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Objectives—To determine whether attenuated wavy fibers may be found in the myocardium of Newfoundlands without clinical or echocardiographic evidence of heart disease.

Animals—15 Newfoundlands from a kennel with a known predisposition to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and 32 dogs of other breeds that died suddenly or were euthanatized for reasons unrelated to heart disease and did not have gross postmortem evidence of heart disease.

Procedure—Echocardiography was performed on all Newfoundlands on a yearly basis. Necropsy specimens from all dogs were evaluated for attenuated wavy fibers (ie, myocardial cells < 6 µm in diameter with a wavy appearance).

Results—None of the Newfoundlands had clinical signs of heart disease, and results of echocardiographic examinations were within reference ranges. Seven Newfoundlands had histologic evidence of attenuated wavy fibers, whereas attenuated wavy fibers were not found in the remaining 8 Newfoundlands or in any of the 32 dogs of other breeds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that attenuated wavy fibers in dogs with a known predisposition for DCM may indicate an early stage of the disease. However, further studies on a larger number of dogs are needed to confirm this hypothesis. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:238-241)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


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


Prevalence survey.


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).


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).


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