Dogs suffering from cardiovascular disease and related clinical signs will officially have an opportunity for a better and longer life, according to significant research undertaken by Boehringer Ingelheim as part of its global EPIC (Evaluation of Pimobendan In dogs with Cardiomegaly) study.
The study found that pimobendan (Vetmedin®) can postpone the onset of clinical signs of Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD) by a median of 15 months, thereby significantly improving the quality of life of affected dogs. Led by independent cardiologists at 36 specialist veterinary cardiac investigative centers in 11 countries, the EPIC study is the largest-ever worldwide cardiac study in pet dogs.
In the preclinical phase no signs of the condition are visible to the dog owners; however, the underlying disease progression is irreversible. The findings will enable dogs suffering from MMVD to be identified in the preclinical stage and treated before symptoms emerge, transforming the diagnosis and management of the condition. This will deliver unprecedented benefits to pets and their owners affected by the most common form of canine heart disease.
The key findings include:
60% more time in preclinical stage (ACVIM Class B2) of heart disease*
A 15-month delay in time to composite primary endpoint compared with dogs receiving placebo*
This equals 10% more life without signs of congestive heart failure which impact quality of life or cardiac-related death+
Dr. Joachim Hasenmaier, Board of Managing Directors, responsible for Corporate Board Division Animal Health
Dr Joachim Hasenmaier
Dr Joachim Hasenmaier, Head of the Animal Health Business Unit and Member of the Board of Managing Directors at Boehringer Ingelheim, said: “It is exceptionally rare for any veterinary product to offer such life-changing benefits to dogs and their owners, and this five-year study provides a real opportunity for not only improvement to quality of life, but also an increased life expectancy.”
“We are immensely proud of this research, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to preventive care.”
Characterised by a heart murmur, MMVD is the most prevalent form of heart disease globally which affects up to 7.5% of all dogs and significantly more in those dogs at higher risk which are typically the smaller breeds. However, it typically takes several years for outward clinical signs to appear, during which time the condition is left to worsen undetected.
Professor Jens Häggström, lead investigator of the EPIC trial, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, said: “The conclusions from this study will transform the way we approach our response to heart murmurs. Vets no longer have to adopt a ‘watch and wait’ approach when dealing with suspected cases of heart disease. For the first time, veterinary professionals will be equipped to combat MMVD earlier, improving a dog’s quality of life by delaying the onset of clinical signs such as coughing, difficulties in breathing and exercise intolerance.“
Pimobendan (Vetmedin®) is already authorised in all major veterinary markets and is the world’s best-selling medication for the treatment of congestive heart failure in dogs. It is the only recommended treatment for preclinical heart disease in the Consensus Statement on heart disease management of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) (presented at the ACVIM Congress, Washington, 2017). Vetmedin® received recommendation for approval of the new indication from the Reference Member State on behalf of the European countries in July 2017. Countries that have nationally approved the EPIC claim include Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, UK, France and Denmark.
Further countries outside the European Union who have already approved the new indication include Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The results of the study can be found on the EPIC trial website under http://www.results.epictrial.com/ (link is external), or on the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (JVIM) website under https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27678080
About Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health
As the second largest animal health business in the world, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving animal health. With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has products available in more than 150 markets and a global presence in 99 countries. For more information about Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, click here.
Innovative medicines for people and animals have for more than 130 years been what the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim stands for. Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s top 20 companies and to this day remains family-owned. Day by day, some 50,000 employees create value through innovation for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing. In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 15.9 billion euros. With more than three billion euros, R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.6 per cent of net sales.
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