Doberman Health Problems
The song..."Everything I do"...is 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!
For more Health information go to Page 2 after reading this page!...Click
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For more Health information go to Page 3 after reading this page!...Click
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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
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
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
Some informative Veterinary Links to help you understand some
diseases...Down Further on this page is info On VWD and Cardio among other
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
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...
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 http://www.vetgen.com/
You can also contact them by regular e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Cardiomyopathy Research...Dr. O'Grady
on Doberman Cardiomyopathy Research
CANINE IDIOPATHIC DILATED, CONGESTIVE, CARDIOMYOPATHY
ISOLATED RIGHT VENTRICULAR CARDIOMYOPATHY IN DOGS
CANINE HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY
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
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 years...so
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!
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
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
All pedigree information is confidential.
Tracy Hammer Hammertr@zebu.cvm.msu.edu
RESEARCH DONATIONS WHERE TO SEND
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
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
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
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!
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
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
Written and composed by Louise Neumann...not to be used without written
Copyright © 1995 ...All Rights Reserved
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