Review Article

Medical management of myxomatous mitral valve disease: An evidence-based veterinary medicine approach

Richard K. Burchell, Johan Schoeman
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 85, No 1 | a1095 | DOI: | © 2014 Richard K. Burchell, Johan Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 August 2013 | Published: 22 October 2014

About the author(s)

Richard K. Burchell, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Johan Schoeman, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the most common heart disease of dogs. The current management of MMVD in dogs is mostly pharmacological, and the recommendations for treatment are based on a number of veterinary studies. Notwithstanding the current consensus regarding the medical management of MMVD, there remains active debate as to which drugs are the most effective. In order to understand how recommendations are constructed in the pharmacological management of diseases, the veterinarian needs to understand the concept of evidence-based veterinary medicine, and how the findings of these studies can be applied in their own practices. This review summarises the current veterinary literature and explains how the consensus regarding the management of MMVD has been reached. This review highlights the limitations of veterinary studies in order to provide veterinary practitioners with a sense of the difficulty there is in establishing the benefit of one treatment over the other. Veterinarians should therefore apply treatment recommendations based on the best evidence, integrated with a pathomechanistic understanding of the disease process and clinical experience.


Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease, Evidence Based Medicine, Pimobendan


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