Simple ultrasound to assess dogs with heart murmurs

New Mitral Valve Disease Outpatient Cardiac Ultrasound Service

The EPIC study has recently been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. EPIC stands for Evaluation of Pimobendan In Cardiomegaly.

This groundbreaking study has shown that at last we have a way to slow down the progression of sub-clinical mitral valve disease in small breed dogs. The EPIC study showed that when small breed dogs that had mitral valve disease causing cardiomegaly but not congestive heart failure were treated with pimobendan there was a significantly longer time period before they progressed to congestive heart failure as well as an increased survival time. This study only demonstrated benefit for dogs with radiographically and sonographically confirmed cardiomegaly. The echocardiographic parameters were found to be of key importance. Currently treatment is not recommended in patients with a heart murmur and no cardiomegaly. To enable you and your patients to benefit from these very significant findings, Optivet have now introduced a special ‘’EPIC” outpatient ultrasound service. This service is offered to dogs weighing less than 15 kg with a grade 3 or louder heart murmur without signs of congestive heart failure (ie increased sleeping respiratory rate or exercise intolerance).

An out-patient echocardiographic examination will be performed to specifically report on the criteria defined in the EPIC study (confirmation of mitral regurgitation with thickened mitral valve, left atrial to aortic ratio and normalised left ventricular diameter in diastole). A written report will be sent stating whether the criteria are met. Thoracic radiography is advised to be performed at your clinic and of course ongoing/lifelong pimobendan, if indicated, will be prescribed by your clinic. To enable the maximum number of dogs to benefit, these ultrasounds will be priced at a reduced rate of £150. If you have patients that would benefit from this service, please call reception and ask for an “EPIC ultrasound booking’’. Please note that this service is specifically designed for evaluation of the EPIC criteria only. A full echocardiographic examination is still required for any other cardiac cases. If you have any questions, please contact any of the medicine team at Optivet.

EPIC decision-making tree treatment of mitral valve disease made simple