New Era For Dog’s Heart Problems

The release of the results of a three-year study will delight vets and dog owners alike as it means dogs could live a happy life for longer.

The study showed that dogs who suffer from the most common heart failure can live a huge 91 per cent longer if treated with the product Vetmedin(R) (pimobendan) when compared with a different common treatment.

The QUEST (Quality of Life and Extension of Survival Time) study was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine and marks a real milestone in the development of dog cardiac health.

Experts say that 25 per cent of all small to medium sized dogs who live beyond seven years old are likely to suffer from heart disease at some point. 75 per cent of these cases are caused by myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD), which is also known as “endocardiosis” or “valvular insufficiency”.

One of the lead-investigators in the study, a Veterinary Cardiology Specialist called Adrian Boswood from the Royal Veterinary College in London, said:

With QUEST demonstrating that dogs treated with Vetmedin(R) live on average nearly twice as long as those on benazepril(1), it is now time for us as veterinary cardiologists and practising veterinarians to look again at how we are treating our patients suffering from this serious condition.

Dr. Michael O’Grady from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, also a lead-investigator on the study added:

The QUEST study provides compelling evidence that dogs with the most common form of heart failure should be receiving Vetmedin(R) as an essential part of their treatment regimen.

This QUEST trial is the largest international study so far conducted that looked at the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) caused by MMVD. They studied 260 dogs in eleven different countries over a three year period, crossing three continents.

32 independent veterinary cardiologists conducted the study, including veterinarians from France, Germany, the UK, Australia and Canada, plus other countries.

CHF caused by MMVD is found most commonly in small breeds of dogs when they get older, such as Dachshunds, Chihuahua, Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Symptoms for owners to watch for with this type of heart failure include a reduced tolerance of exercise, coughing, anxiety, laboured breathing and restlessness through the night. If a dog owner sees these sorts of symptoms, then they should take their dogs to the vet for assessment.

Jens Häggström, Professor of Veterinary Internal Medicine, University of Uppsala, said:

Dog owners should be encouraged by the results of the QUEST study, as it demonstrates an important treatment option for lengthening a dog’s life when it has this common, debilitating and life-threatening heart condition.

One owner of an eight year old King Charles Spaniel, Fern, who is currently being treated with VetMedin®, Sally Copland said:

With our dogs being so important to our families, we owners should do all we can to make sure our pets are receiving the most effective treatment. None of us want our pets’ lives unnecessarily cut short.

Couldn’t agree more! Further information is available on the QUEST study and CHF caused by MMVD at the official trial website.