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rsieg

DCM test?

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I am late to the canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)-grain free food discussion, but my vet sent out an email yesterday advising all clients to switch off grain-free food, which led to me going over the threads on this here on GT and on the Internet. Logan was on Taste of the Wild, which is listed as number 3 on the number of DCM cases, so got a bag of IAMS green last night and switched him to it. He seems to like it better, and it is cheaper, so ok in that regard.

Logan has his annual physical next week. Obviously my vet is on top of the DCM matter, but my question is this. Will the vet be able to determine if Logan has DCM at the physical? Is it detectable just using a stethescope, or is there a blood test, or whatnot? Is there any test I should ask for?

Thanks in advance for any info, -- Rob


Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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It is not easily detectable on a physical. There are other tests (expensive) that would need to be done. Check out the FB group at the following link - they have tons of information. Note, the group does not take kindly to comments that are not according to the rules. So I would suggest reading all the information they have available in addition to the current posts and you should get a good idea of what tests people are doing. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TaurineDCM/

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Unfortunately not, which is why so many people are being shocked and stunned when their dogs are diagnosed with only days left to live.   Many times there are no symptoms until the dog is close to complete heart failure.

It sounds like your vet is on top of things and s/he should be able to advise you of what diagnostic tools to access.  The easiest and cheapest is a simple chest xrays, though that will only show large changes in the size of the heart.  There is also a blood test, and the ultimate tool of getting an ultrasound - both are rather spendy.

The above linked FB group has a TON of information and it will take you a while to wade through all the "units" and try and gain an understanding of this complicated issue, but it's worth the time.


Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

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Is your vet greyhound savvy? If he did an xray would he know that normal greyhound hearts can be slightly enlarged?


 

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Thanks for the quick replies. I will go over the links this weekend. I tend to avoid x-rays (for myself or dogs) when possible, but if the vet recommends it will probably get that. My vet is not a greyhound specialist, but has been seeing Logan (and Max before that) for the whole time I have had them, and they seem to know the greyhound quirks.

As far as I recall, this is the first time the vet has sent out a client base-wide email, so they do seem to be taking it seriously.


Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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An Xray, as others have said, would be your first way of detecting a significant (not just greyhound) enlargement. If your vet hears a significant (not just greyhound) murmur they may also want to do more testing. They can test for taurine levels in the blood, but be aware that in many DCM cases taurine levels have been normal. An echocardiogram is the only real test that can definitively diagnose the issue, but your vet will be able to talk more about whether they think you should do that. Some clinics have held echo clinics so that lots of dogs can be tested in a short amount of time, and at least for us, I think an echo was going to run us around $300 (cardiologists advised it wasn't necessary in our case). So depending on your level of comfort/ability to spend, you can see what you can/want to do in your area.

The biggest thing right away is to get on a different food, which it sounds like you have done.

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I brought my Penny in because she was off her food.  Vet notice during the exam that Penny's heart rate was very high and there was an odd sound from her heart.  She brought Penny into the back where a couple of other vets listened and concurred.  They set me up as an emergency patient at the cardiologist for the next day.  Among other things, Penny had an ultrasound and an electrocardiogram. and was diagnosed with DCM.  We now feed Purina proplan 7+. ( FYI, I live in Delaware. and that emergency visit was just short of $!K).  She had a checkup in May, and cardiologist is quite pleased.  He even saw a slight improvement.  She takes Vetmedin and L-carnatine, which is a supplement I get at The Vitamin Shoppe.  Be forewarned:  Vetmedin is quite pricey, and one of its ingredients is scarce for some reason.  So far my vet has been able to get it.  Vetmedin is compoundable, if that one ingredient is available.  The irony is, I fed TOTW because it didn't cause my dogs to have crystals in their urine, not because it is grain free.  So far, no crystals... 

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Unfortunately, the ONLY test that can rule out -- or rule in -- DCM is an echocardiogram.  You can't tell from blood tests or chest x-rays.  


oldrunners, I'm glad your girl is showing some improvement.


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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this is the teaching facility that used to look for greyhounds for their echocardiogram clinic. i am sure there are clinics nationwide and you might be able to hook up with one for a free echo. all of my gh have participated, it's time consuming- 2-3 hrs but the dogs did well. they stopped using a mild sedative on the dogs years ago, i was at the table with them. some research might provide a free-bee for your pup. 

https://www.universalimaginginc.com/workshop-companion-animal/

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