Effect of pimobendan on physical fitness, lactate and echocardiographic parameters in dogs with preclinical mitral valve disease without cardiomegaly
Pimobendan has gained enormous importance in the treatment of mitral valve disease in dogs. The current consensus statement of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) recommends a treatment for dogs with symptomatic disease and dogs with asymptomatic disease with radiographic and echocardiographic signs of cardiomegaly. To investigate whether these dogs also benefit from a therapy with pimobendan, 21 dogs with mitral valve disease ACVIM B1 underwent a standardized submaximal exercise test on a treadmill. In this double-blinded and randomized study, the animals were divided into two groups, one receiving pimobendan and the other a placebo. At the first visit and at every follow-up appointment (at days 90 and 180), heart rate during the complete exercise test and lactate before and after running were measured. In addition to this, a questionnaire was completed by the dogs' owners and all dogs were given an echocardiographic examination to detect any changes and to observe if the disease had progressed. Due to the diagnosis of leishmaniosis, one dog in the pimobendan group was retrospectively removed from the study so that 20 dogs were included for statistical analysis. No differences were observed at any time between the pimobendan-group and the placebo-group regarding heart rate. At day 180, the increase in lactate after exercise was significantly lower than in the placebo-group. The increase in the pimobendan-group at day 180 was lower than at day 90. Most of the dog owners from the pimobendan-group declared that their dogs were more active at day 90 (6/10) and at day 180 (8/10), while most dog owners from the placebo-group observed no changes regarding activity at day 90 (8/10) and day 180 (6/10). It can be concluded that the results of this study indicate that some dogs with mitral valve disease ACVIM B1 might benefit from a therapy with pimobendan.
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