Dobermans with preclinical dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Please note that this trial is no longer recruiting patients at this time


The goal of this study is to determine the clinical usefulness of a blood test and novel cardiac ultrasound parameters in predicting outcome in Dobermans with DCM (i.e. predicting when they may develop heart failure or sudden death), and to understand more about the changes occurring to heart function as the disease progresses.


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart muscle disease characterized by weak contraction and dilation. It is the most common cardiomyopathy in humans and the second most common acquired heart disease in dogs. The cumulative prevalence is very high in the Doberman pinscher (58%), and other large breed dogs are also affected. These dogs eventually experience congestive heart failure (CHF) or sudden death (SD). The average time from diagnosis to CHF or SD is about 435 days in the Doberman, but with a wide range of months to several years. With current standard monitoring tools it can be very difficult if not impossible to predict time to CHF or SD in an individual patient, yet this is frequently the most common question asked by owners upon diagnosis and follow-up.


  • Study covers cost of bloodwork at all visits & cost of echocardiogram and ECG at enrolment and 3, 9 and 15 months
  • Significantly reduced cost of echocardiogram and ECG at initial screening (to determine if patient qualifies), and 6 and 12 months

Samples Required

Every 3 months from initial screening to 15 months (6 separate visits):

  • Blood
  • Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound)
  • ECG (electrocardiogram) 

Inclusion Criteria

  • Dobermans > 2 years of age with a diagnosis of preclinical DCM based on echocardiography and/or ambulatory ECG (Holter) recording

Exclusion Criteria

  • Dobermans with DCM already in congestive heart failure (needing diuretics)
  • Dobermans with other forms of heart disease


Dr. Lynne O'Sullivan (Principle Investigator)

Dr. Shari Raheb (DVSc. student)


Heidi Chambers
RVT (Cardiology Research Technician)
Email:; 519-824-4120 ext. 54047

Vicky Sabine, PhD
Clinical Research Coordinator
Email:; Work Cell #: 226-218-0338

Funded by OVC Pet Trust