Effect of pimobendan on the incidence of arrhythmias in small breed dogs with myxomatous mitral valve degeneration

Geri A. Lake-Bakaar, Manreet K. Singh, Philip H. Kass, Leigh G. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective To determine if pimobendan, a phosphodiesterase III inhibitor and calcium sensitizer with positive survival benefits, has an effect on incidence of arrhythmias compared to placebo in small breed dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF) due to myxomatous mitral valve degeneration (MMVD). Animals Eight client-owned small breed dogs (<15 kg) with CHF due to MMVD. Methods A prospective double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover study design was used. Data were recorded at baseline and 2 weeks post-administration of placebo or pimobendan. Average heart rate and incidence of arrhythmia were determined from 24 h Holter analysis. Owners completed a quality of life (QOL) questionnaire at each time point and recorded sleeping respiratory rates (SRR). Mixed effects analysis of variance, with dog as the random variable was used to compare values obtained between baseline, placebo, and pimobendan. Results Compared to baseline, QOL scores were significantly improved following administration of either placebo or pimobendan (p = 0.021 and p < 0.001, respectively). No significant differences in type or incidence of supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmia were identified. Average heart rate with pimobendan was significantly lower than baseline (p < 0.001). Compared to baseline, SRR was significantly lower with pimobendan (p = 0.004), and significantly different from placebo (p = 0.045). Conclusions No significant difference between pimobendan and placebo was found on incidence of supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmia. The decrease in average heart rate and SRR may be reflective of superior heart failure control achieved with pimobendan therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Canine
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Ventricular premature complex
  • Vetmedin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • veterinary(all)


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