Objectives: To evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of pimobendan by comparing it with ramipril over a six-month period in dogs with mild to moderate heart failure (HF) caused by myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD).

Methods: This was a prospective randomised, single-blind, parallel-group trial. Client-owned dogs (n=43) with mild to moderate HF caused by MMVD were randomly assigned to one of two groups, which received either pimobendan (P dogs) or ramipril (R dogs) for six months. The outcome measures studied were: adverse HF outcome, defined as failure to complete the trial as a direct consequence of HF; maximum furosemide dose (mg/kg/day) administered during the study period; and any requirement for additional visits to the clinic as a direct consequence of HF.

Results: Treatment with pimobendan was well tolerated compared with treatment with ramipril. P dogs were 25 per cent as likely as R dogs to have an adverse HF outcome (odds ratio 4.09, 95 per cent confidence interval 1.03 to 16.3, P=0.046).

Clinical Significance: R dogs had a higher overall score and thus may have had more advanced disease than P dogs at baseline (P=0.04). These results should be interpreted cautiously but such a high odds ratio warrants further investigation.