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Utilizing a Drug to Control Arrhythmia Severity in Dogs


Irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias, frequently occur in dogs with cardiac disease. They can further damage the ability of the heart to contract, cause fainting, or even cause sudden death. Severe arrhythmias need to be managed with antiarrhythmic drugs, however, these drugs can have side effects and their efficacy is variable. Therefore, it is important to investigate other drugs that could help decrease arrhythmia numbers. Spironolactone is commonly used in dogs with heart disease to slow progression and is known to have very few side-effects. In people with heart disease, it has been shown to decrease arrhythmia severity. The goal of this project is to determine if the same beneficial effect of spironolactone exists in dogs.

ELIGIBILITY: Dogs must have a diagnosis and heart failure treatment for less than 15 days OR a new diagnosis of heart failure with controlled congestive heart failure after 7-10 days of treatment. In addition, an arrhythmia must be documented before inclusion in the study.

OWNER REQUIREMENTS: Owners are required to give the spironolactone daily to their dogs for 10 weeks. Dogs must return to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals at 5 and 10 weeks after beginning the medication.

COMPENSATION: The recheck blood work, recheck examinations, two ECGs, three Holter monitoring, recheck echocardiograms, and the cost of the spironolactone are covered by the study. The initial work-up visit including diagnostics (initial echocardiogram, ECG, radiographs, and initial blood work), as well as additional medication and potential hospitalization are not covered by the study. Costs for diagnostic tests, follow-up evaluations and spironolactone will not be covered after the 10-week duration of the study or if the following occurs: if your dog is excluded from the study before the 10-week period, if you stop giving spironolactone before the end of the study, if you do not come to your schedule recheck visit, or if you do not return the Holter monitor within 1 week.

Principal Investigator: Romain Pariaut, DVM, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA

CONTACT/SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: For more information contact Dr. Pariaut at 607.253.3060 or email the clinical trials coordinator at