Short-term effects of atorvastatin in normal dogs and dogs with congestive heart failure due to myxomatous mitral valve disease

J Vet Intern Med. 2013 Jul-Aug;27(4):985-9. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12123. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Background: 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) may improve heart failure class and survival in people with congestive heart failure (CHF) of various etiologies.

Hypothesis/objectives: To evaluate the tolerability of atorvastatin in healthy dogs, and the short-term effects of atorvastatin on clinical markers of disease severity, lipid profiles, and markers of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress in dogs with CHF.

Animals: Eleven normal dogs and 12 client-owned animals with CHF attributable to myxomatous mitral valve disease.

Methods: Prospective nonblinded observational study. Normal dogs (n = 11) were first treated with atorvastatin and re-evaluated after 14 and 30 days for clinical tolerability and alterations in certain laboratory results. Subsequently, dogs with CHF (n = 12) were treated with atorvastatin at a dosage of 2 mg/kg q24 h for 8 weeks. Echocardiography, blood pressure (BP), quality of life questionnaire, and blood sampling were performed pre and post atorvastatin administration.

Results: Atorvastatin was well tolerated and did not result in apparent adverse effects or biochemical abnormalities in healthy dogs and in dogs with CHF. Healthy dogs experienced a decrease in total cholesterol (TC) concentration (P = .03) after atorvastatin administration. Decreases in TC concentration (P = .02), non-HDL cholesterol concentration (P = .02), total white blood cell count (P = .03), neutrophils (P = .01), and systolic BP (P = .01) were noted in the CHF group after 8 weeks of atorvastatin.

Conclusions and clinical importance: Atorvastatin was well tolerated at clinically relevant doses in healthy dogs and dogs with CHF. Further investigation into the effects of statin treatment in dogs with CHF is warranted.

Keywords: C-reactive protein; Cardiomyopathy; Heart failure; Statin; Valvular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atorvastatin
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / veterinary*
  • Heptanoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / complications
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / veterinary*
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*


  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin