The EPIC study demonstrated overwhelmingly that pimobendan administration before the onset of clinical signs in dogs with mitral valve disease (MVD) prolongs the preclinical period by 15 months. The dogs were identified by having a ≥3/6 grade systolic heart murmur, echocardiographic evidence of MVD, and radiographic or echocardiogram evidence of cardiomegaly.
Where previously a ‘watch and wait’ approach was deemed appropriate, EPIC has demonstrated that asymptomatic dogs will live longer and have a better quality of life if they are treated with pimobendan before the onset of clinical signs.
So what does this mean? Well it is important to bear in mind that MVD is the most common heart disease of dogs, and often the disease will not progress to CHF. Therefore not every dog with a murmur should be treated with pimobendan, BUT animals identified as being at risk should be monitored closely and treated when echocardiographic and radiographic changes are significant enough to support an asymptomatic diagnosis. Read the recommendations from the Cardiac Education Group below to find out more.
How to apply the findings of the EPIC study in practice: Cardiac Education Group EPIC Recommendations