Doberman Health Problems

Doberman Health

The song..."Everything I do" Dedicated to My Dear Jamie and all the other Dear unfortunate Dobermans that acquire Cardio and other devastating diseases and to our Great and Wonderful Research teams that are trying to rid us of these devastating diseases!

Cardio Update...1/22/99!

Another "New" Very Excellent Explantory Article on Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dobermans!

For more Health information go to Page 2 after reading this page!...Click here: to go to Page 2...

For more Health information go to Page 3 after reading this page!...Click here: to go to Page 3...

Doberman Health Problems

More On A New Research Study for Dobermans and Cardiomyopathy!

A Note from: Cardiologist at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Keith Strickland....Date...January 2000!
I just got a grant funded by the Doberman Pinscher Foundation of America.
The grant will be supporting some clinical research that we will be starting up soon here at the Vet School. If you have any contacts with the Doberman groups I would also appreciate if you would have them contact me regarding this upcoming clinical trial.
The study will basically look at three things:
1) endothelin levels in normal and cardiomyopathic Dobes,
2) sudden cardiac death risk stratification in cardiomyopathic Dobes utilizing QT analysis, and
3) adjunctive therapy with pentoxifylline for Dobes with congestive heart failure.
Participants in the study will receive a free blood analysis for endothelin-1, free 12-lead ECG(s), free adjunctive therapy for those with heart failure, discounted office visit(s), and a discounted echocardiogram(s).
If You live near there, its a wonderful opportunity to participate in this program!


Dr.O'Grady, from Guelph Univ. in Canada is having a Holter Monitor Project, this is Worldwide!

A Brief Explanation of the Project:
The research program involves well , or asymptomatic Dobermans only.
They must be purebred dogs, but not necessarily have papers. It is a
long term project which involves placing a monitor on the dog for a 24
hr period, and this test will be repeated once a year for the rest of
the dog's life. The information will be analyzed and a report sent to
the owner. There is a fee or contribution of $?? per dog. As a contact
person it is your task to find and organize a group of Doberman fanciers
which are interested in participating.
For More Complete Information and If you would Like to Participate and Be a Contact Person,
Please Contact:
Marilyn Bantock
Dobermans Holter Monitor!


Some informative Veterinary Links to help you understand some diseases...Down Further on this page is info On VWD and Cardio among other things!

For Information on "Canine Renal Dysplasia", Go to Free Med Search and ALSO Cornell University Consultant, and Put the words "Canine Renal Dysplasia" in the search , you will get explanation and abstracts on the disease. Both Links to Free Med Search and Cornell Consultant are below!

I have put some links on here to help answer some of your questions and also placed some information below, I hope this helps in understanding some of the diseases our beloved dobies get, and what can be done for them...

"Important"...CPR Instructions for Animals!!!....Print it and keep on Hand!

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia Page, I took this artilce out of my Merck Vet Manual!

VETINFO....Encyclopedia of Canine Veterinary Medical Information...NEW

"Important"...ASPCA/National Animal Poison Control Center

A *Online* Veterinary Magazine with tons of Info and Links!

A Holistic and Homeopathic Site with Great Explanation of Produts and their uses!

First Aid Instructions for "BLOAT"...Print this and Keep on hand!

Pictorial First Aid Treatment and Instructions for Bloat.

Click on Pets Dogs, THEN Health & Medical...Lots of Good Info

Dog Diseases and Vaccinations

Demodectic Mange Information!

Article on Giardiasis in Dogs and Cats Part 1

Article on Giardiasis in Dogs and Cats Part 2

Giardia Vaccine Information

This Site has a abundance of Good Veterinary Links!

Respiratory Problems in Dogs

Toxins (poisons) that affect Dogs

Immune Disorders that Affect Dogs

Eye Disorders of Dogs

Neurologic Diseases and Disorders of Dogs

Hormonal Disorders of the Dog

Digestive Problems of Dogs

The American Canine Association, America's Largest Veterinary Health Tracking Canine Registry.

The American Kennel Club, Canine Health Foundation.

Urinary Incontinence in Dogs!

Spaying and Castration, Pro's, Con's, Myth's and Dobermans!

Thyroid Dysfunction can Alter Behavior!

Doberworld Faq on Special Medical Problems in the Doberman.

Eliminating Genetic Diseases in Dogs

Guide To Congenital And Heritable Disorders in Dogs

Canine Genetics Projects

Dog Health Info Site!

Canine Epilepsy Information Page!

Medportal Com, Just enter Medical Term to be searched, such as Canine Cardiomyopathy for Example!

Medline Cardiomyopathy Articles.

Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Wobbler's Syndrome Article

Pancreatic Problems

Stress, Infertility and Herpes Infection

Natural Pet Care & Information

Veterinary Medicine, Nutrition and Health

Canine Medical Information, Part I

Canine Medical Information, Part II

Polluted Pet Food...Important Read!

Autoimmune Diseases

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture(ACL)

Holistic Veterinary Resources

Information about Contacting Holistic Chiropractors and Veterinarians

Links to Holistic and Homeopathy Veterinary Sites

Holistic Resource Page

Another Great Holistic Resource Page, with listings of resources all over the US

Best Friends Animal Net, online info magazine!

Free Medline Search, Can search Veterinary Articles as well as Human Articles

The Virtual Veterinary Center...tons of info...

Dogs...Preventative Vaccines...

Diseases Acquired from Dogs!

Cornell Univ. Vet Site...also has Consultant can get diagnosis and symptoms on any species, on many diseases...cardio, vwd, thyroid...etc...its very informative...check it out!!!

Vet Sites Worldwide...

Vet Guidlines to Anesthesia in Dogs

Possible link between diet and disease in the dog

Disease Chart!

Canine "Lyme Disease"

LYME Disease Vaccination!

LYME Disease Update!

LYME Disease-General Information and FAQ!

LYME Disease Survery!

Canine Erlichiosis !

LYME Disease Abstract!

Public Health and FAQ Sheet on LYME Disease!

Other diseases cased by the Tick...EHRLICHIOSIS AND BABESIOSIS

Information on Addisons Disease in the dog

Cushing's Disease or Hyperadrenocorticism

Acral Lick Granulomas

Faq Info on Hypothyroidism, Cushings, and Addison Disease in dogs

Heritary Diseases in dogs...a Golden page but explain many heritary diseases, such as Hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, VWD, etc...

Veterinary Oncology Topics... by Kevin A. Hahn, DVM, PhD

Oncology Page, many aspects of cancer in pets...

Info on a Heartdrug for Cardiomyopathy

Wobbler's Syndrome

Cardio Article By Dr. Kathryn Meurs, DVM

Neuroscience Web Page...Type Veterinary in Search

How and Where to Purchase the "Merck Veterinary Manual in book or electronic disk form


Here is the latest Updated information on VWD and testing!

This article was sent to me by Dr. Pat Venta, Mich, State Univ. Research.... A major breakthrough for Dobermans with VWD, the bleeders disease, and a way to finally delete it from our breed thru discrimate breeding!

Dobermans can tell with 100% accuracy whether or not an animal has the mutation that leads to von Willebrand's disease. The answer you get is either clear, carrier, or affected. There is no factor value that is reported because the testing is all done at the DNA level. There is also no need to re-test, because the answer is always the same. You can test at any age, and the test is non-invasive. You simply swab the inside of the dog's mouth with a soft brush that is supplied, and return the brush by regular mail. The two universities involved in the research (Michigan State University and the University of Michigan) have licensed the technology to a company that specializes in canine genetic testing called VetGen (Ann Arbor, Michigan). The scientists there have also helped to set up the test. There are three reasons for turning the test over to a company. (1) It frees the university researchers time to develop more tests for important canine genetic diseases (for example, I am currently working on cardiomyopathy in Dobes). (2) The results are strictly confidential. The idea is that more people will participate, and get the disease out of their lines. (3) It gives breeders easy access to the tests and one place where the test is always available. You will get excellent service and results within two weeks. The price for the test is $135. I know that this is higher than the older blood test, but you will only ever need to test the animal once and the result will be accurate. The people at VetGen are always helpful, and supply suggested ways in which to breed out the disease gene, while maintaining the desirable characteristics of a line and a breed. The last thing in the world anyone wants to do is cause more problems by restricting the gene pool! You can contact them by calling 1-800-4VETGEN (I always forget the number). They also have a Web page at

Click Here to go to VetGen

You can also contact them by regular e-mail at:

Click here to go to List of Dobermans
that tested Clear with the Vetgen Test


Some information on Cardiomyopathy in Dobermans


There is A Excellent Explanation About Doberman Dilated Cardiomyopathy on the DPFA Website, I feel its a Must for every Doberman Owner to read!!!! The Recommendation is that Dobermans be tested for Cardiomyopathy once a year every year, as a annual checkup, and a Excellent Recommendation that is and should be taken to heart! Early Detection can give your dog More quality time with you thru treatment, in many cases!
Doberman Cardiomyopathy...What Can Be Done Now!

Doberman Cardiomyopathy Research...Dr. O'Grady

More on Doberman Cardiomyopathy Research

DoberWorld Heart Faqs!





Doberman Pinscher Health Foundation Information!

James Anable's Information on Cardiomyopathy!

Doberman Faq and Cardiomyopathy!

Cardiology Concepts!

Guelph Univ. Clinical Studies!

Veterinary Heart Institute

There are many diseases that we are all aware of that affect many different breeds. And some are very devastating and debilitating to our beloved pets and to us as their owners. But most diseases can be treated and controlled. Dilatated Cardiomyopathy, a progressive heart disease is a terminal disease. This is very prevalent in Doberman Pinschers and some other breeds. There is research being done and new drugs, but it has not yet been conquered. Hypothyroidism can also be linked to heart problems. No one is positive if it is heriditary or why certain dogs get this disease. Sometimes if it is caught in the early stages, medication can be given and you can have the dog monitored periodically. The quality of the dogs life can be improved and possiblily lenghtened.

The smart thing to do if you suspect it may be in your dogs lines, is to have your dog examined periodically or once a year specifically for this. When you start seeing signs or symptoms of Cardiomyopathy, then the disease is somewhat advanced already. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all, and your dog is lost unexpectedly, so the periodic vetchecks are a must! Signs to watch for are: unnatural tiredness when the dog is playing or exercising, coughing or gagging, shortness of breath, problems breathing or fainting. If you find out your dog has Cardio, it can be very devastating, but in a small way you can help to try and irridicate this disease and help with the research.

ALSO:When thinking of purchasing a puppy, go to Reputable Breeders, That Health Test and Tell and Show proof of testing. Both Sire and Dam should be tested for Hips, Thyroid, VWD, Eyes and Recent Ultrasound on Both Sire and Dam for Cardio prior to breeding should be done, Although this only tells the dogs are free of the disease, (dilated cardiomyopathy), at the time of testing, further research of both sire and dams pedigree's pertaining to health and longevity in the lines should also be presented by the Breeders. A Honest Responsible Breeder will provide you with this information!


Dr. Patrick Venta at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. He is doing DNA testing trying to find the genetic link for Cardio. They are taking blood test samples and tissue samples, if possible of affected dogs. Would like the dogs pedigree and blood tests of the siblings and relatives also, if possible. She can be contacted at (517)353-3782. 9am to 4pm, Mich. time Mon. thru Fri. They are being sponsored by the DPCA. There are no charges and your vet can take care of the details.


Since my Jamie has been diagnosed with Cardio in August of 95, Ive had him on the usual Heart Mediations as well as some holistic meds...The Cardiologist and his vet, arent sure what helped him live two happy healthy years with this disease, as many Dobes, once diagnosed dont live this long, although, Jamie has worsed this past week, he has had two+ wonderful, happy unrestricted I am going to put up a page of all the meds Jamie has been on for a bit over two years. I get many requests for this, and rather than write it out over and over I will put it to page! AND....I MUST STATE....Dont ever give your Dobe anything without First Consulting your Vet, Every situation is different I hope that this page can help some people and their beloved Dobermans!

Click Here: To go to Jamies Medication Page!


I am very deeply saddened and sorry to annouce the tragic news, that Tracy Hammer, who was very dedicated to the Doberman Cardiomyopathy Research project, and a tremendous credit to the Doberman Community, was on the fatal flight #800 out of New York to Paris! This is a very Tragic loss...she will be greatly and sadly missed by all who knew her, her family and the Doberman Community... There is a Memorial Fund being developed in Tracy's name that will go to the Doberman Cardiomyopathy research project...

Tracy was on her way along with her mother to present her findings of the past years on Doberman Cardiomyopathy to an animal genetics convention. Dr. Venta went in her place to present this valuable information. I am under the impression that this valuable research project will continue and is not in jeopardy, when I get the information as to whom to send and request information to, I will also post that here. Again my sincere condolences go out to the family of Tracy Hammer!

Here is a Letter From Tracy that was sent to the UDC Club, explaining Cardiomyopathy, that I was graciously allowed to post here and also Places where you may Donate to the Memorial funds! Please note where you are sending the funds to, if You want to send directly to the Cardiomyopathy Research Fund project, please read following instructions and and respond accordingly...


Manager's Note: The following message was prepared and posted by Tracy Hammer on the United Doberman Club Mail List. It is republished here to promote education and research. My Jamie is suffering from this fatal disease, and it is my hope that this message will increase public awareness of this problem.

Thank you, Louise Neumann



I would like to address the cardio question in Dobes. I am a DVM/PhD student whose thesis project is entitled, The Genetic Basis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Doberman Pinschers. I have been investigating the disease for almost 2 years and have collected over 250 DNA samples from many dobes who are affected with DCM and their relatives (either affected or unaffected). Many of the dogs are related, even though they come from various areas of the country. (As you can imagine).

The following information is part of our DCM project packet that we send to owners and breeders who are interested in participation in the study.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a fatal heart condition that affects many breeds of dogs, including Doberman Pinschers. Dogs with DCM may suffer from exercise intolerance, shortness of breath, a pendulous abdomen (ascites) and coughing. Affected animals may have a very rapid heart rate, greater than 180 beats per minute. Chest radiographs of the dog may reveal a grossly enlarged heart resembling a basketball in the chest cavity. An echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, will demonstrate a large, flabby heart that has lost much of its ability to pump blood through the body. The inefficiency of the heart's pumping action causes the clinical symptoms of the disease. Exercise intolerance, pale mucous membranes, fainting and lethargy result from poor circulation to distal body parts.

Excessive panting, ascites, and reluctance to lie down result from a backup of blood in the lungs and abdominal organs that causes fluid to leak out of the blood vessels (due to increased hydrostatic pressure). As the disease progresses, the heart loses more contractility and dilates due to pooling of blood in the chambers. Another name for Dilated Cardiomyopathy is congestive heart failure, so named for the congestion, or pooling, of blood in the heart, lungs and liver. (Please keep in mind that some dogs are asymptomatic and can die acutely from sudden cardiac arrrhythmias).

There is no cure for this disease. Once diagnosed, an affected Doberman usually lives for 3-6 months before its hear fails completley. Although the condition can be managed medically with cardiac drugs, vasodilators, and diuretics, these simply alleviate the symptoms of coughing, dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and fluid retention. The dog's quality of life will improve with drug therapy, but eventually the heart becomes too damaged to respond to the medications.

The disease appears to be genetic in nature since many affected dogs are related. DCM in the Doberman was first noted in the 1950's when 3 of the founding sires of the breed in the US appeared to have died acutely form "heart attacks". In the 1970's veterinarians noted a high incidence of congestive heart failure in male Dobermans. Although the disease predominantly affects males, females contract the disease as well. A survey of the Vet Med Data Base revealed that 75% of the affected dogs were male, and 25% were female. The ratios in my database are approximately 60-40. (I haven't tallied the numbers lately).

There is a penetrance problem for the disease, meaning that not all dogs who carry the diseased allele will demonstrate the trait. We have created age penetrance curves that can estimate how likely a dog of a certain age is to develop cardio. For example, a female 10 years old has a 25% chance of getting the disease. These numbers will change to become more accurate as more and more affected and unaffected dog samples are collected. (My plug to get involved!!:)) The Vet Med Data Base also revealed that Dobes have 3X the incidence of DCM that is present in the general canine population.

I know this is long winded, and I have a lot more that I can write. I will hold off for a while to see what kinds of comments people have. There is some opinion that all Dobes are predisposed to DCM since normal echo values are decreased in Dobes than in other breeds. This research has been published by Clay Calvert, Georgia and Mike O'Grady, Guelph.

Please let me know if I can fill in any gaps that I probably left in this dialog.

All pedigree information is confidential.

Tracy Hammer


I received this letter from Pat Venta today, 11-13-97:

have two choices. One is that they can send it directly to Dr. Venta,
with an indication that it is for research on Doberman cardio. He
will take it to the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM)
Development Office and they will put it into the cardio research
account. The Dean of the College and Dr. Venta will send a letter of
acknowledgment. In addition, the Development Office sends a form
letter before the end of the year giving a tax number, because all
donations made to the University are tax deductible. The letter also
says that no services for the donation were received, to make the IRS happy.

The other choice is to sent it directly to the Development Office with
a note saying that it is for the Tracy Hammer Doberman Pinscher
Cardiomyopathy Research Fund. The one very small drawback here is
that it sometimes takes awhile before Dr. Venta knows that the
donation has been made. This is, otherwise, an excellent option. Dr.
Venta says that Tracy's contributions to the project will be well
acknowledged once the gene is found, no matter how people might wish
to donate. In either case, checks should be made to Michigan State
University. The two addresses are:

Dr. Patrick Venta
Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1314

CVM Development Office
ATTN: Patty Jacobs, Director of Development
A135 East Fee Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1316


You can send Money Directly TO: DPFA, when you want to Donate for Doberman Health Research!

Go to The DPFA Website and Print out the Donation form and send to appropiate person. The DPFA New Website!



is doing research at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville,
on canine growth hormone treatment!


Kathryn M. Meurs, DVM, Ph.D

Doing Research on Cardiomyopathy in Dobermans, and collecting DNA Samples and Pedigree's...Contact Dr. Kate Meurs thru below email!
Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Small Animal Medicine Section
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
1022 Veterinary Hospital
601 Vernon L. Tharp St.
Columbus, OH 43210-1089
Phone: 614-292-3551
Fax: 614-292-0895
Dr. Kate Meurs Homepage!


Other Health Problems to have your Doberman checked for:

To maintain a healthy Doberman you should also have your dog checked for these diseases which Dobermans sometimes acquire. Hypothroidism:-Thyroid deficiencies. - CVI:-Cervical Disk instability, Sometimes called Wobblers - VWD:-A bleeding disorder - Copper toxicity - Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia - hip or elbow dysplasia - eye problems - Heartworm plus other worms - Cancers. Not all Dobermans get these diseases by no means, but this is just posted so you can be aware of some problems that can arise, and possibly have them taken care of in the beginning and early stages. Some of these diseases can be controlled with proper veterinary care and your dog can lead a happy quality life. Like any other breed of dog, you should be aware of your Dobermans actions and health status and have at least a yearly Vet-Check to assure a Happy Healthy Doberman.

Skin and Coat Problems!

Some Dobermans have beautiful glossy coats and others have dull lifeless coats...and Alopecia, which is a medical term for hair loss or bald spots...Many dobes that are blue or fawn get this, or dobes that have thyroid problems also get this... The latter can be due to improper nutrition, illness, Thyroid deficiency, worms, Allergies, etc...Have A Complete Thyroid Panel done and have the Vet send it to Michigan State for Eval, Thyroid can affect many areas of the body, not only the coat!

Canine Alleriges

Canine Immunity Questions and Answers!

Blue Doberman Supplement Page!

Dogfood Comparison Charts

Another thing that dobermans get are lick granulomas, this is where they obsessively lick at a spot till it gets very raw and sore. There are varying reasons for this, some can be habit, stress, boredom, tingling sensations from something going on in the spinal area, most of these sores are on the lower front leg area, around the ankle...This is sometimes very hard to stop your doberman from mutilating himself like this and it becomes obsessive...You have to go to your vet for treatment and this does not always work...
There is something new out by ARC Labs, called Bitter Orange, that is much better than Bitter Apple, horrible to the taste and might just work for Lick Granulomas or surgeries. This can only be had from your Veterinarian.

The Blue and the Fawn colored Doberman tend to have more coat problems...thin coats...dull coats...these colored dobes need extra special attention paid to them to get a better looking coat and sheen to them....They need proper nutrition, brushing, a supplement of safflower oil or pure olive oil, or whatever supplement your veterinarian suggests...and certain vitamins.....Not all Blue's and Fawn's have problems but on the whole, many do.
Here is a link to a site of Jim Anables Storm, who is a blue with a lovely coat, this page shows the supplementation that he uses to keep Storms coat in Top condition...But as with anything, first consult with your vet. to find out if and what supplements you can safely use on your own dog!.... Click Here:...To go to Storms Regime Page!

Other problems you may come across are skin problems...Puppies and younger dogs sometimes get stressed when going to a new home, new training, new surroundings and sometimes their tolerance to fight off disease's is low... They have a very low tolerance with their immune systems. These puppies will sometimes get mange if they are in a stressed situation, you will notice scaley or thinning hair, or bare spots on them , usually around the head, on the face, legs, body...if you notice this ...You should take your dog to the vet to have a skin scraping to see if there are mange mites present and the vet will help you remedy the situation... There are two major types of Mange, Scarcoptic and Demodectic...the latter is a bit harder to get rid of...A Test Should be Done for Thyroi
They can get localized Demodex infection and this can usually be taken care of, or they can get Generalized demodex infection and this usually is very hard to get rid of and possibly never does go away completly and is very costly and the dog sometimes has to be euthanized. It is wise to have the dog spayed or neutered and never breed this animal, as the chances of the puppies from this litter getting the Demodex are very high...Some beleive its a genetic trait in the suppression of the immune system of affected animals. Be safe, try not to buy a puppy affected with this or Never breed one that has gone thru this!

Also when they are stressed or their tolerance level is low they can get Staph Infections...Staph infections should be taken care of as soon as possible and are sometimes very hard to cure...There are different kinds of Staph infections...your vet will be able to help you with that and will give the proper medication....When you notice Bumps, Pimples or Pustules along your Dobes back or on his head...its a good bet he has a Staph infection thru-out his body... Take him to the vet and have him test your dog and treat him for this...It can be very painful for the dog and also make him very ill.

On the Whole...feed your dog a well balanced nutritional dogfood, give proper supplements if needed...the vet can tell you what will help and the dose's, keep your Dobe clean and well brushed, and have timely vet check,s ... Have Fecal checks for worms periodically, stay up on all innoculations, have a complete health check at least once a year, Tests should include, Hips, VWD, a one time DNA test, Complete Thyroid Panel, have vet send to Michigan State, A Ultrasound of the Heart, usually starting at three years of age, A complete Blood Workup, Cerf Test for eyes, and be intuned with how your dobe is feeling...This will help insure a healthy and Happy great looking doberman.

I am not a Veterinarian, but I am trying to give some helpful advice so that if you do notice these problems starting, you can be aware of what may be taking place and go to your veterinarian promply and get the situation under control.

Written and composed by Louise Neumann...not to be used without written permission!

Copyright © 1995 ...All Rights Reserved

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