+++ You live(d) together with a heart sick Labrador Retriever? Please get in touch with us! +++
Nevios breeder did a normal litter control with him. Also in later vaccinations and general examinations his heart got tested but nobody heard the heart murmurs or the right sided 'buzzing'. It was exactly the same with Schröder. According to the cardiologists Dr. Kirsch in Pforzheim, Dr. Skordzki in Berlin and Dr. Kattinger in Brandenburg, tricuspid valve dysplasia for example can be diagnosed, to a certain degree, just by precisely right sited listening to the heart. The method of choice for a reliable diagnosis is the heart ultrasound. If you don’t listen – according to the cardiologists – exactly where the 'buzzing' is you might think it is a normal heart beat. If Nevios stomach wouldn’t have been X-rayed because of multiple vomiting or Schröders primary tooth wouldn’t have been locked – maybe both dogs wouldn’t even have been diagnosed until sudden cardiac death.
Furthermore it appears that both dogs don’t show any signs of symptoms when the diagnosis were set. They sure had a reduced performance or were faster exhausted then healthy dogs, but if you don’t know about the heart disease, based on their behavior you never assumed it. At this time it already was possible to feel the 'buzzing' by specifically laying your hand on the dogs right chests.
These are the reasons why it is of great importance to pursue heart ultrasounds being approved as routine examination before or rather when the final check of the litter gets done.
The answer to this question is easy and clear: Knowledge is power!
On the one hand you can make your dog’s life so much easier with the optimal pharmaceutical application and therefor interfere positively to his life expectancy: by improving the clinical symptoms, by for example specific dehydrating of the enlarged heart regions, by preventing the body from edema, by increasing the performance and by generally supporting your dog’s heart. On the other hand you and your dog can adjust your leisure activities and daily routine to the heart disease and therefor contribute to a greater well-being: more little meals, to avoid stress, and much more (comparing with the chapter about 'recommendations for everyday life').
Besides – like already described – it is really important for your dog’s health to know about the disease so you can start with the right medication as soon as possible and to show consideration for the disease in your daily schedule. So it will be – with a little distance to the diagnosis – certainly also better for you to know about the disease. In the beginning you’ll be concerned all the time, that’s normal – we were too. But if you try to not see the diagnosis as an enemy but to make the best out of the situation it can be very helpful. Imagine you wouldn’t know about your dog’s heart disease. Please consider: the heart disease would still be there. Your dog would just suffer more. Your dog would live with the disease more or less good and possibly die just one day while playing. You’re probably going to ask yourself if you could have noticed something, if you could have done something different… And yes: you could have, if you would have known. You can’t heal your dog but you can make sure that he can get along with it. You can make sure that the heart disease with the optimal pharmaceutical application doesn’t get worse but stagnates for long time. You can support your dog to get along with the disease. But to do so it is important to know as soon as possible about it. And maybe you’ll life a little bit more conscious with your dog, overlook some effronteries better or love some of your dog’s faults even more. But please do not wrap your dog in cotton wool – he doesn’t know about his heart disease and is going to take advantage of your compliance shamelessly. Please do not get handcuffed by the diagnosis. Just always remember: the diagnosis is not at all an enemy. It’ll give you the chance to support your dog in the best way possible.
Beyond this there are heart diseases like for example PDA which (at best early detected) can be treated surgically.
We made the best experience with the specialized animal cardiologists of the Collegium Cardiologicum e.V. and would always get an ultrasound from a specialist again. Important is that you contact a veterinarian close to your home who does Labrador examinations accompanying.
Firstly it is important to call attention on heart diseases in Labrador Retriever. While the animal cardiologists describe some heart diseases as recurrent in Labrador Retrievers, the Labrador Club Deutschland e.V. knows just about for example two tvd-affected dogs. From the Deutscher Retriever Club e.V. we don’t have a statement.
Especially when it comes to possibly genetic heart diseases it is also important to inform your breeder and to contact the owners of your dogs litter siblings. Just with a heart ultrasound you know if one of the siblings is affected as well or if even the dogs father or mother unknown is affected itself. We can just hope that breeders and stud owners from affected litters draw the necessary conclusion in their Kennel as long as no official information are known about specific lines as a source of the hereditary disease. If you own an affected dog, please inform the Collegium Cardiologium e.V.. All the relevant data is going to be collected there.
Furthermore we would like you to contact us so we can put your dog’s name on our list of affected dogs. If your dog suffers from tvd, we also would appreciate if you would send us a blood sample of your affected dog to support us with the planned study about genetic causes of tricuspid valve dysplasia. More information about it you can find here.