JAN 12, 2016 1:22 PM PST

Heart Failure Treatment for Dogs Could Work For Humans Too

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
For many pet owners, there is a special place in their heart for their dog. This fondness may grow even more now that scientists have discovered causation behind heart failure disease in dogs. Canine and human cardiovascular systems are so similar that this cutting-edge research could lend insight into treating human heart disease as well.
Inherited dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) causes heart failure when the overstretched muscle is unable to adequately pump blood with oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues (U.S. National Library of Medicine). This fatal disease affects more than 750,000 people in the United States and is the second leading cause of heart failure death in dogs.
In addition, professor Glen Pyle from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph said aging populations worldwide are likely to cause dramatic increases in the rate of heart failure in the upcoming decades.
Alongside fellow OVC professor Lynne O’Sullivan and researchers from the University of Washington, Pyle examined diseased heart cells from dogs with DCM and their response to a new therapy. If the therapy worked as planned, the heart cells would resume regular muscle contraction and be able to pump blood normally.
"The cause of a substantial percentage of DCM cases remains unknown," Pyle said about their endeavors. "This is why it's urgent to develop novel agents that can improve heart function."
To apply their experimental therapy clinically, the scientists will develop a gene therapy to introduce the corrective protein into the heart muscle cells. Their study was published in the American Journal of Physiology.
As Pyle, O’Sullivan, and their team continue to make this new therapy a substantial candidate for treating DCM in both dogs and humans, you could soon have Fido to thank for this advance in medicine!

Source: University of Guelph
About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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