Currently, we have three ways you can participate in our Dilated Cardiomyopathy research: participate in the Holter Study, send samples to the Necropsy Study, and send DNA to the Genetic Study.

Holter Study

We are currently looking for 100 dogs for our Holter Study, and to gauge interest, we are asking people interesting in participating to contact us ASAP. Here is what participants will need to do:

  1. Provide DNA on participating dogs. (The club will reimburse you the $20 CHIC fee if your dog isn’t already in our CHIC DNA Bank).
  2. Do the Holter in the time given (the plan is to give people a week to get the 24-hour session done) and then ship the equipment to the next participant.
  3.  If the Holter shows abnormal results, do a cardiac ultrasound as soon as possible with an individual appointment with a cardiologist (not a clinic) and send the test results to the study.  The club will reimburse owners $500 towards the cost of the ultrasound and will be happy to forward the Holter report to the cardiologist. The owner must also agree to do follow-up on the dog based on the cardiologist’s recommendations and send reports to the study.
  4. If the Holter shows abnormal results, commit to doing a Holter session annually (free if using club equipment) for the life of the dog or until the study ends. We will be happy to share the Holter test data with your cardiologist to save you the cost of doing a Holter through your cardiologist, which usually costs several hundred dollars.
  5. If your dog is affected, submit heart tissue to the necropsy study when the dog dies, no matter what the cause of death. This is something your regular vet can do, and the club will reimburse owners up to $150 of the cost.

Again, please contact us ASAP if you would like us to consider your dog(s) for the study.

Necropsy Study

Instructions for Collecting Heart Samples for Microscopic Examination

The study needs samples from dogs diagnosed with DCM, no matter what the cause of death. The dog does not need to be part of the Holter study. We will also accept dogs diagnosed with an arrhythmia. Your regular vet should be able to collect these samples, or if you are having a full necropsy done, any pathologist can collect them, and the club will reimburse you up to $150.

If possible, please collect a sample from each of these locations in the heart:

  1. The right ventricular free wall, full thickness
  2. The left ventricular free wall, full thickness
  3. A papillary muscle in the left ventricle
  4. The interventricular septum, full thickness
  5. The right atrium
  6. The left atrium
  7. Ten ml of blood in an EDTA tube, if the dog’s DNA is not already in CHIC.

Each sample should be approximately ¼- to ½-inch thick so that fixative can penetrate completely, but the sample may be larger in the other two dimensions.

Place each sample in a separate container with enough 10% formalin fixative so that the sample is fully immersed. Ideally, the volume of fixative will be many times greater than the sample volume.

Label each container so that the sample can be identified, including at least the dog’s name, owner’s name, and heart location from which the sample was taken.

The blood should be shipped to CHIC. Here are our directions to send samples to CHIC. The club will reimburse you the $20 CHIC fee.

Store samples at room temperature – do not refrigerate or freeze! – until shipped to:

John E. Dillberger
P.O. Box 2118
Nashville, IN 47448

If you have a question for John, contact us.

Genetic Study

We are currently working with the U.K. Deerhound Club on a study to determine the genetic component of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Deerhounds and have agreed to send them samples from affected dogs.

So we have enough DNA to both send some to the U.K. for their study and keep some ourselves for future projects, we are asking for 10cc of blood (which is a bit more than usual) to be sent to our CHIC DNA Bank. CHIC will take care of shipping the blood to the U.K.

Samples must be accompanied by an echocardiogram report from a board-certified cardiologist with the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy. If other diagnostics, such as a Holter session, have been done, please include those as well.

We must be sure of the diagnosis, so a cardiologist is much preferred. However, if there is no cardiologist in your area, a boarded internal medicine specialist or boarded radiologist might work, but they should be a specialist with training. It is very important that they include in their report the measurements for left ventricle internal dimension at diastole and systole and fractional shortening.

Please submit your sample to CHIC.

To participate in the DNA Repository, complete the application and submit it, with payment ($20) to the OFA. You will receive the blood collection kit in the mail. The Health Survey portion can be completed online, printed, and mailed to the OFA with the DNA samples.