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Journal Article

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Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine





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A novel dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in 12 related Portuguese Water Dogs was identified by retrospective analysis of postmortem and biopsy case records. Male and female puppies born to clinically healthy parents typically died at 13 (± 7.3) weeks of age (range, 2–32 weeks) because of congestive heart failure. Puppies died suddenly without previous signs or with mild depression followed by clinical signs of congestive heart failure 1–5 days before death. There was no sex predilection. The hearts were enlarged and rounded, with marked left ventricular and atrial dilation. No other significant structural cardiac defects were noted. The histologic changes in the myocardium were diffuse and characterized by myofibers of irregular sizes separated by an edematous interstitium. The myofibers had multifocal swollen, cleared segments often involving perinuclear areas that contained granular, phosphotungstic-acid-hematoxylin-positive material consistent with mitochondria. There was loss of the cross-striation pattern, and intercalated discs were difficult to identify. There was no evidence of concurrent myocardial fibrosis; rare chronic inflammatory infiltrates were noted in one dog. Noncardiac skeletal muscles were not affected. The underlying cause is unknown. From the pedigree analysis, an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance is suspected. Based on the histologic findings, this DCM is most likely due to an underlying molecular (biochemical or structural) defect. The early onset and rapid progression of the disease makes this a clinically distinctive form of canine DCM.

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Copyright © 1999 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


Dog, Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy



Date Posted: 22 December 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.