Dilated cardiomyopathy

Doberman dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) prevents heart muscle cells from contracting normally which causes the heart to dilate to improve output. As DCM progresses the dilation leads to increased pressure within the heart and eventually failure. Fifty percent of dogs die within months of diagnosis.

To diagnose DCM the Doberman Pinscher Club of America recommends echocardiogram testing at 1 - 2 years along with a baseline Holter monitor test. Dogs used in breeding programs should be tested every six months.

VetNostic Laboratories’ genetic test for DCM identifies a DCM causing mutation on the PDK4 gene discovered by Meurs et al. The mutation is autosomal dominant with variable penetrance. This means that only one copy of the mutated gene is necessary to cause DCM but due to its variable penetrance some positive dogs may never develop signs of the disease. It is also important to note that there are at least two genetic mutations responsible for DCM in the Doberman. As of December 2011, fifteen percent of dogs that tested negative by the PDK4 test showed early signs of the disease.

Due to the varied penetrance of the DCM genetic mutation, and the inconsistent echocardiogram criteria used from center to center, a multifaceted approach to diagnosis is recommended. Dogs with one copy of the mutation should be monitored regularly with an echocardiogram and Holter monitor. If there are no signs of DCM these dogs can be bred to negative dogs. Testing should continue for the puppies until the mutation is eliminated. Dogs with two copies of the mutation should not be bred because there is no chance of them not passing the mutation to their offspring.

VetNostic Laboratories’ test for dilated cardiomyopathy can reliably identify:

Negative: Dog does not have the genetic mutation.
Positive Heterozygous: Dog has one copy of the genetic mutation.
Positive Homozygous: Dog has two copies of the genetic mutation.

Volume discounts are available for Breeder Clubs, etc. Please contact us for more information.

Certification of Results

VetNostic Laboratories® will provide a certificate for each test result.


The following sample(s) can be submitted for the testing:
- Cheek swabs

Reporting Results

Test results can be viewed through your VetNostic Laboratories® web account within 10 business days from the moment the samples arrive at the laboratory. Results can also be reported via Mail, E-Mail, or Fax.

DNA Storage

VetNostic Laboratories provides DNA storage for all of our extracted specimens. If a customer wishes to perform an additional test on a previously extracted specimen they can simply call or email us with the animal's name and/or VNL number along with the test to be performed. This storage is provided free of charge.

Doberman Pinscher

Price: $65.00
Number of dogs to be tested: Add To Cart