Mitral valve degeneration is the most common cause of heart disease in the dog.
It is particularly common in small breed dogs including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds and small mixed breed dogs. Although some dogs live comfortably with the disease, many affected dogs die of congestive heart failure and sometimes sudden death due to left atrial rupture.
Mitral valve degeneration is known to be an inherited disease, at least in some breeds, although the causative mutation(s) have not been identified. Failure to understand the underlying cause of mitral valve degeneration has slowed the development of effective treatment and prevention plans. Here, we propose to identify genetic variants that lead to the development of mitral valve degeneration and to use this information to begin to develop treatment and prevention plans for dogs with high-risk DNA variants.