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J Vet Cardiol. 2002 May;4(1):17-24. doi: 10.1016/S1760-2734(06)70019-4.

Dilated cardiomyopathy in Doberman Pinschers: Survival, Causes of Death and a Pedigree Review in a Related Line.

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Veterinary Faculty, Clinic for Surgery and Small Animal Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Cesta v Mestni log 47, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.



To analyze clinical, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic characteristics, survival, cause of death and possible modes of inheritance of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Doberman pinschers (DP) and to compare the occurrence and survival with dogs of other breeds. Dogs - Two cohorts of dogs were studied: 1. A consecutive series of 52 dogs of different breeds with DCM were included, 21 were Doberman pinschers and 31 dogs belonged to other breeds: 2. 28 asymptomatic Doberman pinschers, who were screened for DCM. Methods - Medical records of dogs with DCM were reviewed. Physical, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic examinations were performed on asymptomatic Doberman pinschers. Their pedigrees were reviewed.


Doberman pinschers survived on average 52 days (range <1-180), while dogs of other breeds survived significantly longer, i.e. 240 days (<1-1230). Survival of Doberman pinschers in congestive heart failure (mean 62, range <1-180) was not different from survival of Doberman pinschers with sudden death (mean 33, range <1-105). High prevalence, short survival time and the clinical course of DCM in Doberman pinschers showed similarities to previous studies. Twenty-one percent of asymptomatic Doberman pinschers had increased left ventricular end-systolic diameter and 14% developed DCM within a year. A line of Doberman pinschers with multiple members affected with DCM was identified by the review of their pedigrees. Exact mode of inheritance could not be established.


The prognosis of Doberman pinschers with DCM is poor. Further molecular genetic studies, which would enable detection and exclusion of disease carriers from the breeding, are necessary.

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