Sponsor: Cummings Seed Grant
Degenerative mitral valve disease is the most common heart disease in dogs. In dogs that progress to congestive heart failure (CHF), cardiac cachexia (muscle loss) occurs frequently and reduces strength, immune function, and overall survival. Having a medication that could improve appetite, body weight, and muscle would be very beneficial for the dogs. Although a medication that improves these important issues might not alter the underlying heart disease, it could improve malnutrition and quality of life, which could have direct benefits on survival.
This drug that mimics the effects of a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin’s normal function in our body is to make us feel hungry, and also to increase lean body mass. This drug was recently approved as an appetite stimulant in dogs so it has gone through extensive testing.
This study will evaluate whether this drug can reduce the loss of body weight, muscle, and appetite in dogs with CHF. Dogs will be randomized to receive either the drug or a placebo for 60 days (owners and investigators will not know which one). Dogs will be evaluated at baseline (Day 0), and on Days 30 and 60, for a total of 3 visits. Evaluation will include assessment muscle mass (by ultrasound), body weight, muscle condition score, body condition score, quality of life, appetite, 6-minute walk test, blood tests, and echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart).
The study will cover all of the costs associated with the planned measurements for the 3 study visits, including the cost of the drug or placebo. If additional tests are needed based on your dog’s underlying heart failure, these will not be covered by the study. In addition to the benefits to you and your dog, your dog’s participation will also allow us to gain information which will help in the treatment of other dogs with heart failure.
For questions regarding the clinical trial please fill out this survey: Pet Eligibility Questionnaire
If you believe that your pet may be eligible for this study, please complete our prescreening questionnaire for owners.