HEARTS - GSD/IVA

GSD/IVA is an inherited electrical issue within the heart that is found in GSDs and Shilohs. It can cause sudden death in young dogs and has no outward or obvious symptoms. A 24-Hour Holter Monitor test is required to diagnose these conditions. Because the arrhythmia may not occur all the time it is easily missed with typical Ausculation and Echo-cardiograms.

We are hoping that in the future we will be able to test all pups from every litter. In order to make this a reality we need to have an adequate supply of holter monitors in the Shiloh community. The ISSDC is raising funds to purchase additional monitor(s) that will be lent out to breeders.

Your donations are greatly appreciated.


WHAT IS IT?

GSDIVA is an inherited electrical issue within the heart that is found in GSDs and Shilohs. It can cause sudden death in young dogs and has no outward or obvious symptoms. IVA (Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia) itself is an excess of single early beats and does not typically threaten the life of a dog. When these irregular beats occur in pairs or runs the resulting condition is known as VT (Ventricular Tachycardia), this is what causes sudden death. These conditions are typically outgrown by age 2 and can be treated with medication if diagnosed.

HOW DO YOU TEST?

A 24-Hour Holter Monitor test is required to diagnose these conditions. Because the arrhythmia may not occur all the time it is easily missed with typical Ausculation and Echo-cardiograms. With this test a small patch is shaved on each side of the dogs chest and electrodes are attached. The monitor is secured in place with a vest that is similar to a thunder shirt. Results are downloaded to a company that interprets them and provides a report to the owner. The monitor is easy to use and can be connected by the Shiloh owner or their vet. YouTube videos are available.

WHO NEEDS TO BE TESTED?

All dogs under the age of 2 should be tested, especially breeding dogs. This condition can go unnoticed for generations and then strike suddenly. While there are certain lines where we may see a greater prevalence than others, none should be considered clear until tested.

WHY?

With thorough testing of all breeding dogs and their littermates, this deadly condition could be eradicated from the breed.

WHEN?

Between 4 to 12 months is optimal. The onset of GSDIVA occurs around 14 weeks of age and seems to peak around 9 months. It is important to test early as to avoid cases of sudden death. All testing should occur prior to 24 months as it is usually outgrown by then if not sooner. If you have a potential breeding dog over the age of 2, it’s still not a bad idea to test. While the test will not rule out if your dog had GSD/IVA and outgrown it, it will rule out whether or not it is still there.