Most adult heart disease in the Irish Wolfhound is inherited. The first sign is usually atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can be diagnosed by a simple EKG rhythm strip. Another heart rhythm problem called VPCs increase the chance of sudden death and this is also found on EKG.
Heart disease is treatable. For the sake of each hound - and for future hounds - and for breeding programs - a yearly EKG is beneficial.
The IWF has considered plans to increase the availability of EKGs for all hounds - especially those that do not usually come to shows.
And Then Came COVID…….
All scheduled heart clinics along with our National and Regional Specialties- CANCELLED.
It is harder to see your vet. You cannot go in with your hound to get an EKG done locally.
Life is chaotic and often money very tight.
IW People Step Forward
And then long time breeder-owners Donna and David Smith stepped forward and began planning a cardiac clinic at their home during Covid times.
A friend of theirs who is a nurse volunteered to do the EKGs. The old Burdick EKG machine (which has churned out an estimated 3000 Irish Wolfhound EKGs) was mailed to them.
Everyone was encouraged to participate in the Life Cycle II study and iPads provided for sign up (or follow up if the hound was already entered).
The clinic was outside and social distancing followed and masks required.
The tracings were returned with the EKG machine and results provided to owners by email.
Twelve Hounds had EKGs, data was provided for the LCSII and owners, AND a good time had by all.
The New Tupperware Party?
Many IW people are or know a nurse or vet or tech or Doctor - or even just a person willing to learn a few basic EKG facts.
EKG machines are less expensive and some regional clubs might wish to have their own machine to loan to members for satellite clinics.
There is an extra EKG machine that can be mailed upon request for these clinics.
It is assumed no one wants to catch this virus and all will adhere to social distancing/masking/and small crowd sizes.
The IWF will support these clinics with advice,equipment,and EKG interpretation with the hope that all hounds participating will join the LCSII study.
The IWCA is offering support via contacts with regional clubs.
A informal clinic has been held at Gretchen and Bob Bernardi’s (Midwest) for many years now - the last one this August.
Ellen and Jim Kroll have arranged for an EKG clinic during their annual get together (Northwest) and Carole Silverthorne (East coast) planned a clinic at the end of August.
GLIWA has offered an EKG clinic at their fun match and hope to offer a clinic this year.
So clinics from the east coast to the west coast are underway.
The satellite clinics - unless someone knows a veterinary cardiologist very well - will provide only screening EKGs and recommend referral to a cardiologist if the EKG is abnormal.
The EKG-Echo study recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine provides evidence that the EKG is an adequate screening test for IW cardiomyopathy. These satellite clinics could provide testing for many IWs unable to be easily screened during these difficult times.
EKG-ECHO Clinic in OCTOBER
The IWF sponsored a cardiac clinic with EKGs and echocardiograms the first weekend in October in PA (which made us all miss Delaware Valley even more).
Drs. Tyrrell and Rosenthal planned to do their thing masked and sadly without owners in the testing area to provide the testing with safety for all.
It is hoped the regular schedule of cardiac screening also offering auscultation by a cardiologist and echocardiograms will be available for the National and regional specialties next year.