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mybigd2727's picture
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My 5 yr. old Rose was a beautiful Doberman. She appeared to be in perfect health (vet checkups were always good) and was friendly and the most affectionate dog I've ever had.  She was an 87 lb. lap dog.  Last Thursday she ate her breakfast but not dinner.  It's been hot so I thought maybe that was her problem.  Friday she wanted a treat but didn't eat any of her food.  That evening she kind of freaked out ... very agitated and pacing until I held her and soothed her.  Saturday she seemed normal again except she still didn't eat.  That evening she went in to say hello to my son, turned around and dropped dead on the spot.  Vet did a postmortem Monday but couldn't find anything conclusive.  He thought perhaps she had an aneuryism (sp?) or a heart problem.  Has anyone had a similar experience?  Needless to say, we're devastated and miss her terribly.

First of all, condolences on the loss of your girl. Five is fairly young for a fatal arrythmia - but not unheard of at all. If they didn't find anything in a necropsy, then that is probably what it was. Fatal arrythmia's really don't show up on them because they are electrical. I will say that from the discomfort she was showing, a  24 hour holter monitor probably would have shown that she was throwing a large number of irregular heart beats (ventricular ectopy, suraventricular ectopy: singles, pairs and runs). On Friday when she was aggitated, she was probably having a significant heart event.... but without knowing to check her heartbeat, you would not have known.

I've lost two of my Dobermans to sudden death - most likely fatal arrythmias. One was 9 years 3 months, and I lost my 11 year old Louise this past April. In my case, I had always done yearly cardiac ultrasounds and they were fine. For Louise, I had also done several 24 hour holter monitors - but it had been 2 years since I had done one on her when she died.  I knew she did not have DCM (dialated Cardiomyopothy) as at 10 1/2 her heart was in good shape and I discussed it with her cardiologist who agreed that she would not die from heart disease - he had been doing yearly heart ultrasounds on her since she was 2 years old.  With both of my dogs, there was no warning and nothing leading up to them dying suddenly. 

Most people don't do the recommended heart testing on their Dobermans - some don't even know about it.... but others either don't have the money to do them OR just really don't want to know. Heart testing is something that has to be done on a regular basis as heart disease usually does not manifest until after the age of 5 - with the prime age being 6 to 7 for DCM to become diagnosed. If it is caught early (occult phase where there are no symptoms), then medication can extend their life from a few weeks to several years....depends on the dog and the severity of the disease.

If you got her from a breeder, I would contact them and let them know. It would be interesting to know if her sire and dam are dead or alive and what they died from.... also nice to know if any siblings have died or been diagnosed. In any case, anyone who owns a sibling should be told so that they have the option of going and having their Doberman checked for heart disease and possibly medicated to extend their life. Heart disease in Dobermans is genetic - but just like heart disease in people, it is complicated and not a simple recessive gene. 

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Dear Big 2727, 

 We are so sorry for your loss. Our heatrfelt condloences. We hope in the future another doggie will benefit from your love and rerturn it in spades as Dear Rose has done.

 

rip pretty Rose Girrrrl

 

Julia + Bella

mybigd2727's picture
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Joined: 2016-07-13

Thank you so much for your input.  I didn't know much about Dobermans when I bought her, just what I had read online.  I bought her for protection, which turned out to be a joke.  She absolutely loved everyone she met.  I understand she was big for a female Doberman.  My dogs have always had regular vet care, and she always got good checkups.  She was the last pup out of a littler of nine to be sold.  She would have turned six on September 9.  I'll try to contact the owner of her sire and dam as you suggested.  Again, I appreciate your comments ... very enlightening.

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Thank you, Julia and Bella!

Dasz88's picture
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Oh man, I'm so sorry for your loss!!!  She is a beautiful girl! Even if she didn't get a long life, from her picture, it looks like you gave her a happy and joyful life, which is all anyone can do! My condolences :( 

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I am so sorry for your loss. RIP sweet Rose.

Again, my condoleces on the loss of your girl. Just as a note, regular vet care and specialized health testing are two totally different things. I love my vet, but his general yearly check up would never catch most health issues that we deal with in this breed - nor do I expect my vet to know all the specialized health tests that are recommended for each breed.  

It truly is a learning experience with each dog we have - if you decide to get another Doberman, do some research on finding a good reputable breeder that does all the recommened health tests, and can give you copies of the health tests and talk to you about the health of the pedigree - cause of deaths and age of death going back several generations.  These kinds of breeders have waiting lines and the puppies are not cheap.... but truly worth every penny.  I started out just like you did - my first Doberman came from a back yard breeder who knew very little about the breed. I lucked out and she lived 11 years - but had many health issues that made her an old dog by the time she was 5 years old. The general average life span of Doberman is about 9 1/2 years - unfortunately, too many die much sooner than that.... and often sudden death is the first sign that they have heart disease.

It is a wonderful breed, and a good one is pretty friendly with most people. You might be surprised though how protective they can be when the situation arises - even one that seems totally happy go lucky. 

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I'd say the vet I have now is okay but not outstanding.  I had another vet when I first got Rose and he was very knowledgeable about Dobermans.  Unfortunately, he died and his practice was taken over by others.  It was very tough to lose such an outstanding vet (he was only 47).  He wasn't thrilled that I got a Doberman because at the time I had an Italian Greyhound (12 lbs.) and previously an Airedale that we had to have put down at age 12.  He recommended that I get another Airedale.  I loved our Airedale, but you can't find a more independent, mischievious dog.  I had to have my little IG put down last fall at age 17.

Rose was very dependent and eager to please, spry and happy.  This is the first time I've been without a dog for many, many years.  I know I'll eventually get another and I'm wondering if a male Dobie would be a better pick ... less clingy than a female.  To tell you how sweet Rose was, one day I had a repairman sit down at my kitchen table to make out the bill ... Rose tried to climb in his lap.  Any stranger who came in the house was welcome.  I don't know how she would have reacted if a threatening situation occurred.  She had an extremely strong prey drive (my little dog would have none of that) and my cat learned to avoid her.  My neighbor had a chicken that would occasionally jump over the fence, and I was afraid Rose would kill it.  Instead, she would chase it down, hold it down and just sniff it.

I'm probably telling you more than you really want to know!  I do thank you for your good advice.

It is hard to find a vet that is really knowledgeable about the breed you have unless they have a particular interest in them. My vet is the owner of a large practice and he is pretty good with Dobermans because he has had a lot of them in his practice... but they are not his breed. The more you learn and know about the health issues of your breed, the better advocate you can be for them. My vet pretty much trusts me now... I've been going to him for 18 years - but it took awhile for him to realize that I really know my breed and what is best for them health wise.... in return, I trust him to do right by my dogs in most situations. We really are a good team.... I don't know what I'd do if he retires!!

As a very generalized rule, most Doberman owners find that the breed as a whole is very clingy/velcro, but the boys are often more clingy than the girls .... of course every dog is different. All of my Dobermans have been very velcro - but my boy adds a whiny aspect to it that can get on your nerves - haha.  Some of mine have been very stranger friendly - one was a registered therapy dog - but the majority take some time to warm up to strangers, while one is not good with strangers until they are practically part of the family. They have all been good family dogs.

Most Dobermans also are high prey drive dogs - and are not known for their soft mouth. They can be very good with whatever animals they are raised with. One of my co-owned champion males lives with 4 toy breed dogs, 2 donkeys, & several cats. He is great with all of them, but a strange cat on the property is fair game.

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So heartbreaking to read this. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

 

dog123's picture
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I'm so sorry for your loss! My Tobie passed away in January and all I wanted to do was talk about him so please don't feel that anyone here will get tired of you reminiscing! From my little experience with Dobies, I would have to agree the boys are more dependant/velco. And yes, he was a very sweet and tolerant dog to strangers but I have no doubt his protective instinct was always waiting just under the surface. I started looking for a puppy very soon after because litters (from great breeders) aren't too common.

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I'm still debating on what to do.  I thought about a rescue, but it seems the local shelter only has chihuahuas and pit bulls.  My son found an Airedale breeder in St. George, Utah, but I don't want to drive 400 miles to look at puppies.  Airedales don't settle down until they're around 5 or so, and I don't think my house could tolerate any more dog damageI'm a little wary because there are a lot of backyard breeders in Utah ... mostly labs.

I'd love to have a Rosie "duplicate" even though she was clingy and all elbows on my lap.  I was never without good company.  A friend who was familar with the breed scolded me for having her spayed because she was such a beautiful Dobie.  Personally, I think only good breeders should go that route.  The people I bought her from said she was a German Doberman, and she was a big girl.  I never had her ears done because I didn't want to deal with care, and my kids threatened my life if I did.

So far my dog experience has been with a terrier/chihuahua mix rescue (died at 17), Golden Retriever (died at 13), Airedale (died at 12), Italian Greyhound (died at 17), inherited a yellow lab from my daughter that she couldn't keep (died at 11), and Rose (discounting the dogs I grew up with as a kid).  Goldens and labs are very cancer prone, and both had to be put down because of cancer.

My son used to take Rose to play with a friend's Boxer, and Rose ran circles around it.  She loved to patrol my back yard at full speed, ever on the lookout for invaders ... the chicken next door, an occasional stray cat or a butterfly.

 

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I'm sure everyone here will be glad you got her fixed. Just being a beautiful dog isn't a good reason to breed!

Try a Doberman specific rescue. There are a bunch of them. Sounds like you're not necessarily breed specific, though. Of course the benefit to a rescue (even over a shelter) is they'll find a dog that matches your lifestyle. You could even sign up to foster dogs.

My Dobes have always seemed to enjoy playing with boxers, too, oddly enough!

I know it is very difficult to wait for a puppy from a better breeder, but if a Doberman is what you want then start searching now. Go on the DPCA (Doberman Pinscher Club of America) website and look at the breeder list by state. Make a doggie resume for yourself about your experience with dogs and what you are looking for - the more information you give out, the greater chance that they will contact you back. 

In the meantime, you might consider fostering for your local shelter so that you don't have to be dogless while you find your next companion. 

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Fitzmar, thanks again for your very good advice.  I checked Doberman rescues and right now there are none listed in my state.  I loved my Doberman experience ... Rose was a watchdog, and even though she was sweet her loud bark would have been a good deterent.  I always felt secure when a stranger came to my door because Rose would stand right beside me.  A stranger wouldn't know what her intentions were.  I'll check out the DPCA websie as you suggest.

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I got my Rose originally as a watchdog and have fallen in love with the breed.  My little Italian Greyhound thought she was a watchdog, but at 12 lbs. wouldn't have been much of a deterent.  There aren't any Dobe rescues in my state at the present time, but I'm going to take Fitzmar's advice and do some serious research.  Thank you so much for your suggestion though!

dog123's picture
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What state are you in?

SIH002's picture
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Our condolences on your tragic loss.  Rose is crossing the rainbow bridge and will be waiting for you.  RIP Sweet Rose.

 

(PS Males are even MORE clingy than females, but I wouldn't have my Ti any other way.) 

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I'm in Utah.

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RIP ROSE !!!!

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My dog, Dobie, died suddenly at age 8 1/2. He showed no signs of any illness or discomfort, and had been acting totally normal. Then he just fell over dead at the dog trainers. We assume it was a heart arrhythmia. From what I have learned since then, it is a very common issue for Dobermans. So I am very grateful for the great years we had together. And we will definitely be adopting another Doberman. The rewards greatly outweigh the risks, I think. Having the greatest dog in the world for even 5 years is worth it in my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing Dobie has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and my 12 year old female, Paris, is taking it the worst. But I wouldn't trade our time with Dobie for anything. I know she wouldn't, either.❤️