To all Greensands clients with large breed dogs (or Cocker Spaniels) over 3 years:
We would like to invite you to bring your dog to the practice to discuss a new screening programme for a type of heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). This is a disease of the heart muscle whereby it becomes weak and no longer able to contract properly. As a result, the heart becomes dilated, hence the name dilated cardiomyopathy.
Certain large and giant breed dogs (and also Cocker Spaniels) over the age of 3 are at an increased risk of developing DCM, which is why we have written to you.
There are two phases to DCM; firstly a long “silent” phase, in which the heart has the disease and is slowly deteriorating but there are no outward signs of a problem yet. Dogs in this first phase appear outwardly healthy and happy. The second phase is a shorter “overt” phase where the heart can no longer cope and starts to fail. At this point outward signs of the disease start to be seen.
Until recently, treatment was only given when dogs showed overt signs of heart disease. However, recent studies have proven that if we can detect these dogs earlier on, before there are any outward signs, we can significantly delay the onset of heart failure and improve their lifespan.
A simple 2-step screening programme is now available; the first step involves a 20 minute appointment with one of our nurses who will take a blood sample for a heart blood test. This blood test measures the levels of a substance called pro-BNP, which is released into the blood stream when the heart muscle stretches excessively, such as in dogs with DCM. This test is available to you for £15 (the normal price of this test is £65.03).
The second step is recommended in dogs that have a high pro-BNP blood test result and involves a non-painful, non-invasive ultrasound scan of the heart. We will discuss this in more depth if the blood test indicates the need for a scan.
Currently 1 in 5 dogs that are undertaking the blood test have recorded an abnormal result; this means that a large number of dogs who appear outwardly healthy and happy are going on to be diagnosed with “silent” DCM and having their lifespan extended thanks to early intervention.
Please call us on 01908 282101 today to arrange an appointment, but due to the popularity of this offer, the next available appointment may be in a week or twos time.
The Greensands Team