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Darla Fund Rottweiler SAS info and research


 darlafund
  Want to donate to the Rottweiler Health Foundation towards SAS research?
Click below

RHF logo

OR

For our Rottweiler Echo List Project page click the below button
echo list


peggy rose heart rott
To donate to DIRECTLY Dr Stern's Rottweiler SAS research
Please see the note from Dr Stern's lab below

"Thanks so much for your interest in supporting our research into cardiac genetics. 

If you would like to make a donation to the laboratory, you can do so through the center that houses our laboratory - the Center for Companion Animal Health.  There is a form or a link at the following website http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/giving/makingdonation.cfm that directs you to giving instructions.

If you choose to make a donation - please be sure that your donation says:  Center for Companion Animal Health - STERN LAB on the donation.  After completing a donation please notify us at sterngenetics@ucdavis.edu and we will then follow the donation and ensure that it makes it to the appropriate project / fund.


If you wish to make more than an individual donation or organize a donation event, please contact Dr. Stern or our development office in order to ensure that funds are appropriately directed."

sterngenetics@ucdavis.edu
Stern Lab (c/o Eric Ontiveros)
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept. of Medicine and Epidemiology
2108 Tupper Hall

One Shields Ave.

Davis, CA 95616


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The Darla Fund was started in memory of our beloved Rottweiler Darla

(VP rated Frontier Justagenius Darla).
Darla died as a direct result of the Sub Aortic Stenosis she was born with.

 

To skip the SAS overview, click one of the below links.

For Dr Stern's SAS study submission information click HERE

For an explanation of SAS diagnosis by "velocity" only (no SAS defect on echo) click HERE

For the latest research information and SAS "radio show" click HERE

For Darla's diet information click HERE

For Breeding Recommendations click HERE


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ABOUT SUBAORTIC STENOSIS IN ROTTWEILERS

    Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) is the most common congenital heart defect in Rottweilers.  

Rottweilers are affected with SAS on all continents and almost all bloodlines. Many of the presumed heat stroke or poisoning deaths are later found (if a necropsy is done) to have been SAS deaths.


SAS involves the narrowing of the out-flow tract from the left ventricle leading to the aorta.  When there is a narrowing of the tract, the heart must pump harder to get blood through the smaller opening. As the SAS-affected dog matures, his/her heart develops a thicker muscle to push harder, which (in moderate to severly affected dogs) leads to an irregular heart beat, a lack of blood to the heart, congestive heart failure, or sudden death.
SAS is diagnosed in living dogs by a cardiologist performing a dopplar echocardiograph exam of dogs. S
evere cases can often be tentatively diagnosed by auscultation.

    At the present time there are no tests available to detect SAS in dogs that are known as "silent affected" (occult affected). Silent affected are dogs who pass the current cardiologist Dopplar echocardiogram test without structural defects but who actually are affected with the gene for SAS. (When we finally get our DNA test, these dogs will be able to be identified and not used for breeding.)

    Complicating this even further is the fact that SAS in Rottweilers is thought to be caused by a dominant gene that has variable penetrance/expression (meaning that it can appear as a visible health issue in some dogs but as an invisible presence [the above mentioned silent affected] in other dogs), BUT actual mode of inheritance has not yet been proven.

    My personal experiences involving my own dogs and the pedigrees of affected dogs sent to me, clearly show the variable penetrance/expression theory.

    Research is indicating that the mode of heritability can vary by breed, and originate at different gene locations. For example Newfoundand SAS is a totally different gene location than Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers, and they (Newfoundlands) NOW have a DNA test!


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DOGS GRADED EQUIVOCAL OR MILD SAS BY VELOCITY ONLY 

These are the single hardest "grades" or "diagnosis" to accept.
    To have your dog graded as Equivocal or worse, affected with mild SAS and yet the cardiologist tells you the heart looked and sounded perfect on echo, with perhaps very slight aortic insufficency, aortic regurge, turbulance etc. and that your dog would have PASSED a simple auscultation exam. So you get a grade you never expected. HOW can this be you want to know?!

fccardiac

    The facts are simply that the equipment we currently have is not sensitive enough to image all the tiny defects, BUT research and necropsies HAVE proven that these elevated velocities- especially when accompanied by aortic insufficiency, aortic regurge, turbulance etc- really are extremely slight affected dogs.

    IF you were to open your dog's heart up, you would be able to see the miniscule defects (and in a test breeding Newfoundland study they did just that, sacrificed some of the animals produced and examined the hearts).

    THIS is why I am such a STRONG advocate of breeding Rottweilers (and preferably all Rottweilers having heart certifications done) being echoed BECAUSE auscultations can and do MISS mild and equivocal affected dogs!!!

    Dr J. Stern has agreed to create a short document about this for me at a future date but for now his short quote sums up the above facts:
"a device that images from outside the heart could never be as accurate as looking directly at the inside of the heart.  As such, The presence of a subvalvular ridge on echo is not a requirement for diagnosis of mild or equivocal SAS.  Simply the velocity has been used by cardiologists for years."

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RESEARCH

Dr K. Meurs & Dr J. Stern have conducted U.S. studies for the Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Boxer breeds. Dr Meurs conducted a very limited retrospective pedigree study for Rottweilers through the RHF (Rottweiler Health Foundation) but this study was hampered by a serious LACK of participants. Since I receive calls and emails monthly from owners of afflicted dogs I KNOW this was not caused by a lack of incidence of SAS in our breed. Instead the lack of participation is directly linked to the number of breeders/owners who decline to participate!

Dr Stern is currently collecting blood samples from both affected (as diagnosed by Cardiologist echo) and cardiologist echo clear dogs (proof of clear being an OFA certificate showing the C-ECHO suffix or a cardiologist report) and they have began a DNA evaluation of these samples

Preliminary findings are that the gene(s) is/are probably similar as that which afflicts Golden Retrievers (but not the SAME one) and the likely on just a single chromosome.

A DNA test for this is highly likely, IF steady funding of the research happens. The Newfoundland breed got their test because of steady, generous funding AND participation. One Newfoundland study had 6,000 dogs participating! Rottweiler people are FAR less likely to donate samples or money.

Scroll down to read the most recent Rottweiler study report.


Rottweiler Familial Subaortic Stenosis Study


They are currently STILL looking for DNA samples from Rottweilers with a diagnosis of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (diagnosed by Doppler echocardiogram) or proven clear of Subvalvular aortic stenosis (as cleared by a cardiologist echo ) to advance their study to identify a gene for the disease.

Please return THIS form with your sample and documentation/reports and mail to:

NOTE! NEW ADDRESS, EMAIL AND TELEPHONE #

Stern Lab (c/o Eric Ontiveros)

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Dept. of Medicine and Epidemiology
2108 Tupper Hall

One Shields Ave.

Davis, CA 95616

 BE SURE to include a copy of the dog's pedigree, a copy of either the dogs OFA cardiac certificate AND/OR the cardiologist echo

Questions? Contact Info:

sterngenetics@ucdavis.edu

(530) 752-4892


Thank you very much for your submitting a sample, we greatly appreciate it!

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  CLICK HERE for the most recent study report

VERY encouraging news, more research is needed and they need FUNDS!!!!


Click Below to listen to Dr Meurs answer questions about SAS (8/15/2011)
Listen to internet radio with ROTTWEILERS OF TODAY on Blog Talk Radio


December 2010 report
Click to read



MANY THANKS to all for helping Darla's death (and that of other affected dogs) to help other Rottweilers in the future.

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Darla's Diet

darlaboat
    Here is the special diet and supplements (developed through conversations with many herbal, holistic and natural nutrition educated people) we fed my Darla. She lived more than twice the length of time the vets gave her when she was diagnosed at 7 1/2 weeks old with grade III SAS by a board certified Cardiologist using dopplar echocardiogram.

    Darla was supposed to be dead by 6 months of age, she lived to be 14 months old.

    We are not veterinarians and we strongly encourage you to work with a veterinarian who is open minded to natural and holistic methods.
   
    We do not make any representation that following Darla's Diet will cure your dog- there is NO cure. What I do not want to say, but I must, Is that SAS WILL eventually kill your dog. Your dog may live weeks, months or even years post diagnosis- but the sad reality is that SAS WILL end your dog's life one day.

    We DO NOT promise that following Darla's Diet WILL definitely extend your SAS dog's life. NO ONE, not even veterinarians, can make that guarantee.

    What we do feel, is that by following Darla's Diet:
You MAY extend your dogs life,
You MAY enhance your dog's quality of life,
You MAY improve your dog's overall health-aside from the SAS,
You MAY slow the progression of SAS in your dog.

    This diet and supplement schedule DID (in our opinion) extend Darla's life , and certainly improved it's quality. Darla had a VERY fun and interesting life!

SUPPLEMENTS
 
8 weeks old to 4 months old:

AM

Noon:

PM:


At 6 months old the above was increased slowly over time (between 4 months & 6 months) to the below:
(only CHANGES are listed, if an item is not listed then it stayed the SAME as above)



At 10 months old the above was increased slowly (between 8 & 10 months)to her adult amounts
(again the only ones shown are those that changed from the original)



DIET

    We added pieces of beef or buffalo heart (about 1" square) OR 1 whole chicken heart, to her AM & PM meals when we could get it
 
    I also fed her about a mostly raw diet and I think that made almost as big a difference as the supplements did. If we ran out of meat OR supplements you could really see a difference in her energy level and behavior.

    We make our own raw diet and I will tell you how below, BUT you can buy a premade raw diet like Oma's Pride, Halshan's, Purely Primitive, Victory, Primal, or Bravo, etc.

    The important thing is few or no grains and fruits and mostly red meat with some veggies

    For one dog the prepackage, premade raw diets are the easiest. They are a bit pricey but it takes quite a bit of work to make your own.

    You'll have to decide for yourself which will work best for you.

    To hand make your own version of Darla's Diet, you will need either a good juicer or a good food processor. These are to grind the veggies. If you use a juicer you mix the juice and pulp back together after grinding.

Below is the Darla's Diet recipe.

    Sometimes I fed Darla this solely and sometimes I fed her 50/50 raw and high quality puppy kibble. (Healthwise is the brand we used.) During rapid growth spurts is usually when I fed her any kibble, just to keep up with her caloric demands easier

    I make this in a large container and mix it really well. Then I scoop it out into semi packed 1 cup portions and make patties out of it and freeze 4 patties together in ziplock quart size freezer bags. As you will see it makes quite a bit.

    Usually dogs eat approximately 1/2 to 1 cup of THIS raw ground diet for every 1/2 cup of dry they were eating. BUT you have to watch your individual dog's weight because, some don't need anywhere near this much!! Raw is much, much more digestible than kibble, so some dogs utilize it MUCH better.

    As an example my old dog with bladder cancer, ate just 2 cups of raw a day when she used to eat 3-4 cups of dry! So she actually ate less cups but the same weight of food (2 cups of raw = about 1 lb, 4 cups of dry Healthwise kibble= about 1 lb)


I mix together:

    Plus an assortment of any of the below veggies (ground to a pulp or they won't digest at all) to equal 4-5 lbs- I used whichever I could find, not all at once- just make sure you have green and either carrot , an orange fleshed squash or sweet potato mixed the majority of the time (greens + a carotene producing veggie)

    As you feed this to your dog add one 400 mg Calcium Citrate tablet per every one cup/1 patty of the raw mix, plus 1 spoonful whole milk yogurt. DO NOT mix these in with the food ahead of time

    Add the other supplements listed in the beginning of this page as you prepare each meal.

    As you can see it's a good bit of work to do it right

    If you choose to feed a prepared raw diet (like Halshan's, Aunt Jeni's, Oma's Pride, Bravo, Purely Primitive, etc), instead of making your own, check the labels. If the mix contains ground bone then do not add Calcium Citrate to it.

    If you have any questions at all or just need some hand holding let me know!!

    IF your SAS dog is a Rottweiler, PLEASE, submit his/her blood, pedigree, cardiologist info etc to Dr Meurs who is collecting samples to run the DNA and try to find a marker for this horror. Submission form is above

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BREEDING RECOMMENDATIONS

    Doppler echo by a board certified cardiologist is the GOLD STANDARD and best screening tool we CURRENTLY have UNTIL a DNA test is developed. It has been proven that dogs CAN pass a cardiologist auscultation examination with a "perfect" sounding heart and yet fail an echo exam and be diagnosed with SAS.

    Remember even echo "clear" dogs still have a chance of producing an SAS positive puppy because UNTIL we have a DNA test nothing is a 100% guarantee of "clear". You greatly increase the odds of producing healthy, SAS free puppies though by only using breeding dogs who have been "cleared" via a cardiologist performed echo. Just as only utilizing hip "clear" dogs increases your odds of producing puppies with normal hips. Performing pedigree analysis of the cardiac statistics of all relatives-siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents etc- assists breeders immensely as well.

    (When reading the below LVOT numbers they are assumed to be accompanied by a clean/normal heart, no murmur associated with a defect and no abrupt LVOT accelerations)

    A cardiologist performed Doppler echo will allow you to evaluate velocities (LVOT) and breeding risks to the best of our current abilities.

    NOTE: there are currently two sets of velocity (LVOT) guidelines.

    The version directly above is strict, and provides the best level of breeding confidence AT THIS TIME
(until a DNA test is developed).
    The other is the newer ACVIM/ARCH version which is somewhat less strict and which I and the cardiologists I have used over the years, believe may allow too many higher velocity dogs (that may be silent affecteds) to be bred.
    The ACVIM/ARCH guidelines are at the bottom of this text.

    MY personal recommendation at this time, is to only breed echoed dogs with LVOT below 1.7 m/s.Preferably with siblings and relatives who have also been echoed and their LVOT and reports available.


    For those for whom this is too strict of a criteria; I offer a second set of breeding recommendations below, based upon differing categories and sub categories.
    These were created with the help of the cardiologists I have spoken with over the years

Category 1
***************************************
For dogs without KNOWN SAS in their background and whose parents (and better yet siblings too) are cardiologist cleared; then a cardiologist (or 2nd best- a specialist) auscultation is generally considered "acceptable" at this time by many, BUT will still allow MANY dogs with elevated velocities yet no murmurs to be blindly bred, incorrectly assuming they are totally "clear"!

HOWEVER, a cardiologist performed echo will allow you to evaluate velocities (LVOT), structure, blood flow patterns and breeding risks to the best of our current abilities.
I do not personally recommend breeding without an echo being done and the LVOT evaluated. (see above)


Category 2
(FOUR different sub categories: read close)
***************************************
1- Dogs who are either Imports themselves
(and thus have no cardiac testing background since the vast majority of overseas breeders do no cardiac screening),

OR

2- are the offspring of an Import
(even if the import is cardiac cleared)

OR

3- are the offspring of non imports that are not screened OR the offspring of dogs who have any type of Practitioner cardiac clearance

OR

4- whom have a relative with either a velocity 1.9 m/s and above OR a relative is affected with or died from SAS

Those dogs that fall into this category should have a Doppler echo done by a cardiologist (or second best- specialist) and should ONLY be added to a breeding program if their velocity (LVOT) is 1.7 m/s or below for the lowest risk of SAS.


See the top of the breeding recommendations for more details about breeding utilizing LVOT numbers.


At NO POINT is a Practitioner certification EVER acceptable.

(IF looking at an OFA cardiac certificate the last letters tell you who did them
C-ECHO= cardiologist echo, S-ECHO= specialist echo
C= cardiologist auscultation S= specialist auscultation,
P-ECHO= practitioner auscultation,  P= practitioner auscultation)


MY current practice is to bring BOTH the OFA and ARCH cardiac forms with me to the cardiac exam and submit to BOTH organizations.
The OFA form will allow your evaulation to be seen in a searchable database along with all your dog's other health tests and the ARCH form will provide you with more detailed information and will also add statistical data to a semi searchable database of ONLY cardiologist performed cardiac evaluations (you get a certificate from both groups).
See Annie's page for links to both certifications

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals                                                                           arch logo


I base all of my above recommendations on conversations with Researchers from 2000 - 2006, extensive reading of the current and past research, and conversations with the cardiologists I have personally used over the past years since 1995.



Here are the newer ACVIM/ARCH Standards (current as of 2011)

In dogs without ANY structural changes, etc and with no murmur (except innocent functional murmurs)

LVOT Velocities of less than 1.9 m/s - deemed clear
LVOT Velocities of 1.9 - 2.4 m/s - deemed equivocal; breeder assumes a risk level
LVOT velocities above 2.4 m/s - breeding not recommended


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Last updated 7/24/16
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