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Valentine's Day Event in Steele Park Saving Pet and Human Hearts

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 General News J E 4
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ST. JOSEPH, Mo., Feb. 9 This Valentine's Day, Phoenix dog owners can take their pets' health to heart. Veterinary cardiologists on the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour will perform free dog heart examinations inside a mobile medical unit at Steele Park on February 14, during the fifth annual Heart to Heart Pet-a-Rama fundraiser.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100209/CG52601)

The goal of both the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour and the Heart to Heart Pet-a-Rama (www.HearttoHeartPetaRama.com) is to raise awareness of canine heart disease, second only to cancer as the leading cause of death in dogs. Veterinary cardiologists on tour have checked thousands of dogs' hearts across the country and diagnosed several with early signs of heart disease.

Heart to Heart has donated more than $250,000 for the Animal Heart Center at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University, the Southwest's regional veterinary school. In part, the monies raised have funded research that has led veterinarians to further understand canine heart valve degeneration. These findings have also increased knowledge of human heart disease, and potentially how to prevent it, as the human heart is markedly similar to a dog's heart.

In addition to free heart health screenings, the Heart to Heart event at Steele Park will include performing dog demonstrations and an adoption mall, with hundreds of dogs and cats available immediately for the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Veterinary cardiologists also will be available to answer questions for dog owners about heart disease, which afflicts more than half of aged dogs.

Heart disease in dogs is almost as prevalent as it is in humans. About 11 percent of the nearly 75 million dogs in the United States have heart disease, and that figure increases to as many as 60 percent among dogs over age 5 and certain predisposed breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Boston Terrier and the American Cocker Spaniel. Yet, a national survey shows that more than half of dog owners are unaware that their dog may be at risk of heart failure.

"Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure can significantly prolong and improve the quality of a dog's life," says Dr. Whit Church, a canine cardiologist from Gilbert, Ariz., who will be performing heart health examinations on Valentine's Day at the Heart to Heart Pet-a-Rama. "We look forward to educating local dog owners about heart disease in dogs and the treatment options. By emphasizing the importance of annual veterinary examinations and early diagnosis of heart disease, we hope to help more dogs live longer and better lives."

Dr. Church and other veterinary cardiologists will perform the free dog heart screenings from inside a custom-built mobile exam room from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Steele Park. They will use a stethoscope to listen for heart murmurs and other irregular sounds, as well as generally assess whether or not the dogs show any signs of heart disease.

The veterinarians on tour will also make sure that dog owners are aware of some of the common symptoms seen with heart disease: reduced willingness to walk or exercise, difficulty breathing, coughing, loss of appetite and weight loss. Dog owners can learn more about heart disease at www.yourdogsheart.com.

About Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

The makers of VetmedinŽ - a break-through prescription drug now available in the United States to treat canine congestive heart failure - organized the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour to teach people about congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs.

While there is no cure for CHF, clinical study results have shown that dogs with the condition live nearly twice as long and enjoy a higher quality of life when treated with Vetmedin.

About BI

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, MO), is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation based in Ridgefield, CT and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 138 affiliates in 47 countries and approximately 41,300 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2008, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17 billion (11.6 billion euro) while spending approximately one-fifth of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

For more information, please visit: www.bi-vetmedica.com.

Free Dog Heart Checks at Heart to Heart Fundraiser When: Sunday, February 14, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Steele Park 300 E. Indian School Rd. (Central Avenue & Indian School Road at 3rd Street) Phoenix, AZ 85012

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.
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