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Please see the note from Dr Stern's lab below
so much for your interest in supporting our research into cardiac
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.cfmthat directs you to giving
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
and we will then follow the donation and
ensure that it makes it to the appropriate project / fund.
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."
Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) is the most
common congenital heart defect in 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.
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
SAS is diagnosed in living dogs by a cardiologist performing a
dopplar echocardiograph exam of dogs. Severe
cases can often be tentatively diagnosed by auscultation.
At the present time there are no tests available to
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
thought to be caused by a dominant gene that has variable
penetrance/expression (meaning that it can appear as a visible health
some dogs but as an invisible presence [the above mentioned silent
affected] in other dogs), BUT actual mode of inheritance has not yet
My personal experiences involving my own
dogs and the pedigrees of affected dogs sent to me, clearly show the
variable penetrance/expression theory.
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
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,
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?!
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
THIS is why I am such a STRONG advocate of breeding
preferably all Rottweilers having heart certifications done) being
echoed BECAUSE auscultations can and do MISS mild and equivocal
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."
Dr K. Meurs & Dr J. Stern have conducted U.S.
studies for the
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
decline to participate!
Dr Stern is
currently collecting blood samples
diagnosed by Cardiologist echo) and cardiologist echo clear dogs (proof
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)
similar as that which afflicts Golden Retrievers (but not the SAME one)
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.
down to read the
most recent Rottweiler study report.
Rottweiler Familial Subaortic Stenosis
They are currently
for DNA samples
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.
MANY THANKS to all for
Darla's death (and that of other affected dogs) to help other
Rottweilers in the future.
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.
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
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
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!
8 weeks old to 4 months old:
mg Co Q10 (according
recent article I read, IF you
use dry capsule Co Q 10 use a bit more. It is supposedly not as usable
as the liquid caps.)
teaspoon Flax seed oil
mg L Carnitine (we
1/2 of a 250 mg capsule)
mg vit C
IU Vit E
capsules of Hawthorn or
dropperful if we could get liquid
teaspoon apple cider
of a human multi (no
mg Co Q10
salmon oil gel cap
mg L Carnitine (we
1/2 of a 250 mg capsule)
mg vit C
IU Vit E
capsules of Hawthorn or
dropperful if we could get liquid
teaspoon apple cider
6 months old the above was
increased slowly over time (between 4
months & 6 months) to the below:
if an item is not listed
then it stayed the
SAME as above)
Q 10- AM & PM 20
mg and at Noon 10 mg
C- 1,000mg AM, 500 mg
E - 400 IU AM &
3 capsules AM, 2
carnitine- 250 mg AM,
item- Ginko Biloba- 1
10 months old the above was
increased slowly (between 8 & 10
months)to her adult amounts
the only ones
shown are those that changed from
Q 10- 30 mg AM, PM and
C- 1,000 mg AM &
500 mg Noon
3 capsules AM,
Carnitine- 250 mg AM
Biloba- 1 AM &
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
also fed her about a
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
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
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:
lbs of 75% lean
lbs of ground turkey
can of Jack mackerel
well and mashed-the bones are
fine for pups over 12 weeks old)
can pink salmon (rinsed
and mashed-the bones are fine
for pups over 12 weeks old)
clove garlic (run
the juicer/processor with the
egg including crushed
an assortment of any of
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
(greens + a carotene producing veggie)
potatoes or yams
either orange and
greens (not too
you feed this to your dog
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
If you choose to feed a prepared raw diet (like
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
IF your SAS dog is a Rottweiler, PLEASE, submit
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
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.
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)
cardiologist performed Doppler echo will
you to evaluate velocities
(LVOT) and breeding risks to the best of our current abilities.
"should" only be used for breeding if
LVOT is 1.7 m/s and below for the "best confidence level"
with LVOT 1.71-1.89 m/s will give you
an "element of
m/s and above range whether the
cardiologist deemed them
"passing" OR Equivocal BUT with NO cardiac structural defects, LVOT
accelerations, turbulance/regurge, valve leaks or murmurs; brings the "greatest breeding risk"
(only surpassed by dogs not echoed!) and should only be done under
certain VERY strict conditions, with dogs possessing exceptional
qualities and ONLY ever
to dogs with LVOT below 1.7 m/s!
there are currently two sets of velocity (LVOT) guidelines.
directly above is strict, and provides the best level of
breeding confidence AT THIS TIME
DNA test is developed).
is the newer
ACVIM/ARCH version which is somewhat
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
guidelines are at the bottom of this text.
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 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
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"!
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)
sub categories: read close)
who are either Imports
(and thus have no cardiac testing
background since the vast
majority of overseas breeders do no cardiac
2- are the offspring of an Import (even if the import is
3- are the offspring of non imports that are not screened OR the
offspring of dogs who have any type of Practitioner cardiac clearance
4- whom have a relative with either
velocity 1.9 m/s and above OR a relative is affected with or died from
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
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
MY current practice is
to bring BOTH the OFA and ARCH cardiac forms with me to the cardiac
exam and submit to BOTH organizations.
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).
page for links to both certifications
base all of my above recommendations on conversations with Researchers
2000 - 2006, extensive reading of the current and past research, and
conversations with the cardiologists I have personally used over the
Here are the newer
ACVIM/ARCH Standards (current as of 2011)
In dogs without ANY
structural changes, etc and with no murmur (except innocent
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
LVOT velocities above 2.4 m/s - breeding not recommended
Diane Richardson P.O. 160
Georges Mills, NH 03751
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