Small breed dogs with healthy hearts invited to participate in project

HeartCornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine invites you to participate in a complimentary veterinary cardiology screening on March 22 and 23 as part of a collaborative project that will further our understanding of mitral valve disease in the following small breed dogs: cocker spaniel, dachshund, cavalier King Charles spaniel, Maltese, miniature poodle, Norfolk terrier, and Yorkshire terrier. To pre-register, please call 607-253-3060 and ask to speak with Jennifer Sinceno or Susan Garrison or email your dog’s breed and age to

“We are looking for dogs with normal hearts that are older than 10 years of age,” said Dr. Sydney Moïse, a clinical cardiologist and professor of medicine. “If you know your dog has a heart murmur or heart disease, your dog is not eligible for this study. We will be listening to all dog’s hearts and performing limited screening with echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart).”

The screening will take approximately 20 minutes and also includes the collection of a blood sample for DNA. An abbreviated cardiology report will be later sent to the owner stating if the dog is or is not affected by mitral valve disease.

“The results of this screening will provide healthy, control samples for a genetic study that will give us information that has the potential to help us treat and hopefully eliminate the most common cardiac disease in the dog,” said Dr. Marta Castelhano, director of the College’s DNA and Tissue Bank and one of the lead investigators of the study. “This partnership with pet owners, clinicians, and genetic scientists is a promise of hope for future generations of dogs.”

Established in 2006, the DNA Bank houses more than 10,000 DNA and tissue samples collected, with owner permission, from animals visiting the Cornell animal hospitals for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Investigators use this resource to relate the genetic information present in the DNA to the medical information of these animals to find the underlying contributive, protective, or causative genes to a specific disease.

For more information or to pre-register for this screening, email