Heart Studies Completed

The IWF supported two important projects TO COMPLETION this last year.

“Pedigree Analysis of Atrial Fibrillation in Irish Wolfhounds Supports a High Inheritability With A Dominant Mode of Inheritance” was published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. The Lead author was Dr. Samantha Fousse from UCDavis but the data was from your beloved hounds.

Many thanks to owners and hounds participating in the Lifetime Cardiac Study and the Life Cycle II study who provided the data points for this publication. The “extra” tube of blood your hounds donated to UCDavis is vital to ongoing research looking for genes marking atrial fibrillation. This paper documented what we have all known intuitively, heart disease in the IW is inherited and documenting the mode of inheritance is very important to future breeding programs and the health of our hounds.

“Echocardiographic and Electrocardiographic Evaluation of North American Irish Wolfhounds” was published in the “Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.” This was the ongoing EKG-Echo study participants in IWF Heart clinics contributed to. This paper described unique characteristics of heart disease in North American Irish Wolfhounds. Because it documented atrial fibrillation is a diagnostic marker of cardiomyopathy this data validates the use of the less expensive and more easily available EKG as a screening test for IW heart disease. The hound in normal sinus rhythm has only a .2% chance of cardiomyopathy being found on echocardiogram.

Remember the incidence of afib increases with age and hounds need EKGs yearly -especially after age 5 which is the mean age of onset of atrial fibrillation.

Your hound should also have auscultation by a cardiologist when young to rule out valvular disease which is rare but does occur and is not detected by the EKG.

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