sent your way!
Thank you, Coco!!!

Hagan is finally stable on his current Sotalol dosage (100 mg), some arrhythmias are still present, but "reasonable" on his 3rd Holter. Frauke's first Holter showed some irregularities too, but Dr. Morris didn't feel the need to put her on meds at this time, since they weren't too worrisome.

They were both finally able to have their dental prophys last week, and did great (no cardiac issues during anesthesia, per our regular vet), their chest and belly rads were all OK too! Hagan had an epulis excised also, we're hoping it doesn't grown back, which they sometimes do.

On the down side, Hagan tested positive for both DCM 1&2 (at NCSU), and Frauke was positive for DCM2. It is what it is, at this point I can think a little better, and I'm just glad that it's not too late - we'll just have to be prepared for whatever comes at us later.

They'll both be having echos again in 2-3 months, to check for any heart enlargement, in the meantime everybody is their usual crazy self - they play, eat, and love like nothing is going on. And we, of course, spend as much time as we can with them - spoiling them rotten, to which they don't complain, the brats!

Thank you for checking on us! Hugs...

Maria
 

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So nice to hear that everyone is enjoying life as they should and your babes are so well taken care of by their mama!! Good vibes, juju and karma sent your way.
 
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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Praying!!
Hi, suzu! I hope that your Drago continues to be well also, you're obviously taking very good care of him, all we can do is be on top of their meds and tests. Giving them tons of love helps too! Good vibes heading your way... :2smile:
 

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Hey are you controlling your guys running around outside? I feel I can't stop it because Drago is so young and loves to run after squirrels, etc and feel he would be miserable if I did..... But I am scared to death of him doing it...........
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Hey are you controlling your guys running around outside? I feel I can't stop it because Drago is so young and loves to run after squirrels, etc and feel he would be miserable if I did..... But I am scared to death of him doing it...........
Not at all, but we do limit the time they spend running like maniacs; we take them out to play several times a day, in their large fenced yard (they play rough and hard), one of us stays with them outside and/or plays with them too (we're retired, so they're always with us). We don't let them get extremely tired, we bring them inside before they get to that point.

We figured that sudden death can happen anytime, not just when they're active, and we're not going to stop them from having fun (and exercise). Do I worry? Absolutely! But I can't allow my fears (which are many) to take over; when their time comes I know that we'll be unconsolable, but for now we're trying our best to prepare for it, and we're trying to give them a very good life.

I was very upset when this all developed, but I'm calmer now, it helps that my DH is not as emotional as I am. He loves them too, but I'm the one who worries the most. It's not easy, but we have to try our best!
 
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