Nov 29, 2008

Gene Discovered in Mitral Valve Disease

Study: 'Close but No Cigar' A study has discovered a gene present in adult patients diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.

It's not a new study -- 2005 -- but it's new to me. I read everything I can get my hands on about the disease. There has yet to be a comprehensive one done with dogs. I do know from reading about the disorder in canines, from what literature is out there, that it's found more often in certain breeds and that it's considered genetic. Mia's vet told me it's sometimes seen in overbred dogs, which makes sense with Mia, since she's a full long-haired Chihuahua.

It's also widely seen in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. mitral valve disease in these dogs has shown them to have lifespans of just one to three years. Not good statistics. In other breeds, especially the smaller ones, like Mia, the disease doesn't cause early death because it often doesn't develop until they're older. In Mia's case, however, she developed it young. She was rescued from the storm water in New Orleans when she was only 2 or 3. Now she's around 5 or 6 years old.

We knew when Mia was first examined at the triage center that she had a heart murmur. Little dogs often do. But it's most often because of innocent flow murmurs, not MVP. Then, when she became lethargic (as described in an earlier blog post, below), I took her to the doctor and ultrasound and radiographs were done, and that's when we learned the sad news. She received a Grade 5 (V) -- graded from 1 to 6 -- which meant her murmur was quite loud, with the vibration felt with fingertips without a stethoscope and with a precordial "thrill." Not good. The latest gene study, however, gives me hope, because they've isolated the gene, which means we now know what the tissue consists of and, for Mia, what supplements she can take to help her valve tissue heal. In the meantime, I'm still doing CoQ10 enzyme therapy, along with other supplements, to keep her ticker ticking. To sum up, here are the words from Dr. J Am Coll Cardiol from the American College of Cardiology Foundation:

"Having identified 3 chromosomal loci for mitral valve prolapse does not in itself load the train with genes, but it does suggest that the caboose is waiting to hitch it," the study says. "Let us hope that with our ability today to rapidly sequence DNA and evaluate new candidate genes we will enable the train to leave the station soon."
Photo, by Cathy, of Mia sleeping, with Lois Lane (a chihuahua puppy who was with Mia and me for two months), under the desk in Tylertown, Mississippi, at the triage center for Katrina pets.


  1. Thanks for the supplement breakdown. I have a Yorkie with similar problems & the information is appreciated. KMO727 :o)

  2. KMO727--
    You're very welcome. CoQ10 and other supplements are well worth trying. How's your Yorkie doing? Would love to know.


  3. Hi. Hope your dog is well. I'm reading your post in bed on my iPhone next to my snoring short haired Chihuahua Bazil who was diagnosed 6 months ago with CHF. He's nearly 11 now and since diagnosis has been on Frusimide (diuretic) Vetmedin for heart contractility and Fortekor ACE inhibitor.

    Last week he has a crisis and it seems his lungs are filling up with fluid faster. IV diruetic and Oxygen rent for a day got him stable so we could take him home. I've been charting his respiration and trying not to panic or obsess counting breaths all the time. He seems to be in the 35-45 / min range. Though was 60 this morning and needed a couple of hrs in an O2 tent again this morning ans an injection of diruetic which worked so we could bring him home again. I feel he is bright happy and aware with a strong appetite so can't face euthanasia yet. :-/ but I'm worried about the impending frequency of breathing crisises. What else can I do to help his breathing and keep him around as long as possible. I don't want his quality of life to include unnecessary poking and prodding by Vets but I feel even the specialists I see have written him off. I fear we are in his last days... Any helpful advice is appreciated. Thanks for your blog and all the best....

  4. These procedures are usually essential in evaluating
    the patients' progress as they continue with the therapy. If you pass that exam, then you will have a demanding, yet rewarding job. RTs can also explore the option of branching out into business roles with equipment manufacturers, or join the world of research and academics.
    Take a look at my web site ... severe depression signs

  5. Lastly, you should know that the online therapist finder is
    really appropriate. The precise assortment
    of hrs might be distinctive basically by neighborhood laws
    and regulations and the studying institution.
    RTs can also explore the option of branching out
    into business roles with equipment manufacturers, or
    join the world of research and academics.
    My blog post - How to Fight depression

  6. You can definitely see your skills within the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

    Feel free to surf to my page