2429: The Assessment of Ejection Murmurs in the Boxer Dog

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $20,520
Dr. Kathryn M Meurs, DVM PhD, Ohio State University
April 1, 2003 - March 31, 2004
Sponsor(s): American Boxer Charitable Foundation
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Treatment

Abstract

Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) is a common, inherited birth defect of the heart. SAS often affects Boxers and impacts breeding programs. Severely affected dogs are at risk for heart failure, heart infection, and sudden death. Veterinarians usually identify SAS by listening for a heart murmur. In over 50 percent of Boxers, a murmur compatible with SAS is found, prompting sophisticated ultrasound imaging (echocardiography) and blood flow studies (Doppler). Even these tests may not distinguish a stressed or excited, but otherwise normal, dog, from one with mild SAS. This uncertainty is a source of frustration to Boxer breeders. The proposed study explores causes of soft murmurs and increased blood velocities in Boxers. Extensive noninvasive ultrasound studies comparing affected and unaffected dogs are proposed. Furthermore, the origin of these soft murmurs is investigated in a subgroup of Boxers. In these clinical evaluations we will employ "gold standard" methods of X-ray contrast angiography (die), direct (catheter) measurement of blood flow in the heart, and recording of heart murmurs within the heart and blood vessels. We hope to answer the pivotal questions: are these soft murmurs and increased blood velocities really due to SAS, or do they simply represent a normal physiologic event?

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