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DCM Heart Screening

There is now a new screening programme for a type of canine heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Certain large and giant breed dogs over the age of 3 are at an increased risk of developing DCM. 

There are two phases to DCM:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
As dogs in the first phase of the disease appear outwardly normal it is incredibly difficult to identify which dogs have a problem. 

To diagnose dogs in this silent phase we have to perform specific screening tests to assess the heart. 

A simple 3-step screening programme is now available

  1. A full clinical examination with emphasis on the heart with one of the Vets - cost £33.
  2. A 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.  We currently have access to 100 free tests, but they will run out promptly. (Normal price £101.50)
  3. For dogs with abnormal Pro-BNP results only the next step is non-painful, non-invasive ultrasound scan of the heart.

Breeds most at risk are:

  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Boxer
  • Newfoundland
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • St Bernard
  • Dalmatian

Other medium/large and giant breeds can also be affected, including Cocker Spaniels, Labradors and Golden Retrievers.

If your dog is over 3 years old and is one of the breeds that is predisposed to DCM we would strongly suggest that you bring them in for a check-up and free heart blood test. Early diagnosis is key in prolonging good quality life.

For more information, advice and videos

To book your appointment please call us on 01525 373329 or book online

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