Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a common, devastating disease in the Boxer breed that is manifested by serious ventricular arrhythmias, dilation and reduced vigor of contraction of the heart, or both. Elevated markers of inflammation have recently been identified in the bloodstream of people with ARVC, implicating a possible role of systemic inflammation in the progression of the disease. The goal of this study is to measure plasma levels of inflammatory markers in Boxers with the arrhythmic and structural (DCM) forms of cardiomyopathy compared to healthy control Boxers. Associations between plasma markers, genetic testing (striatin status), and clinical markers of disease severity (including Holter and echocardiographic data) will be determined. Enrolled dogs will have a physical examination, blood draw, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and 24 hour Holter monitor performed. Based on the results of this testing, dogs will be assigned into affected or control groups. The results of this study are anticipated to improve our understanding of Boxer ARVC, and potentially open new avenues for screening and treatment of affected dogs.
Healthy Boxers aged 5 years or older, of either sex or neuter status, with no known non-cardiac systemic disease (kidney disease, infection, hypothyroidism, etc.) and no congenital heart disease (e.g. subaortic stenosis, ASD, etc.). Boxers affected with arrhythmia or DCM may be 3 years or older
Dogs that are pregnant or lactating, those with congenital heart disease, and those that have moderate to marked kidney disease, known infection or inflammatory disease, or evidence of other systemic disease that may impact biomarker levels will be excluded from the study.
The study will cover all or most of the costs of the cardiology exam, bloodwork, echocardiogram, and Holter monitor (24 hour ECG). Your pet’s participation will also allow us to gain information which may help in the diagnosis and treatment of other Boxers with this condition.
Dr. Suzanne Cunningham