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Orion launches extensive trials on dogs with heart diseases - A dog's heart can fail, too

In October 2004 Orion Pharma Animal Health will launch extensive clinical field studies on dogs with heart diseases. The aim of the project is to develop treatment for dogs with heart problems. This is a unique research project in Finland. The project involves six veterinary surgeries and 150 dogs, which will be recruited from the south of Finland. The objective is to study the efficacy of levosimendan, a new pharmaceutical substance so far administered only to humans, for the treatment of heart diseases in dogs.
The research will include dogs with a diagnosed severe valvular heart disease or cardiac dilatation, as well as dogs which show symptoms of severe heart failure. About 80 percent of dogs with heart problems have a dilated heart or suffer from long-term valvular disease, which is a chronic condition.
A typical symptom of a dog's heart failure is impaired resistance to physical strain, manifested as exhaustion during exercise or coughing during the night.  Other symptoms may include tiredness, nighttime restlessness, breathing problems, cough, loss of appetite and swollen abdomen.
The researchers will screen 150 dog patients with diagnosed or suspected heart failure.
Purpose of the research project
The trials will focus on the potential use of levosimendan, a pharmaceutical substance developed in Finland, for the treatment of heart failure in dogs. Levosimendan is a new pharmaceutical substance so far marketed only as a human medicine.  Levosimendan increases cardiac pumping, dilating the blood vessels, which normalises the circulation. This will improve the dog's quality of life.
The efficacy and safety of the pharmaceutical will be studied on the dog patients. In earlier, less extensive trials, the pharmaceutical substance has proved to be not only efficient on dogs but also safe. The present project will focus on dogs with severe valvular disease or dilatation of the heart.
Starting in October 2004, the studies will take three months. The objective is to obtain reliable information on the efficacy of levosimendan. Besides blood samples, the study will involve an EKG, X-rays and ultrasound examinations of the dogs.  The veterinary surgeries participating in the study in Finland are located in the regions of Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Tampere and Turku.
If you wish your dog to participate, please phone the trained veterinary nurse who will answer your queries at +358 10 429 58 00
20 September - 1 October weekdays 9.00 - 15.00
5 October - 14 October on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.00 - 12.00.
You can also contact us by email at:
The dogs eligible for the trials will be referred to research veterinarians.
Orion Corporation Orion Pharma
The Orion Corporation Orion Pharma business operations are carried out in four business areas: Core Therapy Areas, Specialty Products, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients or Fermion Oy, and Animal Health. Orion Pharma's net sales during the first half of the year 2004 were EUR 265.5 million, with the Animal Health accounting for 11% (EUR 12.6 million). Orion Pharma's investment in research during the same period was EUR 32.7 million, which also includes research in veterinary medicines.
The DDA product family is Orion Pharma's third best selling product. Orion's first proprietary pharmaceutical preparation was Domosedan (1983), a sedative for production animals, followed by Domitor (1987), a sedative for pets, as well as their antidote Antisedan (1989) which is used to wake up the animal patients which are then able to leave the veterinary surgery on their own four feet.
For further information, please contact:
Orion Corporation Communications
Tuula Laitinen, Communications Manager, tel. +358 50 429 2136
Heikki Vuonamo, Director of Communications, tel. + 358 50 429 4967 or +358 10 429 4967
Press release published by:
Orion Corporation
Corporate Communications
P.O. Box 65, 02101 Espoo