Comparison between 2D-TTE and 3D-TTE in the evaluation of mitral valve in dogs


In this study, we will compare two kinds of cardiac imaging—2D-transthoracic echocardiography and the 3D-transthoracic echocardiography (2D-TTE and 3D-TTE, respectively) to assess the ability of each to detect mitral valve prolapse in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD).


Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the most common heart disease in dogs. The diagnosis of mitral prolapse in this disease in veterinary medicine is currently based on the evaluation of the mitral valve using 2D-TTE. Studies in humans have shown that the 3D echocardiography is superior, when compared with 2D, in the detection of mitral valve prolapse. Since the shape of the mitral valve is similar in dogs and in humans, we hypothesize that 3D echocardiography is a more accurate diagnostic tool in dogs, too.

3D reconstructions of canine heart
Three-dimensional echocardiography allows us, in a completely non-invasive fashion, to study complex cardiac structure in a natural configuration. Left half: left ventricle, mitral valve, and enlarged left atrium of a dog with mitral valve disease; Top right corner: thickened mitral valve of a dog with mitral valve disease as visualized from the left atrium. Bottom right corner: reconstruction of the left ventricle.


We will enroll 85 healthy control dogs in this study. Data from this population will be compared to a clinical population of dogs affected by the disease. Dogs' health status will be determined by owner interview, physical examination, and echocardiography.

To enroll, dogs must:

  • Be 1-5 years of age
  • Weigh 3-25kg / 7-55lbs
  • Be free of systemic disease

Exclusion Criteria

  • Presence of other acquired or congenital cardiovascular diseases
  • Dogs that, because of their temperament, would require sedation for undergoing echocardiographic examination, will be excluded from the study.
  • Presence of severe clinical systemic disease that affects the cardiovascular system

Study Design

Once enrolled in this study, your dog will undergo a standard cardiac examination, including echocardiography, which is an ultrasound of the heart. These procedures allow us to determine whether your dog is healthy or is affected by cardiac disease. Then we will obtain some three-dimensional images of the mitral valve of your dog, in the same fashion we acquired the rest of the exam. These procedures are non-invasive, but require a small area of fur on your dog’s chest to be shaved.


The cost of the visit and echocardiographic examination required by the study will be covered, and therefore will be free of charge. Any additional exam or treatment that your dog might be deemed to require following the clinician’s examination will not be covered, and will be discussed with you before being performed.


To schedule a study appointment for a healthy dog, please call the Veterinary Teaching Hospital directly on 540-231-4621.

For questions about the study, contact:

Dr. Michele Borgarelli, Cardiology
Phone: 540-231-4621 | Email:

Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email:

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.