Mitral valve disease in dogs

Last changed: 03 March 2014

Evaluation of pimobendan in dogs with cardiomegaly caused by preclinical - The EPIC Study

Pimobendan is a benzimidazopyridazinone with a potent positive inotropic and a vasodilatory effect. Two separate mechanisms produce the positive inotropic action, an increase in calcium-sensitivity of cardiac contractile proteins and an inhibition of cardiac phosphodiesterase activity. Pimobendan also results in selective peripheral phosphodiesterase inhibition leading to systemic vasodilatation and improvements in coronary and renal perfusion. Pimobendan has been shown to be efficacious in the treatment of congestive heart failure and is indicated for the treatment of this condition in dogs when it arises secondary to dilated cardiomyopathy or myxomatous mitral valve disease.

Studies in human medicine have shown that some therapies (e.g. ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers) can delay the onset of congestive heart failure in patients with certain conditions. In contrast prospective studies in canine patients with myxomatous mitral valve disease have, to date, failed to show such a benefit. A potential benefit of pimobendan therapy in delaying or preventing the onset of clinical signs in dogs with preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease has not yet been evaluated.


The objective of the study is, to determine whether chronic oral administration of pimobendan in dogs with evidence of increased heart size secondary to preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease, can delay the onset of signs of congestive heart failure.


The study is conducted as a double-blinded, randomised, placebo controlled multi-centre field trial. Patients are allocated, at random, to either pimobendan or oral placebo at 36 trial centres in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The effect of pimobendan treatment on the time interval from enrolment to the onset of clinical and radiographic signs of congestive heart failure will be assessed in dogs.

Financier: Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica
36 different centres i Asia, Europ and USA
Collaborator: in 36 different centres i Asia, Europ and USA