The groundbreaking results demonstrate that earlier treatment of preclinical MVD delays onset of heart failure in dogs. Such findings will be welcome news to thousands of veterinarians and dog owners across the world, as heart disease – and MVD in particular – is one of the more common causes of death in canines. The vast majority of older, small breed dogs with a characteristic heart murmur are likely to have preclinical MVD, many of which will also have cardiomegaly secondary to the disease and may benefit from early treatment.
Adrian Boswood, MA VetMB MRCVS DVC, Professor of Veterinary Cardiology at the RVC, led the research and described it as a major breakthrough:
"Thanks to the EPIC study results, vets no longer have to adopt a 'watch and wait' approach to suspected preclinical cases of MVD. When a typical mitral valve murmur is detected, vets should now investigate further to look for cardiac enlargement. If demonstrated, this suggests the patient will probably benefit from treatment with pimobendan before the onset of clinical signs."
Eighteen of the investigating centers used in the study were based in North America, with Sonya G. Gordon, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM (Cardiology), Associate Professor at Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, serving as one of the lead investigators.
EPIC is the largest prospective veterinary cardiology study carried out to date, pushing best practice in evidence-based veterinary medicine to a new level, while the quality of the EPIC data rivals that of human clinical trials. The prospective study was double-blinded, placebo-controlled, and randomized, taking seven years to complete and involving 360 dogs across 11 countries and four continents.
Dogs were recruited to the study if they had:
- Systolic heart murmur with maximal intensity over mitral valve area (>3/6 grade)
- Echocardiographic evidence of MVD
- Evidence of cardiomegaly (demonstrated radiographically and echocardiographically)
In light of the findings, veterinarians should now consider testing early for signs of preclinical MVD, and in dogs with cardiomegaly secondary to preclinical MVD, veterinarians should consider the use of pimobendan to delay the onset of congestive heart failure and extend the asymptomatic period.
To learn more about the study, please contact Shannon Stevens, Fetching Communications at 1-877-703-3824, x. 107 or Shannon.email@example.com. Additional information regarding the results, investigators, and centers involved in the study can be found in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
About the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM)
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through education, training and certification of specialists in veterinary internal medicine, discovery and dissemination of new medical knowledge, and increasing public awareness of advances in veterinary medical care. ACVIM is the certifying organization for veterinary specialists in cardiology, large animal internal medicine, neurology, oncology and small animal internal medicine.
ACVIM hosts the ACVIM Forum, an annual continuing education meeting where cutting-edge information, technology and research abstracts are showcased for the veterinary community. More than 3,300 veterinary specialists, veterinarians, technicians and students typically attend.
ACVIM is also a collaborator with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons on a recently launched website www.VetSpecialists.com, to provide a unique resource to animal owners about veterinary specialty medicine.
About The Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London. The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences, being ranked in the top 10 universities nationally for biosciences degrees. It is currently the only veterinary school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
A research-led institution, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the RVC maintained its position as the top HEFCE funded veterinary focused research institution. The College also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals; the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in central London, the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre), the Equine Referral Hospital, and the Farm Animal Clinical Centre located at the Hertfordshire campus.
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SOURCE The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine