The Investigation into the Prevalence of Degenerative Valve Disease in Young Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Normal Auscultation Findings: With reference to breeding protocols

Some studies have shown there is a genetic link to degenerative valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and specific breeding recommendations exist to help limit the prevalence of the disease. The purpose  of this study is to determine if dogs that would otherwise be included in the breeding pool have underlying evidence of this disease on echocardiography (sonogram) and whether different guidelines and screenings should exist. The investigators are also looking to obtain blood samples from the dogs involved in the study to help clarify markers of early disease.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels between the ages of 4 and 5 that are not currently receiving cardiac medications such as pimobendan, ACE inhibitors (enalapril/ benazepril), and/or diuretic therapy (furosemide, torsemide).
  • Exclusion Criteria: Cardiac congenital defects or other systemic illnesses.
  • Study Procedures: Your dog will be evaluated either by a Veterinary Cardiologist or a resident in Veterinary Cardiology under the supervision of a Veterinary Cardiologist. He or she will undergo a cardiac auscultation (evaluation of the heart by listening with a stethoscope) that will take place in a quiet room with minimal restraint. Once the individual has been auscultated, an echocardiogram will be performed.  The individual will be placed in right and left lateral recumbency with light restraint. No sedatives will be administered. Physical examination findings and echocardiographic measurements will be recorded for all patients. Up to 5 ml (1 tsp) of blood will be collected and blood samples will only be drawn once on each patient included in the study.
  • Costs: The examination, echocardiogram, and blood work is performed free of charge. Any additional follow up recommendations, diagnostics, or medications are not covered by the study
  • Contact: Contact the Cardiology service at the Small Animal Hospital at 352-392-2235.

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