• Open Access

Effect of Pimobendan on Case Fatality Rate in Doberman Pinschers with Congestive Heart Failure Caused by Dilated Cardiomyopathy


  • This work was previously presented as an abstract at the 21st Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Charlotte, NC, June 2003.

Corresponding author: Michael R. O'Grady, DVM, MSc, Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1; e-mail: mogrady@uoguelph.ca.


Background: Despite traditional therapy of a diuretic, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, digoxin, or a combination of these drugs, survival of dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is low. Pimobendan, an inodilator, has both inotropic and balanced peripheral vasodilatory properties.

Hypothesis: Pimobendan when added to conventional therapy will improve morbidity and reduce case fatality rate in Doberman Pinschers with congestive heart failure (CHF) caused by DCM.

Animals: Sixteen Doberman Pinschers in CHF caused by DCM.

Methods: A prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with treatment failure as the primary and quality of life (QoL) indices as secondary outcome variables. Therapy consisted of furosemide (per os [PO] as required) and benazepril hydrochloride (0.5 mg/kg PO q12h) and dogs were randomized in pairs and by sex to receive pimobendan (0.25 mg/kg PO q12h) or placebo (1 tablet PO q12h).

Results: Pimobendan-treated dogs had a significant improvement in time to treatment failure (pimobendan median, 130.5 days; placebo median, 14 days; P= .002; risk ratio = 0.35, P= .003, lower 5% confidence limit = 0.13, upper 95% confidence limit = 0.71). Number and rate of dogs reaching treatment failure in the placebo group precluded the analysis of QoL.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Pimobendan should be used as a first-line therapeutic in Doberman Pinschers for the treatment of CHF caused by DCM.