View Full Version : Drug gives extra months of life to MVD dogs

11th July 2006, 10:50 AM
Many will already know of Pimobendan as it is widely used for MVD dogs, but this is very interesting. Simon Swift is the cardiologist who has worked with the UK Club and is currently urging them to be far more proactive about MVD and their breeding practices. This is from www.ukpets.co.uk.

Monday 10 July 2006
Canine Heart Drug Breakthrough

Dogs suffering from heart failure can gain an extra nine months of life
over conventional treatments by using a newer therapy, according to a
new study.

The most common heart disease in dogs is caused by degeneration of the
heart valves, causing them to become leaky.

The study found that dogs with congestive heart failure, due to valve
problems, treated with a conventional ACE inhibitor lived on average for
128 days – some four months. However those who started on the newer
drug, pimobendan (Vetmedin, Boehringer Ingelheim), lived on average 415
days – around 13 months.

The study also found a rapid response to the newer treatment. Boehringer
claims that within seven days over 50% of dogs were symptom free.

Around 20,000 dogs a year in the UK develop a type of heart failure
called mitral valve disease. The problem is most common in small breeds,
with Cavalier King Charles spaniels being especially vulnerable.

Overall, of the 6 million dogs in the UK around one in ten (10%) will be
diagnosed with various forms of heart disease during their lifetime.

Mr Simon Swift, a veterinary cardiologist from Liverpool University, who
has a special interest in canine heart problems, said the latest study
added to a growing pool of data that pimobendan increased longevity as
well as improving quality of life.

"The evidence increasingly pointed to pimobendan being used as
first-line treatment for canine heart failure rather than an ACE
inhibitor, instead of being kept in reserve as rescue therapy," he said.

Submitted by: Steve O'Malley

12th July 2006, 04:44 PM
Thanks, Karlin.

I've printed this out and will take it to the vets next Tuesday, when Cailean goes for his check-up.

Declan was started on this drug immediately. Now I want to know why Cailean hasn't been. Sounds like it's good stuff.

Thx again.

amanda L
16th July 2006, 12:43 PM
Does anyone know if mitral valve repair or replacement is actually performed in canines ? I have heard of pimobendan being increasingly used in preference to enalapril, but am not sure if surgery is an option for dogs with MVD.

16th July 2006, 01:02 PM
Laura Lang once posted about this -- apparently there has been one known replacement and it required months of 24/7 care of the dog before it recovered. The owner was a vet nurse herself and could supply the care. Apparently the valve surgeries are not generally successful in dogs but I don't recall the reason why.

On the other hand:


It looks like cavaliers would be too small given that success was based on weight being greater than 22 lbs.

See also:


Survival rates are not very long.

16th July 2006, 04:14 PM
Dr. Christopher Orton at Colorado State University leads a surgical team which performs heart valve replacement surgeries. See the details at http://www.cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

18th July 2006, 07:04 PM
Karlin, given the confidence of your advice, I was able to really discuss Cailean's treatment tonight.

Over the last 7 days, his cough has NOT diminished at all. I told the vet I wasn't happy with the lack of improvement, because Declan always improved within 48 hours of his meds. being adjusted.

I said I would like him to be on Vetmedin and she said there was different schools of thought about the drug. I told her I believe that the pro's outweigh the cons, particularly as Cailean's life-expectancy is relatively short.

She agreed to switch him from Fortekor to Vetmedin and to drop the Frusemide for a week.

I'm pleased she is ready to plan his treatment with me. The plan is to start him off on Vetmedin only, see how he goes over a week and if his panting sounds 'wet' in the meantime, to start him back on frusemide.

At least I know what he sounds like when he gets fluidy.

The sad part is that she agrees that Declan had a good innings after presenting with his cough - about 8 months :( :(, but we do know what we're dealing with in Cailean anyway.

28th July 2006, 07:58 PM

How is little Cailean doing on his Vetmedin? Is there any change in his condition? I really hope he has many years left in him yet xxxxx

28th July 2006, 08:51 PM
I was just thinking about him too. Any results? Hope he is doing well.

28th July 2006, 09:36 PM
He's feeling fine in himself. I wouldn't say there's any improvement in the coughing.

He's now on a combination of Vetmedin & Frusemide and going back to the vets in a fortnight.

It's a shame, but his cough is not as responsive to meds as his dad's was :(

I'm still taking each day as it comes with him - there's no doubt he's happy, although very overheated in this weather. Can't wait for it to cool down - maybe his cough will subside a little then.

Thanks for thinking of him.

31st July 2006, 11:14 PM
Poor little love, give him a hug and a kiss from me xxxxx

1st August 2006, 06:04 PM
Cailean is having temporary relief, now that the weather's cooled down.

His cough has, for the time being, subsided and last night he slept right through :).

I've heard it's supposed to get hot again, so he's making the most of the cooler weather.


2nd August 2006, 08:30 PM

I think Maxx is enjoying the cooler weather too. His SM plays up terribly in the heat and it doesn't surprise me as my own nerve problems (in my neck and back) play up when the pressure and humidity builds too :(

I have a friend who spends most of her time in Malta because it is much nicer weather than we have here and no high humidity :D Her joint problems have improved no end since she started going there - maybe we should take the dogs and join her :lol: