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Sonja Fonfara

Associate Professor   |   DVM, Dr med vet, PhD, Docent, PGCertHE, CertVC, Diplomate ECVIM (Cardiology)


I am board certified in companion animal cardiology from the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. After graduating from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover in 1995, I obtained a doctoral thesis in Veterinary Pathology at the University of Giessen. This was followed by several years in a first opinion practice, where I recognized my fascination for cardiology. However, to develop my research skills further I took the opportunity of a postdoctoral research project in marine mammal immunology at the GKSS Research Centre and University of Kiel. 
Missing clinical work and wanting to pursue my cardiology interest further, I moved to the UK in 2006 to undertake an internship and subsequently a residency in veterinary cardiology at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital at the University of Liverpool. I since have worked as lecturer and senior lecturer at the Universities in Liverpool and Bristol, obtained a PhD and was granted a docent in Small Animal Cardiology at the University of Helsinki. In February 2016, I joined the team at the University of Guelph. 
My main research interests are cardiac inflammation and remodeling associated with cardiomyopathies and secondary to systemic diseases.

Research Interests

  • Myocardial inflammation
  • Extracellular matrix remodelling
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac comorbidities
  • Heart rhythm and arrhythmias of marine mammals





Selected Publications

Fonfara, S., Hetzel, U, Hahn, S., Kipar A (2015). Age- and gender-dependent myocardial transcription patterns of cytokines and extracellular matrix remodelling enzymes in cats with non-cardiac diseases. Experimental Gerontology 72, 117-123. 

Fonfara, S., Sundermeyer, J., Casamian-Sorrosal, D., Rosenberger, T. (2015). Variations in heart rate and rhythm of harbour seal pups during rehabilitation. Marine Mammal Science 31(3): 998-1013

Fonfara, S., Hetzel, U, Oyama, MA., Kipar A (2014). The potential role of myocardial 2B receptor expression in canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Vet J 199: 406-412. 

Linney, C.J., Dukes-McEwan, J., Stephenson, H.M., López-Alvarez, J., Fonfara, S. (2014). Left atrial size, atrial function and left ventricular diastolic function in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. JSAP 55, 4, 198-206.

Fonfara, S., Hetzel, U., Tew, SR., Cripps, P., Dukes-McEwan, J., Clegg PD. (2013). Expression of matrix metalloproteinases, their inhibitors and lysyl oxidase in myocardial samples from dogs with end-stage systemic and cardiac diseases. AJVR 74: 216-223.

Fonfara, S., Hetzel, U, Tew, SR, Cripps, P, Dukes-McEwan, J., Clegg PD (2013). Myocardial cytokine expression in dogs with systemic and naturally occurring cardiac diseases. AJVR 74: 408-416.

Fonfara, S., Tew, SR, Cripps, P, Dukes-McEwan, J., Clegg P (2012). Markers of extracellular remodelling and inflammation in blood samples of dogs in congestive heart failure. Research in Vet Sci 93(2): 879-885.

Pedro, B., Lopez-Alvarez, J, Fonfara, S., Stephenson, H., Dukes-McEwan, J. (2012). Retrospective evaluation of the use of amiodarone in dogs with malignant arrhythmias (2003 to 2010). JSAP 53, 19-26.

Stephenson, H., Fonfara, S., Lopez-Alvarez, J., Cripps, P, Dukes-McEwan, J. (2012). Screening for dilated cardiomyopathy in Great Danes in the United Kingdom. JVIM 26(5), 1140-7.

Search PubMed for additional publications by Dr. Fonfara.