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Vet J. 2001 Sep;162(2):92-107.

Canine idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Part I: Aetiology, clinical characteristics, epidemiology and pathology.

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  • 1Albano Animal Hospital of Stockholm, Rinkebyvägen 23, S-182 36 Danderyd, Sweden.


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), characterized by chamber dilatation and myocardial systolic and diastolic dysfunction, is one of the most common heart diseases in dogs. The aetiology of the myocardial hypokineis is seldom known in the individual case of DCM, although several theories concerning genetic, nutritional, metabolic, inflammatory, infectious, or drug- or toxin-induced myocardial disease have been discussed. DCM is often referred to as being breed-specific for Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, English Cocker Spaniels and other breeds. Review of reports on histopathologic findings in canine DCM reveals two histologically distinct forms of DCM; (1) cardiomyopathy of boxers and of Doberman pinschers, corresponding to the "fatty infiltration-degenerative" type, and (2) the form seen in many giant, large- and medium-sized breeds, including some boxers and Doberman pinschers, which can be classified as the "attenuated wavy fiber" type of DCM. The classification of canine idiopathic DCM according to histologic findigns seems superior to classification suggesting breed-specific syndromes, as some breeds (i.e. boxers and Doberman pinschers) may be affected by both diseases. However, ante mortem aetiological diagnosis of DCM is difficult. DCM carries a poor prognosis in dogs, and few prognostic indicators have been identified.

Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

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