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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1986 Jul 15;189(2):227-32.

Clinical and pathologic findings in dogs with atherosclerosis: 21 cases (1970-1983).


Atherosclerosis was diagnosed on necropsy in 21 dogs in a 14-year period. Nine dogs died and 12 were euthanatized because of complications associated with the disease. The mean age was 8.5 +/- 0.5 years; 18 dogs were male. Three breeds (Miniature Schnauzer, Doberman Pinscher, and Labrador Retriever) had a higher prevalence of the disease than other breeds in the canine necropsy population of The Animal Medical Center. Most common clinical signs were lethargy, anorexia, weakness, dyspnea, collapse, and vomiting. Hypercholesterolemia, lipidemia, and hypothyroidism were common in affected dogs tested, and protein electrophoresis revealed high values for alpha 2 and beta fractions in all dogs tested. Electrocardiography indicated conduction abnormalities and myocardial infarction in 3 of 7 dogs. Necropsy revealed that affected arteries (including coronary, myocardial, renal, carotid, thyroidal, intestinal, pancreatic, splenic, gastric, prostatic, cerebral, and mesenteric) were yellow-white, thick and nodular, and had narrow lumens. Myocardial fibrosis and infarction also were observed in the myocardium. Histologically, affected arterial walls contained foamy cells or vacuoles, cystic spaces, mineralized material, debris with or without eroded intima, and degenerated muscle cells.

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