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article imageMedication extends life of dogs with heart problems

By Tim Sandle     Nov 9, 2016 in Lifestyle
Dogs of a smaller type tend to suffer from heart problems more often than larger dogs. A common condition is mitral valve disease and the risks of a dog dying from the condition are high. A new treatment might offer some hope for affected breeds.
The types of dogs at risk from mitral valve disease include dachshunds and miniature poodles, as well as other breeds. Mitral valve disease refers to irregular conditions of the mitral valve. This valve is located between the two left chambers of the heart. The valve works to keep blood flowing properly in one direction from the left atrium to the left ventricle and prevents it from flowing backward.
Medical researchers specializing in animals, from the Royal Veterinary College, have indicated that a drug called Pimobendan is successful in treating small dogs and it helps to increase the life expectancies of such animals provided that the medication is taken prior to the heart disease being diagnosed.
In general, administration of the drug enables small dogs to live for 15 months longer. According to Indian Express, this finding was based on comparative studies where small dogs were compared, divided into those that received the medication in advance of the heart condition being apparent and those that did not.
In all, some 360 small dogs were examined across 11 countries. Speaking with Laboratory Roots, one of the investigators behind the drug, Professor Adrian Boswood, stated: “This is a major breakthrough in treatment and could extend the lives of dogs around the world.”
He added: “Up until now, vets and dog owners had no choice but to wait until their dog developed heart failure before they could receive effective treatment.” The new drug avoids a ‘watch and wait’ approach and would allow vets and pet owners to take proactive measures to protect their dog.
More research will be needed to ascertain which dogs are at risk and whether the medication helps all breeds of small dog prone to the condition.
The research has been reported to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The article is titled “Effect of Pimobendan in Dogs with Preclinical Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease and Cardiomegaly: The EPIC Study—A Randomized Clinical Trial.”
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