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Objectives: To describe the echocardiographic findings and pedigree analysis of golden retrievers with subvalvular aortic stenosis.

Methods: Seventy-three golden retrievers were evaluated by auscultation and echocardiography. A subcostal continuous-wave Doppler aortic velocity ê2·5 m/s and presence of a left basilar systolic ejection murmur were required for diagnosis of subvalvular aortic stenosis. Three echocardiographic characteristics were recorded: evidence of aortic insufficiency, subvalvular ridge or left ventricular hypertrophy. A disease status score was calculated by totalling the number of echocardiographic -characteristics per subject.

Results: Thirty-two of 73 dogs were affected and their aortic velocities were as follows: range 2·5 to 6·8 m/s, median 3·4 m/s and standard deviation 1·2 m/s. Echocardiographic characteristics of 32 affected dogs were distributed as follows: left ventricular hypertrophy 12 of 32, aortic insufficiency 20 of 32 and subvalvular ridge 20 of 32. Disease status score ranged from 0 to 3 with a median of 2. There was a statistically significant correlation between aortic velocity and disease status score (r=0·644, P<0·0001). Subvalvular aortic stenosis was observed in multiple generations of several families and appears familial.

Clinical Significance: Subvalvular aortic stenosis in the golden retriever is familial. Severity of stenosis correlates well with cumulative presence of echocardiographic characteristics (left ventricular hypertrophy, subvalvular ridge and aortic insufficiency).