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  • Author or Editor: Olli Vuolteenaho x
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Objective—To evaluate the effect of age and body weight on several neurohumoral variables that are commonly altered in heart failure in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Animals—17 healthy privately owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 10 males and 7 females, ranging in age from 0.4 to 9.7 years, and ranging in body weight from 6.6 to 12.2 kg.

Procedure—The clinical condition of the dogs was evaluated by physical examination, thoracic radiography, and echocardiography. Plasma nitrate and nitrite (P-NN), N-terminal atrial natriuretic and brain natriuretic peptides (NT-ANP and BNP, respectively), endothelin (ET-1), urine cyclic guanosine monophosphate (UcGMP), and urine nitrate and nitrite (U-NN) concentrations were analyzed.

Results—Plasma concentrations of NT-ANP and P-NN increased significantly with age, but plasma NT-ANP and P-NN also correlated significantly, irrespective of age. A modest increase of left atrial size did not explain the increase of NT-ANP and P-NN with age. Concentration of ET-1 correlated positively with heart rate; heart rate did not change with age. Weight had a negative impact on NT-ANP, P-NN, and U-cGMP concentrations and left atrial relative size.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Age-matched controls are essential for evaluation of NT-ANP and PNN concentrations and left atrial size. Weight may alter reference values of plasma NT-ANP, P-NN, and urine cGMP concentrations. Natriuretic peptides can be used as further evidence that heart failure exists. The increased plasma concentrations of NT-ANP (but not BNP) and P-NN with aging reflect neurohumoral physiologic changes that must be distinguished from pathologic changes in patients with heart failure. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1818–1824)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To investigate activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and N-terminal pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (NT-proANP) during development of clinical signs of decompensated mitral valve regurgitation (MR).


11 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with advanced MR attributable to chronic valvular disease.


Dogs were subjected to repeated examinations at 6-month intervals until signs of decompensation had developed (end point). Data acquired at end point were compared with data obtained from examinations 1 year and 1 to 6 months before decompensation. Each examination included physical examination, collection of venous blood, thoracic radiography, and echocardiography.


Echocardiography measurements of left atrial-to-aortic root ratio and left ventricular end diastolic diameter increased considerably during the study, whereas left ventricular end systolic diameter remained unchanged. The increase in cardiac size was associated with increased plasma concentration of NT-proANP. In contrast, plasma concentrations of aldosterone and angiotensin II were reduced at decompensation (aldosterone compared with the 2 earlier examinations and angiotensin II compared with values obtained 1 to 6 months before), despite decreased plasma protein concentration and hematocrit, suggesting fluid retention. The urine-to-plasma creatinine ratio was reduced at end point.

Conclusion and Clinical Implications

Early decompensated MR in dogs was not associated with increased circulating renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activity, which may be caused by increased activity of ANP, and may be important for future therapeutic strategies of MR. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:77–82)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research