Serenity Anderson
Crivitz, WI

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Holter Rental

Heart Issues

Boxers are prone to cardiomyopathy and a list of other heart conditions. In breeding dogs, cardiomyopathy should be screened for annually with a 24 hour EKG (Holter monitor, we own one and will rent it out). The other heart conditions have to be diagnosed with an echocardiogram.

Much like cancer and DM, heart conditions can be late onset, meaning the dogs can appear healthy for years and as they age symptoms can appear. The most common age for cardiomyopathy to arise is 5-7 years old. Dilated cardiomyopathy can be caused from diet or genetics. There is a genetic test for two variations of dilated cardiomyopathy. Boxer cardiomyopathy is not the same as dilated cardiomyopathy. There is a DNA test for one gene that contributes to boxer cardiomyopathy (all of our dogs are negative for this gene), but there are several other genes that are not yet identified for DNA teseting.

Because cardiomyopathy is late onset and there's no DNA test to identify every gene involved, we can do our best to prevent the disease by doing an annual Holter (24 hour EKG) on each of our dogs. For breeding dogs, this is extremely important. For your pets, it's a way to determine your dog's current heart health and reach diagnosis and treatment before it's too late. Many people don't know their dogs have cardiomyopathy until they either experience syncope, or worse, sudden death.

For instance, I tested a young and healthy stud, with no symptoms of heart disease, for a prospect to breed to Lily and never expected a bad Holter report on him. There are different theories as to the amount of VPC's (or PVC's, premature ventricular complex, which is what the Holter is testing for) a dog can have before they're considered to have cardiomyopathy. Some studies say more than 50 VPC's indicates cardiomyopathy. Some say over 100 VPC's indicates cardiomyopathy. But everyone agrees over 500 VPC's is diagnosable as ARVC (cardiomyopathy). This otherwise normal dog tested with 3,076 VPC's. I tested him again a couple weeks later and it was significantly improved at 472 VPC's but neither are healthy.

There are drugs and lifestyle changes that can help prolong the life of a dog with cardiomyopathy and a Holter can help diagnose a problem before there is a problem.

If you would like to use a Holter on your dog, ours is available for rent for $120 for 7 days plus $10 per dog (if testing more than one). $10 will be charged for each additional day. We provide everything you need to do the test. You are responsible for return shipping fees, maintaining the safety of our equipment and replacement cost if damage is incurred. You also will have to either upload the file to Alba yourself and pay the $40 fee, or send the disk back to us with the $40 fee and we can upload it to Alba for you. Results are generally received within 24 business hours.

Contact us if you'd like to discuss renting our digital Holter monitor.