Evaluation of owner medication adherence for canine cardiovascular disease in the referral setting

J Vet Cardiol. 2021 Oct:37:42-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2021.08.007. Epub 2021 Sep 1.


Objective: To evaluate owners' medication adherence for management of cardiovascular disease in the small animal specialty setting.

Animals, materials, and methods: A questionnaire-based study of owners at a single, multispecialty, small animal referral center was conducted. Owners completed a written survey evaluating demographics, degree of medication adherence, and difficulties encountered for medication adherence. Owners were free to decline participation in the study.

Results: Ninety-six questionnaires were completed during the study period. Fifty-four respondents (56.3%) reported treating their pet for over one year for cardiovascular disease, and myxomatous mitral valve disease was the most common diagnosis (76.0%). Twenty-nine (30.2%) respondents felt they could consistently administer a maximum of three medications daily, and 46 (47.9%) respondents reported twice-daily dosing was the highest frequency of administration that could be consistently achieved. Twenty-two respondents (22.9%) reported that their pet required daily medications for at least one other chronic condition besides cardiac disease. Seventeen respondents (17.7%) reported at least occasionally missing medications, although only one (1.0%) reported it was more than 20% of medications per week.

Conclusions: Medication adherence was high in this study population. Almost one-half of owners surveyed reported being unable to consistently administer more than three medications daily, and approximately one-quarter of patients were treated for at least one additional chronic condition requiring daily medications, in addition to cardiac disease. Clinicians should be aware of these factors when determining optimal treatment protocols for the management of cardiovascular disease in dogs.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Pharmacology; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Dogs
  • Medication Adherence
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires