The Evaluation of pimobendan in dogs with cardiomegaly caused by preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (EPIC) study monitored dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) as they developed congestive heart failure (CHF).
To describe the changes in clinical and radiographic variables occurring as dogs with MMVD and cardiomegaly develop CHF, compared to similar dogs that do not develop CHF.
One hundred and thirty-five, and 73 dogs that did or did not develop CHF, respectively.
The following variables were evaluated in 2 groups of dogs (dogs that did or did not develop CHF): Heart rate (HR), clinic respiratory rate (RR), home-measured resting respiratory rate (RRR), rectal temperature (RT), body weight (BW), and vertebral heart sum (VHS). Absolute value and rate of change of each variable were calculated for each day a dog was in study. Daily means were calculated and plotted against time. The onset of CHF or last visit before leaving the study were set as reference time points.
The most extreme values and rate of change occurred in variables immediately before onset of CHF. Vertebral heart sum increased earliest. Heart rate, RR, and RRR also increased. Rectal temperature and BW decreased. Increases in RR and RRR were most extreme and occurred immediately before CHF.
Dogs with MMVD and cardiomegaly experience increases in HR, RR, RRR, and VHS, and decreases in BW and RT as they develop CHF. The variables with highest absolute change and rate of change were RR and RRR. These findings reinforce the value of RR and RRR as indicators of impending or incipient CHF.

© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.