The Irish Wolfhound Foundation

Heart Testing at the 2017 National

Posted Jun 01, 2017.

A Quick review of known cardiac findings:

Heart disease in the Irish Wolfhound begins with atrial fibrillation in nearly all hounds.

Atrial fib is an abnormal rhythm which may or may not be symptomatic and is detected on the EKG.

The incidence of heart disease increases with age and if your hound is normal at 3 it does not mean he will be normal at 4.

Heart disease in the IW is treatable and there is hope for good quality and length of life.

There is a small incidence of valvular disease in the IW. This cannot be detected by an EKG but can be found with auscultation (listening) by a trained cardiologist.

If a murmur is heard the hound will need an echocardiogram.

A small number of hounds develop abnormal pumping action in the heart with no rhythm change. This cannot be detected with an EKG and some prefer to have an echo done to check for this.

Cardiology Testing 2017 National:

Two board certified cardiologists attended the National Specialty this year for one sunny and one rainy day of testing.

There still appears to be confusion in testing offered.

The cardiologist listens to each dog’s heart. If a murmur is heard an echocardiogram is needed.

An EKG is done- if afib is found an echo is done. The OFA paperwork has to be filled out by the cardiologist. If the owner sends in the paperwork this hound is now registered with the OFA.

The owner can check a box to enter only the general data base or to be identified.

This is required yearly.

Echo Cost Subsidized by IWF:

There is still a need for data in older hounds so an Echo for any hound older than 8 will be subsidized by the IWF at a cost of $100 to the owner. If the hound is in atrial fibrillation or has a significant murmur the Echo will be subsidized by the IWF at a cost of $100 to the owner.

Any owner who wishes to get an Echo for breeding stock/family history or any other reason will be charged $175 with the IWF covering the rest of the cost.

Auscultation by the cardiologist /EKG/ Completion of OFA paperwork is $60.

New OFA Requirements:

The ACVIM has developed these new requirements for the IW and other breeds with acquired rather than congenital heart disease. The EKG and auscultation are required yearly and the forms are available only from cardiologists. This yearly testing will make OFA statistics for cardiac disease more meaningful.

2017 Testing Results: 

At Cardiac Testing this year 23 EKG and auscultations with OFA forms were completed.

Twenty four hounds had echocardiogram with EKG, auscultation, and OFA paperwork completed.

This is a total of 47 hounds tested.

The LCS11 Study:

The IWF has and is collecting DNA on every possible hound. DNA is stored at University of Pennsylvania. The DNA is of little value if the health and lifespan of the hound are not known.

The original follow up study of our hounds provided very needed and helpful information but was too cumbersome for participants.

A new project was launched that can be done easily on line. All that is required is a few clicks every year and an EKG which your hound needs anyway.

ANY dog is eligible for this study. A dog can enter at ANY age.

We would like to encourage puppies to enter.

We assume our puppies are healthy but it would be good to examine the incidence of liver shunt/congenital kidney disease/early allergy problems etc etc.

When a puppy enters the study the EKG may be postponed until at least a year as the chance of finding a problem is very small.

At testing sponsored by the IWF every dog is asked to participate in the LCS11 follow up. The EKG is free of charge for dogs only participating in the LCS11.

Because the EKG does not detect valvular disease each hound was encouraged to participate in auscultation by the cardiologists and enter the OFA data base.

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