Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common cardiac disease in large breed dogs and is inherited in Doberman Pinschers with a high prevalence (58%).
Objective: The European Society for Veterinary Cardiology convened a task force to formulate screening guidelines for DCM in Dobermans.
Recommendations: Screening for occult DCM in Dobermans should start at three years of age and use both Holter monitoring and echocardiography. Yearly screening over the life of the dog is recommended, as a one-time screening is not sufficient to rule out future development of DCM. The preferred echocardiographic method is the measurement of the left ventricular volume by Simpson's method of discs (SMOD). Less than 50 single ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) in 24 h are considered to be normal in Dobermans, although detection of any number of VPCs is cause for concern. Greater than 300 VPCs in 24 h or two subsequent recordings within a year showing between 50 and 300 VPCs in 24 h is considered diagnostic of occult DCM in Dobermans regardless of the concurrent echocardiographic findings. The guidelines also provide recommendations concerning ancillary tests, that are not included in the standard screening protocol, but which may have some utility when recommended tests are not available or financially untenable on an annual basis. These tests include assay of cardiac biomarkers (Troponin I and N-Terminal pro-B-type Natriuretic Peptide) as well as a 5-min resting electrocardiogram (ECG).
Conclusion: The current guidelines should help to establish an early diagnosis of DCM in Dobermans.
Keywords: Ambulatory electrocardiogram; B-type natriuretic peptide; Biomarker; Simpson's method of discs; Troponin.
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