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J Vet Intern Med. 1999 Sep-Oct;13(5):448-56.

Epidemiology and inheritance of mitral valve prolapse in Dachshunds.

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Department of Anatomy and Physiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


One hundred ninety consecutive Dachshunds >2 years of age, including 18 families consisting of both parents and 4 or more offspring, were examined clinically and echocardiographically to study the epidemiology and inheritance of mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and other signs of myxomatous mitral valve disease in the dog. From video-recorded echocardiograms, MVP severity, jet size (color Doppler), and leaflet thickness were assessed. With regard to murmur intensity and each of these 3 echocardiographic measurements. the inheritance and the influence of age, gender, coat type, body weight, degree of obesity, heart rate, and thorax dimensions were evaluated. MVP severity correlated positively with age (P < .0001) and heart rate (P = .002), negatively with thorax circumference (P = .0005), and was related to coat type (P = .006). MVP severity progressed faster in males than in females (P = .0002). The other measures of disease severity (jet size, leaflet thickness, and murmur intensity) also correlated positively with age (all P < .0001). When compared in pairs, all 4 measures of disease severity correlated significantly with one other. Pedigree analyses did not disclose agreement with simple Mendelian models, but high disease prevalence made interpretation difficult. Mean parental MVP severity correlated significantly with MVP severity in the offspring (P = .03). The epidemiology of MVP in Dachshunds resembles that of MVP in humans, MVP severity correlates significantly with other measures of the degree of myxomatous mitral valve disease, and MVP is an inherited condition in Dachshunds. A polygenic mode of inheritance is suggested.

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