Cardiology

Clinical trials for Cardiology specialty

  • Description

    We have started a new study to evaluate the use of ultrasound as a quick and non-invasive method of measuring muscle mass in dogs.  In many of the common diseases of dogs, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and cancer, a big problem that occurs is muscle loss.  This muscle loss is important because it can make dogs weak and can negatively affect their quality of life.  We have been studying methods of diagnosing and treating cachexia (the muscle loss that occurs with various diseases) for over 15 years. We are currently evaluating whether ultrasound, an non-invasive test, can be used to quickly and easily diagnose muscle loss in its early stages. 

    Inclusion Criteria

    To be eligible, dogs must be healthy 1-5 year old, neutered dogs (male or female) of the following breeds:

    *Chihuahua

    *Dachshund

    *Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    *Doberman pinscher

    *Boxer

     

    Dogs must be purebred and should have no heart murmur or other medical problems. 

    Exclusion Criteria

    Dogs with heart murmurs or any significant medical conditions

    Client Benefits

    If eligible, the dog will get a free examination at Tufts, will have a small blood sample collected (less than ½ teaspoon; to measure red blood cell count, blood sugar, and an estimate of kidney function), an x-ray of the chest to measure bone size, and an ultrasound of the muscles over his or her back (no shaving required). 

     

    In addition to getting the free tests (blood test, x-ray, and ultrasound of the back muscles), this information will be beneficial in the future for dogs with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and other common diseases by validating an easy ultrasound test to measure muscle mass. 

    Contact Information

    Dr. Lisa Freeman Phone: (508) 887-4696

  • Description: Congenital heart defects occur in a variety of dog breeds, with the most common being the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).  Although this is a correctable disorder in most puppies, it requires surgery or a catheter-based procedure which can be expensive and is not without risk.  Therefore, determining the genetic cause of PDA in dogs would be highly desirable so that dogs could be screened and the genetic mutation could be eventually bred out of the canine population.  Corgis are a breed at increased risk for PDAs, so the goal of this study is to evaluate Corgis with and without PDAs in order to identify the gene mutation for this heart problem.

    Inclusion Criteria:                                      

    Pembroke Welsh Corgis with a documented PDA will be studied.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Breeds other than Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover the cost of an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) as well as a blood sample for DNA testing.

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

  • Description:

    Previous studies on laboratory mice show a decrease in growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) in the circulating blood of old mice with age-related myocardial hypertrophy compared with young mice with normal cardiac structure.  The goal of this study is to see if the same GDF11 deficiency is also seen in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).  We will be looking for cats with HCM and cats with normal heart structure to determine if there is a significant difference in the GDF11 concentration between the two groups.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    Cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

    Cats with normal heart structure

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Cats that become overly stressed or anxious during the echocardiogram

    Client Benefits:

    The study will pay for the cost of the exam and echocardiogram.  Your cat’s participation in the study will also allow us to gain information which will help in the management and treatment of other cats with HCM

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

  • Enrollment beginning January 2015

    Description:

    Currently, no medical treatments have been shown to delay the progression of chronic valvular disease (CVD) in dogs, which is a very common heart disease in dogs. In this disease, heart valves become thickened and can no longer keep blood from leaking backwards, leading to fluid accumulation in the lungs (congestive heart failure, CHF). Surgical repair of the valves has shown potential in reversing some changes from the heart disease and prolonging survival time, but this remains a relatively high-risk surgery that very few veterinary hospitals are capable of performing. The cost of the procedure is also financially prohibitive to most dog owners.

    If we can show that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatment is not only safe but can delay the progression of CVD in dogs, this would be the first non-surgical treatment option available to our canine patients. Our results would also have particular relevance for those human patients who cannot undergo valve repair surgery due to unacceptable anesthetic or surgical risks.

    We hypothesize that MSC therapy is safe when administered intravenously (IV) to dogs in CHF, and MSC therapy will result in improved cardiac function as assessed by echocardiography, cardiac biomarkers, or the quality of life of the patient.

    Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria:                                                                      

    A total of 10 client-owned dogs of any sex or age with active CHF secondary to CVD to the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals will be recruited for this clinical trial. Congestive heart failure will be confirmed on chest x-rays to verify the presence of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

    Dogs with chronic kidney disease, liver disease, uncontrolled hypothyroidism, cancer, high blood pressure, active infection, metabolic disorders, and autoimmune disease will be excluded from the study.

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover all of the costs associated with echocardiograms, chest x-rays, bloodwork analysis, blood pressures, ECG monitoring, and recheck exam fees. It will not cover the initial hospitalization cost for congestive heart failure stabilization. It will also not cover any medication costs or costs related to disease of other organ systems. Your pet’s participation will allow us to gain information which will help in the treatment of other dogs with this CVD and CHF. You understand that your animal’s participation in this study may not alleviate or cure his/her ailment.

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

  • Description:

    The goal of this study is to develop a simple screening method, useful in practice, for the widespread detection of early cardiomyopathy in cats. Cardiac disease is particularly frustrating in cats, as cats may have normal heart sounds, but severe heart disease, or very abnormal heart sounds and no clinically significant disease. Echocardiography (ECHO) by a cardiologist is the gold standard for determination of heart disease in cats; however, ECHO is not widely available and may be cost –prohibitive. Biomarkers, specifically NT pro-BNP and troponin have been introduced and validated for documentation of heart disease in cats, but have not been widely evaluated in apparently healthy pet cats. Our goal is to teach a screening echo – Frontline Cardiac UltraSound –FOCUS to participants, and compare the predictive value of practitioner performed FOCUS exam, physical examination, EKG analysis and biomarker assessment for determining the presence or absence of heart disease with the gold standard of ECHO by a cardiologist.

    Inclusion Criteria:

     Animals to be included:

    a. Species: Feline

    b. Sex: Any

    c. Age Range any greater > 1 year

    d. Weight Range Any; expected to be greater than 4 kg.

     

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover all of the costs of this study, physical exam, EKG, echocardiogram, biomarker blood test.  Your pet’s participation will also allow us to gain information that will help in the early identification of heart disease in cats. If we diagnose heart disease in your cat, we may be able to institute treatment earlier than we would otherwise have been able to do. You understand that your animal’s participation in this study may not alleviate or cure his/her ailment.

     

    Contact information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

  • Enrollment beginning in January 2015

    Description:

    Cardiomyopathy is a common affliction of the Boxer breed that is manifested by serious ventricular arrhythmias, dilation and reduced vigor of contraction of the heart, or both. The arrhythmic form of the disease bears a striking resemblance to arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in people, an important cause of sudden cardiac death in young human athletes that is characterized by replacement of the normal heart muscle by fat, scar tissue, and inflammation.

    Current treatment strategies focus on controlling symptomatic arrhythmias, however no medical treatment has been shown to prevent sudden cardiac death. Current therapies also fail to address the underlying structural changes in the heart muscle that inexorably progress, resulting in worsening arrhythmia, cardiac dilation and, in some patients congestive heart failure.

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exert anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects that may prove useful in attenuating the inflammation and remodeling of the heart muscle that characterizes the disease, in turn improving arrhythmia frequency and potentially quality of life or survival times of dogs with ARVC. The major goal of this study is to evaluate preliminary safety of intravenous administration of MSCs in Boxers with ARVC, and to assess their effect on arrhythmia frequency, improving cardiac structural abnormalities, or prolonging survival in affected animals by reducing inflammation or deposition of scar tissue in the heart.

    Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria: 

    A total of 12 client-owned Boxers of any sex or age with cardiomyopathy will be enrolled in this study. Dogs with advanced congestive heart failure, clinically significant congenital heart disease, kidney or liver disease, cancer, active infection, or autoimmune disease will be excluded from the study.

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover the costs for your dog’s bloodwork, echocardiogram, blood pressure measurement, ECG and Holter monitoring, 4 hours of observation and continuous ECG monitoring following the injection, and recheck visits during the 6 month study period. The study will also cover up to $500 of any costs incurred due to complications from the study; it will not cover any other medication or hospitalization costs. Your pet’s participation will allow us to gain information which will help in the treatment of Boxers and potentially people with this condition. You understand that your animal’s participation in this study may not alleviate or cure his/her ailment

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu