• Arteriosclerosis;
  • Mitral regurgitation;
  • Mitral valve prolapse;
  • Platelet activation;
  • Subaortic stenosis

The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate platelet function using in vitro tests based on both high and low shear rates and von Willebrand factor (vWf) multimeric composition in dogs with cardiac disease and turbulent high-velocity blood flow. Client-owned asymptomatic, untreated dogs were divided into 4 groups: 14 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (Cavaliers) with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and no or minimal mitral regurgitation (MR), 17 Cavaliers with MVP and moderate to severe MR, 14 control dogs, and 10 dogs with subaortic stenosis (SAS). Clinical examinations and echocardiography were performed in all dogs. PFA100 closure times (the ability of platelets to occlude a hole in a membrane at high shear rates), platelet activation markers (plasma thromboxane B2 concentration, platelet surface P-selectin expression), platelet aggregation (in whole blood and platelet-rich plasma with 3 different agonists), and vWf multimers were analyzed. Cavaliers with moderate to severe MR and dogs with SAS had longer closure times and a lower percentage of the largest vWf multimers than did controls. Maximal aggregation responses were unchanged in dogs with SAS but enhanced in Cavaliers with MVP (regardless of MR status) compared with control dogs. No significant difference in platelet activation markers was found among groups. The data suggest that a form of platelet dysfunction detected at high shear rates was present in dogs with MR and SAS, possibly associated with a qualitative vWf defect. Aggregation results suggest increased platelet reactivity in Cavaliers, but the platelets did not appear to circulate in a preactivated state in either disease.