Stormborn's Fierce Tempest inherited one copy of the variant we tested for Dilated Cardiomyopathy, DCM1
Tempest is at increased risk for DCM1
Tempest has one copy of a variant in the PDK4 gene associated with increased risk for DCM in the American Doberman Pinscher. This variant, also referred to as DCM1, is inherited in a dominant manner, meaning having one or two copies of this variant is thought to confer the same amount of risk. However, the variant is thought to have incomplete penetrance: That is, not all dogs with this variant will ultimately show signs of DCM. Moreover, the impact of this variant in other breeds of dog besides the Doberman has yet to be fully understood. However, if your veterinarian thinks Tempest shows signs of having DCM based on their diagnostic testing, you now have the opportunity to discuss early treatment. Please consult with your veterinarian regarding a diagnostic and treatment plan for Tempest.
DCM is the most common acquired heart disease of adult dogs. The heart has two heavily muscled ventricles that pump blood away from the heart. This disease causes progressive weakening of the ventricles by reducing the muscle mass, which causes the ventricles to dilate. Dilated ventricles do not contract and circulate oxygenated blood well, which eventually leads to heart failure.
This disease can rarely be seen in puppies and young adults. It is typically seen in middle aged to older dogs.
In the early stages of DCM, you will likely not notice any changes in your dog. DCM typically presents at the end stages of the disease, when the heart is failing. Signs include weakness, cold toes and ears, blue-grey gums and tongue, and respiratory distress. If you see these signs, take your dog immediately to an emergency veterinarian!
The earlier a diagnosis can be reached, the better the outcome. If you are concerned about your dog’s heart, discuss it with your veterinarian who can run basic preliminary tests. They may recommend a visit to a veterinary cardiologist for a complete evaluation, including an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram).
Treatment is completely dependent on how advanced the disease is at the time of diagnosis. It can range from monitoring the patient periodically to intensive hospitalization at specialty veterinary practices.
- The cause of this disease is multifactorial and not completely understood. Genetics, nutrition, infections and environmental exposures can all play a role in the development of DCM. In fact, DCM has recently been featured extensively in the news due to suspected nutritional deficiencies in some grain free diets.
- Annual echocardiograms by a board certified cardiologist and annual Holter monitoring are the best ways to diagnose DCM early.