joie de vivre
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.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!
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.