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Logo of cjvetresCVMACanadian Journal of Veterinary ResearchSee also Canadian Journal of Comparative MedicineJournal Web siteHow to Submit
Can J Vet Res. 1995 October; 59(4): 294–298.
PMCID: PMC1263784

Mitral valve prolapse in 3-year-old healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. An echocardiographic study.


Clinical studies have shown that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) have a high prevalence of mitral valvular insufficiency (MVI). Echocardiography has the potential to disclose early valvular changes, and the present prospective study was designed to investigate the occurrence of mitral valve prolapse (MVP) in young CKCS without heart murmurs, and to correlate the degree of MVP with the clinical status of the dogs by including CKCS with MVI as well. The study was based on blinded evaluations of echocardiographic recordings of mitral valves from 34 CKCS and 30 control dogs. Thirteen (87%) of 15 three-year-old CKCS without heart murmurs had MVP (2 total and 11 partial), as compared with 1 (7%) of 15 three-year-old normal Beagle dogs (P < 0.0001), and none of 15 three-year-old normal Medium Size Poodles (P < 0.0001). Of 19 CKCS with MVI, MVP was found in 84% of the entire group and in 100% of dogs with pulmonary congestion or edema. The occurrence of total MVP tended to be higher in the group with MVI (47%, 9/19), when compared with the younger CKCS without heart murmurs (13%, 2/15, P = 0.06). MVP was positively associated with excessive heart rate variability (P = 0.003). The radius of curvature of the anterior mitral valve leaflet in systole was significantly reduced in dogs with MVP when compared with those without (P < 0.0001). In conclusion, this study shows that CKCS at an early age have a high occurrence of MVP. This suggests: 1) A genetic predisposition of CKCS to MVP; and 2) That MVP is a pathogenetic factor in the development of mitral valvular insufficiency. Follow up studies may add further support to these proposals, and clarify whether echocardiography may be an aid in selecting CKCS for future breeding.

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Selected References

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