The Holter Project is Underway!

Photo by Amber Duff.

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re delighted to report that the Holter project has begun! We have already started to monitor dogs and are booking dogs now for the fall.

We are looking for 100 Deerhounds ages 4 years and up with no signs or diagnoses of heart disease. The dogs do not have to be breeding animals—all Deerhounds that meet the criteria are welcome and are much needed so we can complete this study!

It is our hope that this new phase of our Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) research project will teach us something about what DCM looks like in Deerhounds and also give us some more information about how ECG diagnostics can be used in our breed. Although we are just getting started, we are already learning from the Holter and Kardiamobile sessions we have done so far—this project has the potential to teach us a lot, and the more dogs we do, the more we will learn.

We need to monitor 100 dogs. About 15 dogs are signed up as of this writing, but we have a LONG way to go. Please help by signing up your dog! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t used a Holter or Kardiamobile before, as we provide detailed (and we mean DETAILED) instructions and will support you every step of the way. Everyone who has done it so far has said it wasn’t hard to do.

We can’t honestly say “join the fun,” but the monitoring is easy for you to do, is easy on your dog (all dogs to date haven’t reacted to the Holter or vest at all), and you will be helping the breed with this most important project. And you will get a report on your dog’s heart beat that would have cost you hundreds of dollars had you gotten one from a veterinary cardiologist.

Your costs are minimal: You will need to pay to ship the equipment to the next participant (~$60-120) and your dog’s blood samples to the OFA if your dogs aren’t already in our CHIC DNA Bank. If your dog’s DNA is not already in our CHIC DNA Bank, the study will pay the OFA fee. The study will also contribute up to $500 should your dog have an abnormal Holter and need an echocardiogram (you will be responsible for the balance, if there is one). 

One thing we have already learned is we are going to need to do more cardiac ultrasounds than the five we have in the budget. This doesn’t mean we have more dogs with DCM than we thought—we don’t know what our initial findings mean yet, but the only way to learn more is to echo the dogs. At $500/echo, we are going to need quite a bit more money to keep the echo program going.

Also, we have gotten Board approval for a small fish oil study. All of the dogs in this study will need a second Holter/Alivecor session, which is $170. So we will need a bit more money for that, too. 

So we are going to be doing some fundraising this fall: We will be soliciting both auction items and cash donations for a health fundraising effort.  We will also be doing clothing with original artwork by Aaron Coberly, who did the watercolor that we used for our last design (pictured here). So please stay tuned!

Read more about the project (and see some cute pictures of Deerhounds wearing Holter vests!) here. To sign up, or if you have any questions, contact us.