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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Health

Dog heart medicine research results promising

A cardiac medication made specifically for dogs is nearly doubling the survival time for pets suffering from congestive heart failure, a study has found.

Dogs with heart failure caused by valvular insufficiency, the most common type, live on average 267 days versus 140 days longer when treated with Vetmedin compared with ACE inhibitor benazepril hydrochloride, another common treatment option, according to a media release.

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Results of the three-year study, called Quality of Life and Extension of Survival Time, can be found in the September/October 2008 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The research involving 260 dogs studied in 11 countries was conducted by a team of 32 independent veterinary cardiologists from Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

"Dogs treated with Vetmedin live on average nearly twice as long as those on benazepril," said Adrian Boswood of the Royal Veterinary College, London, a veterinary cardiology specialist and a lead investigator in the study. "It is now time for us as veterinary cardiologists and practicing veterinarians to look again at how we are treating our patients suffering from this serious condition."

"The study provides compelling evidence that dogs with the most common form of heart failure should be receiving Vetmedin as an essential part of their treatment regimen," said Michael O'Grady of Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, another lead researcher.

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Congestive heart failure caused by valvular insufficiency most commonly affects older, small breed dogs, including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Poodles, Chihuahuas and Dachshunds. Symptoms include coughing, reduced tolerance for exercise, anxiety and restlessness during the night, and labored breathing.


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