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Assessing a New Drug to Treat Heart Failure in Dogs with Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease

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"Please talk to your veterinarian or bring your dog to the UC Davis VMTH Emergency Room for evaluation!"
Animal: Dogs
Age: Over 6 years old
Keywords: dog, canine, CHF, congestive heart failure, myxomatous mitral valve disease, MMVD, clevidipine
Type: Drug - Treatment
40 Participants
Background and purpose
Myxomatous mitral valve disease is the most common cardiac disease and the leading cause of congestive heart failure in dogs. Reducing blood pressure is one strategy to help manage these patients. By reducing blood pressure, the heart can move blood forward more effectively, reducing fluid accumulation in the lungs that can result from this condition. However, available medications for this health emergency are extremely limited and currently available drugs often have extreme price volatility, low availability or unwanted side effects. Researchers will conduct a small clinical trial to evaluate the use of a new drug clevidipine to reduce blood pressure in client-owned dogs admitted to hospital. Finding a safe, affordable alternative drug that is readily available may help improve survival of critically ill canine patients requiring urgent care for heart failure.
What happens in this study

If the exams, tests, and procedures show that your pet can take part in the study, and you choose to enroll them, then the following will happen as part of the study:

  • Receive current standard of care therapy or the current standard of care therapy plus clevidipine
  • Placement of a catheter to monitor blood pressure
  • Hospitalization in ICU on oxygen and will receive appropriate treatment for congestive heart failure
  • Recheck chest X-rays to determine if their heart failure is now under control.
  • Blood collection
Pet owner responsibilities

If you wish to have your pet participate in this study, you will be responsible for covering costs associated with the standard hospitalization costs and initial presentation to the hospital (emergency examination, initial intravenous catheter placement) and diagnostics recommended by your veterinarian that fall outside of the costs covered by the study.

Participation requirements


We are looking for dogs over 5.5 pounds and older than 6 years old that are diagnosed with, or have clinical signs suggestive of, congestive heart failure (fluid in the lungs) as a result of myxomatous mitral valve disease (age-related change during which the mitral heart valve thickens, which makes blood leaking backwards into the top chamber of the heart).

We cannot include dogs taking medications that alter blood pressure (other than pimobendan, ACE-inhibitors or diuretics) within 4 days of enrollment, that have significant systemic (e.g., kidney disease) or cardiac disease other than MMVD, or that have significant arrhythmias.

To find out if your dog can take part in the study, we will need:

  • Cardiology or Emergency exam and diagnosis of congestive heart failure by a veterinarian
  • Chest X-rays to determine the presence of fluid in the lungs
  • Bloodwork to evaluate kidney function
  • Echocardiogram (Cardiac ultrasound) to diagnose the specific type of heart disease.
  • Blood pressure measurement to determine if your dog’s blood pressure can safely be lowered
Benefits and risks of participating
Taking part in this trial may improve the symptoms of your dog’s congestive heart failure, allow us to advance our knowledge in the treatment of congestive heart failure and may provide valuable information regarding the treatment of this medical
emergency in the future for all dogs suffering from MMVD and other heart diseases.
The study will cover costs of the initial and recheck chest x-rays, blood pressure, echocardiogram, initial and recheck blood work (chemistry panel and NT-proBNP), placement of catheters, the cost of clevidipine and a portion of the hospitalization charges associated with monitoring and administration of this medication. If your pet experiences adverse event(s) as a result of taking part in this study and needs medical
treatment, the study will offer to pay for medical treatment up to $500.
Study duration and period
Your pet’s participation in the study will end at discharge from the hospital.
Recruitment period
From Dec. 9, 2019
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
1 Garrod Drive
Small Animal Clinic - Emergency Room or Cardiology
Davis, CA 95616
Dr. Ashley Sharpe

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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