Molecular genetics of sudden cardiac death in small animals - a review

Vet J. 2006 Jan;171(1):39-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2004.10.022.


Sudden cardiac death in small animals is uncommon but often occurs due to cardiac conduction defects or myocardial diseases. Primary cardiac conduction defects are mainly caused by mutations in genes involved in impulse conduction processes (e.g., gap-junction genes and transcription factors) or repolarisation processes (e.g., ion-channel genes), whereas primary cardiomyopathies are mainly caused by defective force generation or force transmission due to gene mutations in either sarcomeric or cytoskeleton proteins. Although over 50 genes have been identified in humans directly or indirectly related to sudden cardiac death, no genetic aetiologies have been identified in small animals. Sudden cardiac deaths have been also reported in German Shepherds and Boxers. A better understanding of molecular genetic aetiologies for sudden cardiac death will be required for future study toward unveiling aetiology in sudden cardiac death in small animals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cardiomyopathies / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathies / veterinary
  • Cat Diseases / genetics*
  • Cats
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dogs
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Heart Diseases / genetics
  • Heart Diseases / veterinary*
  • Long QT Syndrome / genetics
  • Long QT Syndrome / veterinary
  • Mutation