Innovation in Boxers with Cardiac Disease

RoxTylerStumpPond2Cardiomyopathy is a common affliction of the Boxer breed with as many of one-third of Boxers developing cardiomyopathy during their lifetime. Early in the disease affected dogs develop ventricular arrhythmias, which are often isolated and infrequent. At this stage a routine ECG may identify ventricular arrhythmias and lead to suspicion of disease, but the definitive diagnosis usually is established from a combination of a 24-hour ambulatory ECG (Holter) recording and echocardiography. As the disease progresses and arrhythmia worsens, severe ventricular arrhythmias can result in clinical signs of syncope or sudden death. Some proportion of dogs will develop features of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), with ventricular dilation and reduced contractile function, often progressing to overt congestive heart failure. Recent studies have indicated that dogs that go on to develop the DCM phenotype of the disease are likely to be homozygous for the same genetic mutation (in the striatin gene) associated with the arrhythmic form of the disease. This suggests that DCM in Boxers is likely a continuum of the same disease. Continue reading

Clinical Case Challenge

Case description:

“Sadie”, an 11-year-old female Pit Bull, presented to the Cardiology Service at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals for further evaluation and treatment of a cardiac mass and signs of persistent right-sided congestive heart failure(RCHF). Sadie had previously been treated with standard doses of furosemide and pimobendan. Previous three-view thoracic radiographs at Tufts VETS showed possible small pulmonary nodules, and an abdominal ultrasound showed large volume ascites and nodules in both the spleen and liver.

Continue reading

At Your Service: Cardiology

The clinical cardiology service at Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals is a full-service team comprised of two board-certified cardiologists, two cardiology residents, and one full-time cardiology technician, dedicated to providing advanced diagnostics and treatment options and excellence in patient care. We are happy to evaluate animals with suspected or known cardiac disease, including animals with a cardiac murmur, gallop or arrhythmia; cough or shortness of breath; animals with collapse or fainting; animals that might need a pacemaker; and those with known congenital disease that might benefit from a catheter-based intervention or surgery. Advanced diagnostic capabilities include availability of transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, C-arm fluoroscopy for interventional procedures, computed tomography and MRI, Holter and event monitoring, and in-house telemetry (continuous ECG) monitoring.    Continue reading

Cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) study

Pure-bred Labrador retrievers: cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) study
Dr. Randy J. Boudrieau, Diplomate ACVS & ECVS
Professor of Surgery
Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
N. Grafton, MA 01536

As a summary of this study, we are radiographing (X-rays) the hind limbs of the Pure-bred Labrador retrievers (femurs, tibia and pelvis). This is a comparison study between normal dogs vs. dogs with cruciate ligament tears; (we prefer to radiograph older dogs > 6-yr, to see if they have avoided a cruciate tear, if so, then it is unlikely they will have one). We see many dogs in our hospital with cruciate tears during our day, and it is most commonly found in this breed.This is the reason we are not actively soliciting dogs with a cranial cruciate rupture (our hospital population takes care of this group). Continue reading