1428: Inheritance Patterns and Molecular Genetic Analysis of Doberman Pinschers and Boxer Dogs with Familial Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $71,783
Kathryn M Meurs, DVM, PhD; Ohio State University
December 31, 1997 - December 30, 2000

Sponsor(s): American Boxer Charitable Foundation, Great Dane Club of America

Breed(s): Doberman Pinscher, Boxer
Research Program Area: Cardiology
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Project Summary

This study found that ventricular arrhythmias in Boxers are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Researchers found that asymptomatic Boxers have frequent ventricular premature complexes (VPCs), a specific type of irregular heartbeat that is a common form of ventricular arrhythmia. They determined that a two- to three-minute electrocardiogram (ECG) is a poorly sensitive indicator of VCPs, and instead recommend the use of a 24-hour ambulatory ECG (Holter monitor), even on asymptomatic Boxers. In studying Doberman Pinschers, they ruled out some potential candidate genes for study by demonstrating that two specific proteins and a specific gene that are abnormal in some humans with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) a primary heart muscle disorder that can cause the heart to beat erratically are normal in Dobermans with DCM. Linkage analyses for both Boxers and Dobermans.


Basso, C., Fox, P. R., Meurs, K. M., Towbin, J. A., Spier, A. W., Calabrese, F., … Thiene, G. (2004). Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy Causing Sudden Cardiac Death in Boxer Dogs: A New Animal Model of Human Disease. Circulation, 109(9), 1180–1185. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000118494.07530.65

Meurs, K. M. (2004). Boxer dog cardiomyopathy: an update. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 34(5), 1235–1244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2004.05.003

Meurs, K. M., Magnon, A. L., Spier, A. W., Miller, M. W., Lehmkuhl, L. B., & Towbin, J. A. (2001). Evaluation of the cardiac actin gene in Doberman Pinschers with dilated cardiomyopathy. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 62(1), 33–36. https://doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.2001.62.33

Meurs, K. M., Miller, M. W., & Wright, N. A. (2001). Clinical features of dilated cardiomyopathy in Great Danes and results of a pedigree analysis: 17 cases (1990-2000). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 218(5), 729–732. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2001.218.729

Meurs, K. M., Spier, A. W., Miller, M. W., Lehmkuhl, L., & Towbin, J. A. (1999). Familial Ventricular Arrhythmias in Boxers. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 13, 437–439.

Meurs, K. M., Spier, A. W., Wright, N. A., Atkins, C. E., DeFrancesco, T. C., Gordon, S. G., … Moise, N. S. (2002). Comparison of the effects of four antiarrhythmic treatments for familial ventricular arrhythmias in Boxers. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 221(4), 522–527. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2002.221.522

Meurs, K. M., Spier, A. W., Wright, N. A., & Hamlin, R. L. (2001). Comparison of in-hospital versus 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography for detection of ventricular premature complexes in mature Boxers. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 218(2), 222–224. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.2001.218.222

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