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Oh My, Myopathy!?!

Your heart sinks when a veterinary patient comes into your clinic with signs that could be related to dilated cardiomyopathy. This is how to confirm that is what you are dealing with and some breed-specific factors that may come in to play.

Doberman pinschers are often considered the poster child for DCM. We are all familiar with the pathophysiology-myocardial disease results in a progressive decrease in myocardial contractility and ventricular dilation. The cause in many cases has not been determined and is, thus, considered to be idiopathic.

In a presentation on dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) at the CVC in San Diego, Barret Bulmer, DVM, MS, DACVIM (cardiology), said that although the likely cause of this form of cardiomyopathy is genetically mediated, there are some conditions that will produce a secondary form of cardiomyopathy that must be ruled out before you can diagnose DCM. And you must differentiate other cardiac diseases that can manifest similar clinical signs. This article reviews the current diagnostic tests for confirming the disease and shares breed differences that may influence your clinical outcome.