Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) and congestive heart failure in older dogs is age related and often affects small dogs. MMVD is the most common cardiac disease in dogs. Once a dog has congestive heart failure they are only expected to live between one and nine months.
Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have discovered biomarkers in the extracellular vesicles of dogs with MMVD in the form of microRNA (miRNA) which circulate in the blood and urine. What is exciting is that this is the first biomarker based on extracellular vesicles in a veterinary disease.
MMVD is similar to mitral valve prolapse in humans, so this finding can eventually benefit humans with heart disease. While further research is needed, this is a wonderful finding that has potential to help monitor the progression of the disease as well as lead the way to developing treatment for both humans and dogs.