Naturally occurring cardiomyopathy in the Doberman pinscher: A possible large animal model of human cardiomyopathy?

Mark L. Smucker, Sanjiv Kaul, Jerry A. Woodfield, James C. Keith, Scott A. Manning, Joseph A. Gascho

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    29 Scopus citations


    Currently there is no large animal model of dilated cardiomyopathy. The smaller animal models of cardiomyopathy, such as the Syrian hamster, cannot be studied with echocartography and cardiac catheterization, and the relevance of these models to human dilated cardiomyopathy is open to question. On the basis of some initial observations in Doberman pinschers, it was speculated that these dogs could have occult left ventricular dysfunction. Accordingly, studies were performed in 46 apparently healthy Doberman pinschers and in 41 mongrel dogs: two-dimensional echocardiography (30 dogs in each group), cardiac catheterization (16 Doberman pinschers and 12 mongrels) and coronary blood flow studies (13 Doberman pinschers and 6 mongrels). In the awake, unsedated dogs studied with echocardiography, left ventricular wall thickening was significantly less in the Dobermans than in the mongrels (28% versus 36%, p = 0.0003). In the anesthetized dogs undergoing cardiac catheterization, left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly lower in the Dobermans than in the mongrels (0.38 versus 0.63, p = 0.0001). Rest coronary blood flow and coronary blood flow reserve were similar in the two groups. It is concluded that apparently healthy Doberman pinschers have occult left ventricular dysfunction. These dogs may serve as a large animal model of dilated cardiomyopathy and should not be used experimentally to study normal cardiac physiology.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)200-206
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jul 1990


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

    Cite this