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Welcome to the Heart Health Month program

We are pleased to be able to provide you with important tools to help create awareness of a major health problem in dogs—namely, heart disease. It is estimated that 10% of dogs have heart disease.1  This percentage increases as dogs age, with heart disease affecting 25% of dogs 9 to 12 years of age and as many as 75% of those 16 years of age or older.2

Most clients are unaware that their dogs may be at risk for heart disease. Unfortunately, this lack of awareness can mean that they fail to bring their dogs in for routine monitoring. But with early diagnosis of heart disease and appropriate treatment, both the length and quality of a dog’s life can be improved.3,4 Your clients would therefore undoubtedly appreciate knowing what they can do to ensure their dogs at risk of heart disease live lives as rich and full as possible.

That’s why in 2013, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) designated March as canine Heart Health Month and continues to promote this initiative annually. The aim is to provide your clinic with extra resources to help educate your clients and make them aware that heart disease could affect their dogs. By working together, you and your clients can help improve outcomes for dogs with heart disease.

Even though we are initiating this program in March, you can make any month canine Heart Health Month. We know it requires time to educate clients on heart disease. Therefore, we have designed Heart Health Month Awareness tools so you can use them at the most appropriate time for you and your clinic throughout the year, to maximize outreach to your clients.

Heart Health Month Awareness tools provide resources that allow you to reach out to your clients and educate them on how they can help monitor their dog’s heart health.

Safety Information: VETMEDIN® (pimobendan) should only be used in dogs with clinical evidence of CHF.
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Important messages to clients include:

  • Many dogs are at risk of heart disease based on breed, age, or size.
  • Cardiac disease is slowly progressive in most dogs.
  • It is important to monitor dogs at risk by bringing them in for regularly scheduled clinic visits, even before a dog shows clinical signs.
  • There are things owners can do to monitor their dogs, such as taking a resting respiratory rate and observing them closely to catch early warning signs of heart disease progression.
  • Dogs can live longer and have a better quality of life if they are treated early, when signs of heart failure first appear.3,4

Awareness tools

The purpose of the Heart Health Month Awareness tools is to make it easy for you to implement a client education program in your clinic. This program can range from holding daily activities for a month to sending out educational materials on heart health by email or posting them on Facebook. We know that clinics vary in terms of the time available to plan and hold events. However, we hope you can participate in educating your clients on canine heart health on some level.

Heart Health Awareness tools help you promote your events and communicate with your clients about canine heart health. Posters, flyers, cut-and-paste educational text for clinic e-newsletters and/or websites, phone/answering machine messaging, tweets, Facebook posts, press releases, event suggestions, and more—all are available online as digital downloads for you to customize and repurpose. Materials are available to promote your events in the clinic and in the community. In addition, a variety of client education materials on canine heart disease are included for use during your events.

Share your story

As you begin to implement the awareness program, we would love to hear your clinic’s story as to how you used the Heart Health Month Awareness tools, be it sending out educational emails or holding an open house educational event. You can upload photos with descriptions of your events online.

If you wish to share your story, please do so before the end of October. You can schedule as many events as you like between March and October. Every November, we will reward the clinic that we feel did the most exceptional job in raising client awareness of canine heart disease and highlight it on this website.

A reward for the best client education efforts

The clinic employee who submits the story that was chosen as most exceptional will receive an iPad®. In addition, BIVI will donate $1000 to support the clinic’s next open house or outreach event aimed at further enhancing awareness of canine heart disease among pet owners within the practice.


1. Atkins C, Bonagura J, Ettinger S, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of canine chronic valvular heart disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2009;23(6):1142–1150.
2. Guglielmini C. Cardiovascular diseases in the aging dog: diagnostic and therapeutic problems. Vet Res Commun. 2003;27 Suppl 1:555–560.
3. Lombard CW, Jöns O, Bussadori CM; for the VetSCOPE Study. Clinical efficacy of pimobendan versus benazepril for the treatment of acquired atrioventricular valvular disease in dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2006;42(4):249–261.
4. Häggström J, Boswood A, O’Grady M, et al. Effect of pimobendan or benazepril hydrochloride on survival times in dogs with congestive heart failure caused by naturally occurring myxomatous mitral valve disease: the QUEST study. J Vet Intern Med. 2008;22(5):1124–1135.