Inherited Cardiomyopathies - Understanding Unique Clinical and Genetics Aspects for Your Breed

Speaker: Kathryn M. Meurs, DVM, PhD, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Health Conference Articles

2013 Health Conference Report
The Genius of Dogs
Canine Epilepsy: Where We Are and Where We are Going
Inherited Cardiomyopathies - Understanding Unique Clinical and Genetics Aspects for Your Breed
New Strategies to Prevent Canine Posterior Capsule Opacification
Investigation of Cranial Cruciate Ligament Deficiency and Associated Surgical Interventions Using Computer Simulation
Application of Physical Therapy Techniques to our Canine Patients:  The Current Science and Research Opportunities
Regenerative Medicine for Soft Tissue Injuries in the Canine
Bloat: What We Know and Where We Are Going 
High-Risk High-Reward Focus Areas for Research in Canine Gastroenterology: A Clinician-Scientists Perspective 
Genetics 101 for Dog Breeders 
Canine Hemangiosarcoma: How Much Do We Really Know and When Will We Find a Cure?  
The Cytogenomic Landscape of Canine Cancer  

The term “cardiomyopathy” simply means heart muscle disease. There are many types of cardiomyopathy and two of them (Arrhythmogenic, Dilated) are quite common in the dog. These two cardiomyopathies make up a significant proportion of heart disease in the dog. Only diseases of the heart valves are more common.

Dilated cardiomyopathy, as an adult onset disease, is more common in large breed dogs, although all breeds may be susceptible. (Note: My 4 lb. poodle had it at age 13. ~Erin Mayfield) It is characterized by a dilated, poorly functional heart and sometimes disruption of the electrical system. Symptoms can include fainting but also coughing and shortness of breath. It usually appears when the dog is older than 5 years. Although the term “dilated cardiomyopathy” is used for all breeds, the disease can be quite different from one breed to another. It is known that the inheritance for Dobermans, Great Danes, and Irish Wolfhounds are located on different areas of the genes. [The most common form of dilated cardiomyopathy in PWDs is the Juvenile type, for which we have the JDCM gene test.] This indicates that although cardiologists generally think of this as a single disease, it is likely many diseases that appear to look similar clinically. From a genetics point of view we will need to look carefully at the differences in the breeds to be able to find the genetic cause. Ultimately this will be helpful because it may allow for improved treatment of this disease by individualizing therapy to the individual breed.

Learn More about Inherited Cardiomyopathies

Dr. Meurs is a Professor and the Associate Dean of Research at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is board certified from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology). Dr. Meurs has a PhD in Genetics from Texas A&M University and her areas of interest include familial aspects of cardiovascular disease, especially cardiomyopathy.



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