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Companion Animal Practice
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy 1. Breed manifestations and diagnosis
  1. Joanna Dukes McEwan

    Joanna Dukes McEwan graduated from Glasgow in 1986. After spending some time in practice and working as a house physician, she returned to Glasgow as a resident in small animal clinical studies, majoring in cardiology, internal medicine and neurology. She was awarded the RCVS certificate in small animal cardiology in 1989 and the diploma in veterinary cardiology in 1992. She has an MVM in veterinary neurology and a PhD for studies on canine dilated cardiomyopathy. She is an RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology and currently works as a research fellow in veterinary cardiology at Edinburgh.


CANINE dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition characterised by impaired myocardial contractility and progressive dilatation of the left, right or all four chambers of the heart, without proportionate compensatory myocardial hypertrophy. The condition has, to date, been considered an idiopathic disease of unknown aetiology, although there is evidence that there might be a genetic basis to the disease in many dog breeds. This article describes some of the breed-specific manifestations of canine DCM and discusses the evidence for a genetic aetiology. It also highlights the need for early diagnosis of the asymptomatic stages of the condition (occult DCM), which, if undetected, can lead to sudden death or congestive heart failure. A second article, to be published in the next issue, will discuss the treatment and management of canine DCM.

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