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Abstract

Objective—To assess autonomic function in dogs with mild mitral regurgitation (MR) that did not have clinical signs of the condition.

Animals—6 healthy adult Beagles.

Procedure—Mild MR was experimentally induced. A 24-hour ambulatory ECG was recorded before and after induction of MR. Heart rate variability was analyzed in frequency domains by use of the ambulatory ECG. Low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) power were calculated by integrating over their frequency intervals, and the ratio of LF to HF was also calculated. Measurements of frequency domains were analyzed for 4 time periods (midnight to 6 AM, 6 AM to noon, noon to 6 PM, and 6 PM to midnight).

Results—Dogs with experimentally induced MR were classified as International Small Animal Cardiac Health Council class Ia. The HF power of dogs with MR was significantly decreased between 6 AM and noon. The ratio of LF to HF in dogs with MR was significantly increased for the periods between midnight and 6 AM, 6 AM and noon, and noon and 6 PM.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Compensatory response through autonomic modulation was observed in dogs with mild MR that did not have abnormalities, except for cardiac murmur, during clinical examination. This result suggests that treatment during the early stages of mild MR may be beneficial. Additional studies are necessary to determine whether such treatment will delay the onset of congestive heart failure and prolong survival in dogs affected with mild MR. (Am J Vet Res 2003; 64:145–148)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the dietary patterns and intake of nutrients of concern in dogs with cardiac disease.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—82 dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or chronic valvular disease.

Procedure—Owners of dogs were contacted and given a standardized telephone questionnaire regarding diet and a 24-hour food recall to determine daily intake of calories, protein, fat, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Results—Among the 82 dogs, 71% had no congestive heart failure (CHF), and 29% had CHF or a history of CHF. Sixty-one percent of dogs had concurrent diseases. Anorexia was or had been evident in 34% of dogs and was significantly more common in the CHF group and in dogs with DCM. Most dogs (92%) received some treats and table food, with a median percentage of daily calories from treats of 19% (range, 0% to 100%). Most owners (57%) that administered pills used human or pet foods for pill administration. Most dogs ate more than the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum values for fat and protein. Daily sodium intake varied from 14 to 384 mg/100 kcal, compared with the AAFCO minimum of 17 mg/100 kcal. A median of 25% of total daily sodium came from treats and table food (range, 0% to 100%). Dogs with CHF ate significantly more sodium, compared with dogs with no CHF.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dietary intake for dogs with cardiac disease is highly variable and often not optimal. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223: 1301–1305)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical features of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Great Danes and to determine whether DCM is familial in this breed.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—17 Great Danes with DCM.

Procedure—Medical records of Great Danes in which DCM was diagnosed on the basis of results of echocardiography (fractional shortening < 25%, endsystolic volume index > 30 ml/m2 of body surface area) were reviewed. Pedigrees were obtained for affected animals, as well as for other Great Danes in which DCM had been diagnosed.

Results—Dilated cardiomyopathy appeared to be familial and was characterized by ventricular dilatation, congestive heart failure (left-sided or biventricular), and atrial fibrillation. Pedigree analysis suggested that DCM was inherited as an X-linked recessive trait, but the mode of inheritance could not be definitively identified.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that DCM may be an X-linked recessive trait in Great Danes. Thus, dogs with DCM probably should not be used for breeding, and female offspring of affected dogs should be used cautiously. Male offspring of affected females are at an increased risk of developing DCM and should be evaluated periodically for early signs of disease. Results of pedigree analysis were preliminary and should be used only as a guide for counseling breeders, rather than as a basis for making breeding decisions. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:729–732)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To identify, by means of 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography, electrocardiographic abnormalities in overtly healthy Doberman Pinschers in which results of echocardiography were abnormal.

Design—Clinical case series.

Animals—56 (35 male, 21 female) overtly healthy Doberman Pinschers with echocardiographic evidence of cardiomyopathy on initial examination that subsequently died of cardiomyopathy.

Procedure—Twenty-four-hour ambulatory electrocardiographic (Holter) recordings obtained at the time of initial examination were reviewed. For all dogs, scan quality was > 90%.

Results—Initial Holter recordings of all 56 dogs contained ventricular premature contractions (VPC). Thirty-six (65%) dogs had > 1,000 VPC/24 h, 17 (31%) had > 5,000 VPC/24 h, and 11 (19%) had > 10,000 VPC/24 h. Fifty-four (96%) dogs had couplets of VPC, 37 (66%) had triplets of VPC, and 36 (64%) had episodes of nonsustained (< 30 seconds) ventricular tachycardia. Number of VPC/24 h during the initial Holter recordings was positively correlated with numbers of couplets and triplets of VPC and number of ventricular escape beats and negatively correlated with left ventricular fractional shortening. Twentyeight dogs died suddenly prior to the putative onset of congestive heart failure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that along with echocardiography, 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography can be used to help identify overtly healthy Doberman Pinschers with cardiomyopathy. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217: 1328–1332)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To describe the historical, clinical, and echocardiographic findings in Dalmatians with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Design

Retrospective case series.

Sample Population

9 Dalmatians with a diagnosis of DCM and congestive heart failure (CHF), 9 Doberman Pinschers with DCM and CHF, and 9 dogs of other breeds with DCM and CHF.

Procedure

Disease history; signalment; physical, radiographic, and echocardiographic examination findings; treatment; and outcome from medical records were analyzed.

Results

All Dalmatians were male, with a mean age of 6.8 years. Eight dogs had been fed a commercially available low-protein diet formulated for the prevention of urate uroliths. All dogs had clinical signs consistent with left-sided CHF and had marked left ventricular systolic dysfunction and severe left ventricular dilatation, although arrhythmias were not an important finding in this series of dogs. Median duration of survival was 10 months.

Clinical Implications

The DCM syndrome in Dalmatians has some qualities that are distinct from DCM in other breeds of dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1592–1596)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To determine signalment, diagnoses, presence of effusions in multiple sites, and outcome in cats with peritoneal effusion.

Design

Retrospective case series.

Animals

65 cats.

Procedure

Medical records from 1981 to 1997 were reviewed to obtain information on cats with peritoneal effusion identified on physical examination, radiographs, abdominal ultrasonograms, or at necropsy.

Results

Conditions most commonly associated with peritoneal effusion in cats, in order of frequency, were cardiovascular disease, neoplasia, hepatic disease, renal disease, feline infectious peritonitis, peritonitis attributable to other causes, and urinary tract trauma. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) was the most common disease associated with peritoneal effusion; however, DCM was diagnosed in most of these cats before taurine deficiency was found to be a primary cause of this form of cardiomyopathy in cats. Neoplasia was the most common cause after 1987. Right-sided congestive heart failure was the most commonly associated disorder in cats < 1 year old, whereas neoplastic disease was more common with increasing age. Most effusions were detected during the initial physical examination and were modified transudates. Peritoneal effusion was commonly accompanied by fluid accumulation elsewhere, particularly pleural effusion. The prognosis for a cat with abdominal effusion in this study was poor (mean survival time, 21 days; range, 1 to 350 days; median, 2.5 days).

Clinical Implications

The primary differential diagnosis for peritoneal effusion in cats is neoplastic disease in older cats and right-sided heart failure in kittens. Diseases associated with peritoneal effusion generally have poor prognoses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:375–381)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To investigate development of femoral artery occlusion in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

954 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Procedure

1,750 cardiovascular examinations consisting of visual inspection of mucous membranes, thoracic auscultation in areas associated with the heart valves, thoracic palpation, and palpation of the femoral arteries were made at 10 dog shows on 954 dogs. Findings of clinically normal, weak, or undetectable femoral pulses were recorded. Pathologic changes in occluded femoral arteries of 2 dogs were examined histologically.

Results

Of the 954 dogs, 22 (2.3%) had an undetectable right or left femoral pulse on 1 or more examinations. Forty (4.2%) additional dogs had weak unilateral or bilateral femoral pulses. Only 1 dog had exercise intolerance, and it had coexistent congestive heart failure. Histologic examination of serial sections of an occluded femoral artery from 1 dog revealed intimai thickening with breaks in the internal elastic lamina proximal to the occluded segment. The occluded segment of the femoral artery was contracted and filled with an organizing, recanalizing thrombus. Similar histopathologic changes were found in sections of a femoral artery from another dog.

Clinical Implications

Femoral artery occlusion is rare in other breeds and is not clinically important in dogs because of adequate collateral circulation; however, its rather common development in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels indicates a genetic predisposition and probable weakness in the femoral artery wall. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;211:872–874)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To determine the prevalence of attenuated wavy fibers in the myocardium of dogs with and without dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Design

Prevalence survey.

Animals

70 dogs clinically suspected to have DCM (ie, fractional shortening < 25%, absence of echocardiographic lesions other than chamber dilatation, and radiographic or postmortem evidence of congestive heart failure) and 147 dogs with chronic valvular disease (n = 60), congenital heart disease (49), myocardial infarcts (23), myocarditis (8), or endocarditis (7).

Procedure

Echocardiography and electrocardiography were performed, and thoracic radiographs were obtained with dogs in left lateral recumbency. Necropsy specimens were examined for attenuated wavy fibers (ie, myocardial cells < 6 μm in diameter with a wavy appearance).

Results

65 of 70 dogs clinically suspected to have DCM were confirmed to have the disease on postmortem examination, and 64 of 65 had attenuated wavy fibers. The remaining 5 dogs were found during postmortem examination to have heart disease other than DCM, and none had attenuated wavy fibers. Only 1 of 147 dogs with heart disease other than DCM had attenuated wavy fibers.

Clinical Implications

Findings suggest that histologic examination for attenuated wavy fibers may be a useful postmortem test for DCM in dogs. The diagnosis was confirmed in 65 of 70 dogs suspected to have DCM on the basis of standard clinical criteria. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212: 1732–1734)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To determine whether ventricular late potentials, detected by means of signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG), were associated with sudden death in Doberman Pinschers with occult cardiomyopathy.

Design

Case series.

Animals

39 Doberman Pinschers with occult cardiomyopathy.

Procedure

Cardiomyopathy was diagnosed by means of serial echocardiography and ambulatory electrocardiography; SAECG was performed 1 or more times for each dog.

Results

12 dogs died suddenly; the other 27 died after developing overt clinical signs of congestive heart failure. Results of SAECG were associated with outcome, and dogs in which ventricular late potentials were detected were more likely to die suddenly. However, 5 dogs for which results of SAECG were normal (n = 2) or equivocal (3) also died suddenly.

Clinical Implications

Results suggest that SAECG may be useful in predicting whether Doberman Pinschers with occult cardiomyopathy, confirmed on the basis of results of echocardiography, are at risk of dying suddenly. However, the possibility of sudden death cannot be ruled out simply because results of SAECG are normal. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;213:235-239)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To characterize prevalence and type of cardiac disease evident in psittacine birds during postmortem examination.

Design

Retrospective study.

Animals

26 psittacine birds with gross and histologic evidence of cardiac disease.

Procedure

Records of postmortem examinations of psittacine birds necropsied during a 4-year period were reviewed. Data on gross and histologic evidence of cardiac disease were analyzed. Birds identified included those in which congestive heart failure (CHF) was considered the primary cause of death and those in which substantial cardiac disease was evident, despite a lack of postmortem findings supportive of CHF.

Results

Of 269 psittacine birds necropsied, 26 (9.7%) had evidence of cardiac disease. In 15 (58%) birds with cardiac disease, changes consistent with CHF were evident and were sufficiently severe as to be considered the cause of death. The remaining 11 birds had cardiac lesions secondary to other systemic diseases; cardiac lesions were considered to be an incidental finding in these birds, and CHF was not evident. Of the 15 birds with CHF, 10 had evidence of right ventricular or biventricular failure, whereas only 5 had evidence of left ventricular failure.

Clinical Implications

Prevalence of cardiac disease in the psittacine birds reported here was similar to that seen clinically in other companion animals. The high incidence of right ventricular or biventricular heart failure in psittacine birds was similar to that for poultry in which lesions of right-sided heart failure predominate. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:1737–1742)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association