Author Topic: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update  (Read 3602 times)

Lisa

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Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« on: October 16, 2010, 12:08:46 PM »
I've been chatting with some Dobe people to get advice about how to treat Koda's suspected DCM.  It seems like they are much more into echocardiograms than holters.   The general advice with them for echos is the first one around two years and then annually thereafter, similar to our holter recommendations for Boxers.  This surprised me because I've read that Boxers just need to be 12-24 months old to get a clear echocardiogram and then wouldn't need another for the rest of their life.  The Dobe people say that's absolutely not true.  One woman had her Dobe echo'd two years ago when he was three and it was all normal, now he's five and had another echo which is showing DCM.  Just about all the knowledgeable people on this Dobe health list I'm on agree that both routine echos and holters should be done especially in breeding dogs, but echos seem more popular and frequent.  Why do we recommend only one echocardiogram for Boxers?  Has anyone echo'd a Boxer at 1-2 years of age, gotten a normal result, and then later they developed AS/SAS, DCM or any other heart disease echocardiograms are supposed to detect?

Based on what I've read, if Koda does have DCM he has a type the same as or very similar to the type Dobes most often get, with the left ventricle enlarged as opposed to the left auricle.  I've been told it's a bad sign that he is already showing significant dilation when he's only two, when many, maybe most affected Dobes echo normal at that age but begin to develop it later.  The sooner they develop it the earlier they usually die.  :(  The cardiologist could choose between "mild," "moderate" and "severe" on a form she filled out diagnosing his condition and she chose moderate.  :(

We had bloodwork done yesterday, more scheduled Monday, Koda is on supplements to aid his heart function and may start heart medications depending on bloodwork results, though still acting as if nothing at all is wrong.  The big telling sign will be when he goes in for another echocardiogram in six months.  If the enlargement has progressed (and all the bloodwork we're doing comes out normal), he definitely has DCM.  If it's the same, the enlargement may be due to a virus he had and fought off leaving that damage and/or partly just the way Koda is made, and in that case it isn't DCM and will not progress.  I've read that it is a good sign that his Holter test had zero PVCs, because arrhythmias combined with his enlarged left ventricle would put him even more at risk of dying earlier and also dying suddenly.  He also has no detectable murmur.  I don't know how I'd handle just finding him dead one day without getting to say goodbye.  All of my previous dogs died of cancer and I knew they were about to before they did.

:fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: that Koda's next echocardiogram shows no progression.  What a long winter it's going to be waiting on that.
Artax, male Retriever mix, 11/1/99
Koda, CGC RN TT AD, male brindle, 10/10/08
Mukki, CGC, female fawn, 4/20/10


BoxerPerson

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 07:12:33 PM »
:fingerscrossed::fingerscrossed::fingerscrossed::fingerscrossed:
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Christina

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 08:19:44 PM »
 :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed:  for no progression.

A friend of mine had a lab diagnosed with DCM at 1-2 yrs old, he was put on enalapril and they treated him like a normal dog.  He is now 7 I think, and they say he doesn't have DCM.  Even the experts can be wrong sometimes. 
Christina
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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 08:47:00 AM »
 :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed:
Missi
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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 10:17:02 AM »
Quote
Why do we recommend only one echocardiogram for Boxers?

Because Boxers don't typically have DCM, which can develop at any age; they're more likely to have AS, which is there or not by 12-24 months.

Quote
If it's the same, the enlargement may be due to a virus he had and fought off leaving that damage and/or partly just the way Koda is made, and in that case it isn't DCM and will not progress.

I just learned of a Boxer who had an enlarged heart his entire life; it never changed from year to year, and was not DCM; he died of something non-heart-related. The cardiologist said his heart enlargement was not uncommon for a very athletic dog.
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Lisa

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 02:38:27 PM »
I figured the reason repeated echos are not recommended for Boxers while they are for Dobes was related to the frequency of the disease between the two breeds.  So DCM is really rare in Boxers?

The cardiologist did discuss the possibility of Koda just having an athletically-enlarged heart, especially because I stressed how active he is, running several miles loose on forest trails most days plus around our one-acre yard.  She said it's especially common for Labradors to have hearts that appear to possibly have DCM when it's actually just a big, strong heart, but she thinks that's unlikely in Koda's case due to the degree of enlargement and that it's only the left ventricle, not the whole heart.  In her report, besides the part about his left ventricle being dilated, she wrote that his heart is showing systolic dysfunction, a decreased ability to pump blood.  She seems convinced that he does have DCM, though she said she'd love to be proved wrong.

 :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed:
Artax, male Retriever mix, 11/1/99
Koda, CGC RN TT AD, male brindle, 10/10/08
Mukki, CGC, female fawn, 4/20/10


3BOXERS

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 12:05:03 AM »
 :fingerscrossed:

rmkoruga

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 09:55:18 AM »
 :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed:
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Missy/Precious mom

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 10:03:37 AM »
 :fingerscrossed:
Joyce

Lisa

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2010, 05:20:16 PM »
I got the results of Koda's bloodwork back today.  His full thyroid panel, taurine level and cardiac troponin I level are all normal.  It's looking more and more like he truly has DCM.  :(

It could be my imagination, and/or him maturing, but it really seems like he's slowing down a bit on our romps through the forest.  Maybe he was previously too but I didn't notice because we've been going so slow and stopping for breaks often with Mukki.  I'm noticing now that when Koda gets far enough ahead of us he often lays down on the trail and waits for us to catch up rather than run around exploring off to the sides like he used to and Artax still does.  I've noticed a few coughs after he's been running a lot too.  The cardiologist seemed surprised that he wasn't showing signs already based on his first echocardiogram.  :'(
Artax, male Retriever mix, 11/1/99
Koda, CGC RN TT AD, male brindle, 10/10/08
Mukki, CGC, female fawn, 4/20/10


Missy/Precious mom

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2010, 09:31:56 AM »
 :bigcry: 
Joyce

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 11:40:00 PM »
 :bigcry: :'( :bigcry: :'(

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2010, 04:32:03 PM »
 :thumbsdown:
I'm sorry it was not better news.
Missi
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Sophia Sadeyes

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2010, 07:55:06 PM »
i'm so sorry.  :bigcry: :bigcry:
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BoxerPerson

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Re: Echocardiogram frequency/Koda DCM update
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2010, 06:48:08 AM »
Lisa I am so sorry...I was hoping for better news. 
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