Drug treatment slows heart disease in dogs, international study finds

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Mitral valve disease accounts for approximately 75 percent of all canine heart disease. Now a new global clinical trial, led by a Texas A&M University veterinarian, shows that early treatment can slow the disease, prolonging overall survival and helping dogs remain symptom-free for longer.

The study is the largest prospective cardiology study in veterinary medicine. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published the study in its September 2016 issue.

The trial, titled “Effect of Pimobendan in Dogs with Preclinical Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD) and Cardiomegaly” found a drug treatment known as pimobendan can delay symptoms for an average of 15 months.

“The results of this clinical trial will change the way the most common cause of heart disease and heart failure in the dog is managed on a day-to-day basis by veterinarians around the world,” said Sonya Gordon, associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science and a lead investigator.

Taking more than seven years, the trial was an international effort run by specialized veterinary cardiologists at 36 trial centers. Half of the trial centers were in the United States, while the other 18 centers were in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

More at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences