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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy DCM in Male Doberman

I adore my Dobies. I have had three. At the moment I am in a state of devastation as my 6.3 year old gorgeous male died suddenly on Sunday late afternoon from DCM. He had never shown as signs of ill health and when checked with the vet, always passed with flying colours. He was full of vitality and loved life. Little bugger ran through an unknown hole in our fence on Sunday afternoon chasing a deer. He didn't return. My female who had been with him returned whining and stressed. We found him dead in woodland. I thought there would be some signs about it but nothing. My female will now be 24 hour tested. I have been researching online ever since. I am suffering the 'if only' but it could have happened at any time. He was only six! After discovering that 58% of Dobies die from DCM, I'm not sure I can go through this pain again as much as I love the breed. My previous dobe died of cancer aged 6.5. Can anyone let me know what is being done to help this cause and this lovely breed?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 11:42 AM
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Welcome to DT, that's horrible news about your boy. You are smart to want to do more to protect your girl; early detection can sometimes give you years more in a DCM dog. The disease can be easily diagnosed through regular (yearly) echocardiograms and 24 hour holter monitoring.

I do think some of the statistics you may have read might have misled you. While 50+ % of dogs may develop DCM it does not mean they will die from it. Many dogs have DCM well into old age and end up dying from other diseases or natural causes. It is terrible but it's not always a death sentence for a dog to be diagnosed and it may not be getting worse in our breed, it may be we just know more about the disease than we did before and as a community and we are talking more about it- a healthy thing, IMO.
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Last edited by greenkouki; 01-30-2019 at 11:49 AM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply. He was my sidekick and I am missing him so much. I suppose the only way to look at it is that he was doing something he loved but I wish I had been with him (usual guilt I suppose). Still, my girl will now have a complete health check. I understand that females are less likely to have DCM that males. It is just such a shocking thing when they have been so healthy (or that is how we perceived it). It may have been a good idea for the vet to have suggested annual checks as we have Dobermans.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 12:28 PM
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I am sorry for your loss.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 01:29 PM
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Sorry to hear about your loss, OthelloDobie. We lost our boy at 3 years and 7.5 months old from peritonitis two months ago and it still hurts every day.

https://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/2018/11/26/14541/
I did come across this a few weeks ago so it's good to know that there are studies going on with dobies.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 02:02 PM
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Othello, so sorry for your loss. That must have been such a shock to find him that way. I can't imagine. Very sad.

"Lots of people talk to animals...Not very many listen, though...That's the problem. " ~ The Tao of Pooh
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 02:13 PM
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I'm very sorry for your loss - he was at a very common age for DCM to rear its ugly head.

Even if the pedigree looks good and the parents cardiac ultrasound and 24 hour holter tested normal before breeding, DCM in more than one form can hit our Dobermans. It is a disease that is in the breed and no line is clear of it.
I have never heard that it strikes more dogs than bitches though - I've lost two bitches to sudden death (one at age 9 and one at age 11) that both had normal cardiac ultrasounds and EKG's fairly close to when they died. I've lost dogs in all 3 of my litters from sudden death - one at age 10 1/2 from my first litter, one at age 8 from my second litter, and one at age 5 from my 3rd litter. It sucks at any age, and seems that no matter what you do as a breeder, it can happen.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 03:42 PM
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Sorry to hear about your boy.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 04:06 PM
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So sorry to here about your boy Othello...

We also lost a boy due to "Sudden Death Syndrome". He did make it past his initial episode and with close observation and cardio meds, lived for several more years. He eventually succumbed to Ventricular Fibrillation due to DMC. It was right in front of us after a brief walk with his "brother"

Heart meds have come a longways in the last few years. Annual or semi-annual testing affords you to take advantage all the medical help out there in a timely fashion.

If it's any consolation, IMO he probably did not suffer at all. My boy's death seemed quick and painless.

If it were me getting another Dobe pup, I would purchase quality canine medical insurance as soon as available. I would also start cardio testing by 3 years old and then follow up as the cardiologist recommends.

Best to you

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzmar Dobermans View Post
I have never heard that it strikes more dogs than bitches though
Dr. O'Grady's research used to say that, but I seem to recall him saying later that he was finding it more equal.

The OP asked:
Can anyone let me know what is being done to help this cause and this lovely breed?

Responsible breeders have cardiac ultrasounds performed annually on their breeding stock, and also 24 Holter monitor ecgs done at least annually. They are doing the two DCM DNA tests (PDK4 and DCM2), mainly for research purposes because the results don't really align with longevity and/or the disease. Some are also doing troponin-t tests looking for stress on the heart. They keep their puppy owners informed of results, and they urge their puppy owners to test and keep the breeders informed so that they have full-picture information when making breeding decisions. They also research pedigrees carefully for ages and causes of death, again to try to make informed breeding decisions.

They also use the DPCA longevity database The DPCA | Longevity Program which tracks Dobermans that live past the age of 10. It is thought that if a breeder concentrates long-lived dogs into the pedigrees that the puppies have a better chance at longevity.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for you. It's a massive hole left for us and for our Portia. Nothing prepares you for this loss xxx
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. The 'what if's' are what haunt me. Could I have done something to save him but he was so far from a car or housing, it would have been so difficult to carry him. I suppose the shock was that he had always been so hugely athletic and fit. I am watching my Portia like a hawk now waiting for her appointment.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 01:03 PM
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I've read this conclusion in a (people) study:

"Nevertheless, outcomes from cardiac arrest remain poor even when the arrest occurs in the hospital setting, where necessary equipment and adequately trained personnel are readily available. Reported survival rates are 3% to 10%." I have also been told by a vet tech that most dogs who are resuscitated after cardiac failure don't ever make it out of the hospital.

I can remember carrying a sled in the back of my car when I went on hikes with my elderly dobe. I thought that perhaps if something happens, I *might* be able to run and get the sled and drag him back to the car. But realistically speaking, that really wouldn't have been possible. These things happen so suddenly and quickly. (I was also morbidly thinking that it would be a way for me to get his body back to the car...at his age and condition, the possibility of a heart attack was always in the back of my mind.)

Perhaps you can take some consolation in knowing that he was happy and having fun right before you lost him. He didn't have to face a slow decline with the possibility of congestive heart failure looming in the future.

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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 04:20 PM
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Yeah Mel... I can relate.

Butcher (RIP) was a real hiker. He loved the mountain trails. My DIL and I would take him out for miles. He never slowed down. A 6 mile hike for us was basically a 20 mile run for him. And he was carrying his own water and food!.

When he was diagnosed with DCM, I remember being reticent to take him on hikes, How would I get him back if he had an episode? How would I get his 95 +lb. body down if he died on the trail.

In the end, we said "screw it". We had decided to let him live his doggy life as he enjoyed it.

He ended up passing on the living room floor, years later, after a short spring walk. He made it, his own way, into his senior years.

Woot!

John
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 07:38 PM
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I lost Helvi my 4th doberman in September to DCM - sudden cardiac death. She had been diagnosed 10 months earlier. I did a lot of reading and research about DCM. I would have a look at the Doberman Diversity Project....you can have your dobe gene tested through them (but DCM 2 test through UC Davis) plus they have tools for breeders. Their goal is to address the decreasing longevity in dobermanns.
I am so so sorry you lost yours to this awful disease - my vet cardiologist said it is not painful - just like them fainting. Helvi was on a lot of medication but her arrhythmia was no longer able to be controlled with that. I'm glad your boy didn't have to suffer through congestive failure. It's so traumatic losing them isn't it .
Although my puppy's breeder is known for longevity in her lines, I will still have Hette (7months old) tested at some point for DCM 1 and 2 - if positive I will choose to holter and echo her earlier than if negative. As you probably know if they are negative for the DCM 1 and 2 genes doesn't mean they won't get , just as if they are positive doesn't mean they definitely will. Though if positive for both genes the risk is higher.
Paws crossed our girls reach double digits!
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 11:00 PM
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So sorry for your loss. All we can do is be proactive. SE will be going on 4 and has had 2 holters already with another scheduled in April. Echo and blood work and genetic submissions at this point have been good. Just took xrays of her heart so we have a baseline in case of enlargement. Did another CBC and thyroid test also last week. I am paranoid too. I lost my second dobie and she didn't make it to 6. Died in my arms. Been there done that, don't want to do it again.
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 08:47 AM
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So very, very sorry for your loss. Like everyone else has said, all we can do is be proactive with DCM. Early testing is the key to possbily a longer life with the new meds that are out there today. I just lost my Baron on January 14th to sudden death. He was diagnosed at 4 1/2 with early stage and passed at 12 years 2 months. This is the thread I documented through his journey: https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...n-has-dcm.html

Baron's cardiologist said from the beginning, just let him do what he wants and be a dog. As I mentioned in his thread, most all of his PVC's came when he was either sleeping or resting. Very few when he was running and playing. So we just never know.

When you feel up to, please post a memorial and some photos on the Rainbow Bridge Forum.
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 10:34 AM
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Ivan was diagnosed around his fourth birthday and died before his sixth. His testing results were always described as mild.
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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It has been a week, exactly, since he went. It has taken that time to get some perspective and after reading about the alternative, maybe sudden death is kinder - if not desperately undesired. Thank you for your kind words and whilst I know I couldn't have saved him, we were so close, I would have preferred to be with him at the end.
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your lovely reply. It is a comfort to speak with other Dobie owners who know how difficult it is to deal with such a sudden death. Perhaps I was better in my ignorance otherwise I would have been wrapping him up in cotton wool! Ottie was not a cotton wool kind of dog. He lived life absolutely to the full. Tia is being tested on a 24 hour monitor next week. I really am praying she makes double digits but none of my dogs have done so, so far. Fingers crossed for all our boys and girls x
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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DCM testing for Dobies

So following on from my dear Othello dying from sudden death DCM, I had my lovely girl tested. She is currently showing no signs of DCM but we will ensure that she is checked annually and that we monitor for any possible signs. I feel relieved, just sad that we didn't have this done for Othello.
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 12:43 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss! We just lost our sweet girl Eva this past Thursday. No warning signs, we just heard a yelp/scream from our sweet girl at 4am by the time we ran downstairs we were just able to hold her as she colasped, she took a couple of deep breaths and she was gone.......she was a few months short of 6 yrs old.
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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 01:48 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss of Eva.

So often the first signs of DMC is a V-Tach episode resulting in Sudden Death. This happened to one of our boys, but with quick triage and immediate Cardio help he was stabilized. Although his initial prognosis was very poor, with meds and a slightly altered life style he lived for several more years with basically no symptoms. He did ultimately succumb to DCM, but his passing was quick and seemed painless.
have an annual/biannual complete cardio workup starting at about 3 years of age. My youngest was given a clean bill of health (echocardiogram/24 Holter/full blood panel) at 3. He is due for another in a few months.

In any case. Welcome to DT. Too bad its under such sad circumstances.

Best to you and yours

John
Portland OR
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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 05:28 AM
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So sorry to hear of your recent loss. Noting that you are a new member....just know that we all lean on each other as a group during times like this. If it helps your heart post of PICs of your girl......whatever helps you mend .....we are here for you.
We have all experienced this or know we will experience a loss in the future ......so lean on us if you want to .......pics, funny memories, or maybe nothing now........but just know we are here ...... we understand your level of love towards your girl.......peace be with you and yours, always.

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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-03-2019, 05:38 AM
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Special PIC for you and Eva .....and I pray.......god please bless our pups......Amen.
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