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Laika's Health

  • HD A/B (2008)
  • ED 0/0 (2008)
  • eyes (PHTVL/PHPV grade 1 (2008); PHTVL/PHPV grenzfall (2012 - Germany))
  • full dentition, scissor bite
  • Neck & Spine: mild anomaly at C5-C6 diagnosed in 2008, repeated x-rays of entire spine in 2012 showed no spondylosis anywhere and no anomaly of the neck
  • Liver (ALT, AST) normal (08/2010, 05/2011, 03/2012, 10/2012, 08/2013, 05/2014)
  • Thyroid: T4 on lowest value within the reference range (08/2010), T4 below reference range but no hypothyroidism diagnosed due to lack of symptoms and because the veterinarian assumed she was a sighthound crossbreed (!) even though I told him she is a pure bred doberman (05/2011), T4 undetectable (03/2012) -> severe hypothyroidism diagnosed (idiopathic thyroid atrophy, since no antibodies (TgAA, T4A or T3A) were detected)
  • Heart: DCM diagnosed 03/2012 (Dr Kresken, Duisburg Kaiserberg: ECG = normal, clinical = normal, Doppler ultrasound = occult DCM); mild progression of DCM 10/2012 (Dr Schmidt, Kaltenkirchen: ECG = normal, clinical = normal, Doppler ultrasound = occult DCM, no valve regurgiation); improvement of some DCM symptoms, reduction of left ventricle size, reduction of E-Point septal separation, Fractional shortening improved to same value it was at first diagnosis (Dr Maijlandt, Gråsten: ECG = normal, clinical = normal, Doppler ultrasound = occult DCM, no valve regurgiation)
  • Heart: cardiological examination by Dr Maijlandt, Gråsten in September 2013: ECG (15 minutes) = normal, clinical = normal, Doppler ultrasound: normal. In Dr Maijlandt's opinion this is a case of acquired DCM secondary to hypothyroidism. He feels the whole history of this development since diagnosis in 03/2012 supports this opinion.
  • Heart: cardiological examination by Dr Maijlandt, Gråsten on June 12th, 2014: ECG (15 minutes) severe bradycardia with less than 45 beats per minute, absent P-Wave, occasional atrial fibrilation. In his expert opinion the symptoms she showed at that point were not due to (hereditary) DCM. What he was seeing had something to do with neruological/nerve problems leading to significantly abnormal heart action. We attemped treatment with Solanin, unfortunately she died 4.5 days after we attempted treatment.
  • ACE inhibitor: ACE-inhibitor intolerance (to both Vasotop/Ramipril & Fortekor/Benazepril equally bad) resulting in angioedema of the throat, mouth and lungs, the dog collapsed, was unable to get up without help, etc -> treatment discontinued. Cause may have been an allergy (unlikely - because she reacted to two unrelated substances) or a problem with the bradykinin system, which would only cause any symptoms if a dog is treated with this specific class of drugs but not under any ordinary circumstances in life. The latter seems more likely, but, really, we do not know.
  • medication: Vetmedin (Pimobendan) from March 2012 until September 2013, Thyroxine, received Spironolactone from September 2012 until September 2013. 
  • In August 2013 she had slightly elevated levels of red blood cells. We don't relly have an explanation for that. Since it is a mild elevation it is probably irrelevant.
  • recently Laika has developed skin rashes when treated with a specific kind of worming medication. She does not develop this kind of skin problems with any other kind of worming medication (she can take Milbemax, but not Drontal). The skin problems resolve without further issues within two or three days. We have no idea why that is. 
  • no known food or enviornmental allergies


I have had some people ask me about my vaccination regimen for this dog: Laika traveled across borders with me on a regular basis and thus needed a valid rabies vaccination. When I visited dog shows or trials in Scandinavia - even if she was just a guest - she was required to have a valid vaccination for Parvovirosis, canine infectious Hepatitis (I think?) and Distemper. Therefore she recived rabies, parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper and kennel cough vaccines every 2-3 years depending on manufacturers instructions. She also received a combi-vaccine which contains Leptospirosis since living in Germany as our vet does not have one without Leptosiprosis in stock. However, I do not re-vaccinate for Leptospirosis (or kennel cough) annually. She was not vaccinated against Lyme disease or received any other fancy vaccine available. She received vaccines I need for my normal activities at intervals required by the regulating authorities. I also feel obliged to contribute to the so called "herd immunity" within the dog community. By having dogs with sufficient antibodies against the diseases (ok - if we believe most studies then the vaccination intervals can be much larger than the common three years and still immunity is perfectly adequate) I can contribute to preventing a major outbreak of any of the diseases and thus keep puppies and sick dogs with compromised immunity safe. 

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