Histological Characterization of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in the Juvenile Toy Manchester Terrier


C. H. Legge, A. López, P. Hanna, E. Côté, E. Hare, and S. A. Martinson


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the most common form of cardiomyopathy in the dog, most often occurs in certain breeds. The objective of this study was to describe a rapidly progressive form of DCM that has been recently recognized in juvenile Toy Manchester Terrier dogs (TMTs). The clinical history and gross findings were reviewed in a group of 14 TMTs, and histologic sections of heart were examined in 12 of those 14 TMTs with DCM. Histochemical and histomorphometric analyses were employed to compare the heart in TMTs affected by DCM with that of control dogs. TMTs ranged in age from 10 to 58.3 weeks, with males and females being equally affected. Affected TMT hearts contained foci of degeneration and loss of myofibers with fibrosis and mild lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates. Less prominent features included foci of acute myofiber degeneration and necrosis with or without intralesional mineralization and mild to moderate suppurative and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates. Morphometric quantification demonstrated that the right ventricle was more severely affected (P ≤ .05) than the left ventricle with variable involvement of the interventricular septum. Immunohistochemistry for canine parvovirus was negative in all heart samples. However, the absence of parvoviral antigen does not rule out a possible viral or autoimmune cause. The presence of these myocardial lesions among closely related dogs suggests a genetic contribution to this disease process in the TMT.