Congestive heart failure is a lethal condition. For many years veterinarians have sought for means by which we could delay or prevent the onset of this disease state. Classically, once a dog has developed heart disease, life expectancy has been measured in months. Until recently, studies have not found a medication that once dogs had developed valvular heart disease could either prevent the onset of congestive heart failure or at least delay its inevitable onset to any meaningful extent. This recent study revealed that the medication pimobendan (marked as Vetmedin) reduced the prospect of cardiac related death or developing congestive heart failure by nearly half. Veterinarians need to be cautious though not all dogs with valvular heart disease warrant this therapy, and the study was confined only to those patients that demonstrated left ventricular and left atrial heart enlargement as identified by radiographs and cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography). The appropriateness of and when to start this medication should be carefully considered and addressed with clients as to the benefit and suitability to the individual patient. It is very promising to finally have a medication available to our heart disease patients that can delay or eliminate the onset of congestive heart failure.
Please give us a call here at the BVC to schedule an appointment to discuss the prospects of protecting your heart disease affected pet with Vetmedin.
R K Esherick DVM, Lisa Trevino DVM