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Boehringer study makes breakthrough in canine cardiology treatment


Nov 02, 2017 - Animal Pharm
By Sian Lazell
Animal Pharm
November 2, 2017


A new study has shown pimobendan can prolong the time until the onset of congestive heart failure in dogs.

Results of the EPIC (Evaluation of Pimobendan In dogs with Cardiomegaly) study showed time until onset of congestive heart failure, secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD), was prolonged by 15 months in pimobendan-treated dogs.

The study was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, using its pimobendan heart disease treatment Vetmedin.

The study also found pimobendan-treated dogs lived longer than placebo-treated dogs. The researchers said the findings signal a ground-breaking shift in the management of MMVD – the most common form of canine heart disease.

MMVD is characterized by a heart murmur. It globally affects up to 7.5% of all dogs globally and significantly dogs that are at a higher risk, typically the smaller breeds.

However, in the preclinical stage of MMVD, no symptoms are visible to dog owners but the underlying progression of the disease is irreversible. The researchers said their findings will enable dogs suffering from MMVD to be identified in the preclinical stage and treated before symptoms emerge. 

Professor Jens Häggström, lead investigator of the EPIC trial, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, explained: "The conclusions from this study will transform the way we approach our response to heart murmurs. Vets no longer have to adopt a 'watch and wait' approach when dealing with suspected cases of heart disease. For the first time, veterinary professionals will be equipped to combat MMVD earlier, improving a dog's quality of life by delaying the onset of clinical signs such as coughing, difficulties in breathing and exercise intolerance."

The EPIC study is the largest global clinical trial to be conducted in veterinary cardiology. It was led by independent cardiologists at 36 specialist veterinary cardiac investigative centers in 11 countries.  

Dr Joachim Hasenmaier, head of Boehringer's animal health business and a managing director at the firm, said: "It is exceptionally rare for any veterinary product to offer such life-changing benefits to dogs and their owners, and this five-year study provides a real opportunity for not only improvement to quality of life, but also an increased life expectancy."

The results of the EPIC trial can be found in full here

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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