Diet associated canine dilated cardiomyopathy

Charlotte Pace
Sunday, May 2, 2021

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common cause of heart failure in the dog. Primary DCM is often a disease of exclusion, but inherited genetic breed dispositions have been reported. Secondary causes of DCM include toxins, nutritional deficiency, systemic and infectious disease. The number of dogs diagnosed with DCM has increased significantly in the last 20 years, and has been linked to the rise in popularity of boutique, exotic and grain-free, legume-rich diets. Veterinary cardiologists raised concerns as DCM was being reported in atypical breeds. Subsequently, the United States Food and Drug Agency released a statement in 2018 warning pet owners of the risks of grain-free and novel protein diets. It is assumed that the problem also occurs in the UK because these diets are popular here also. Contrary to primary causes of DCM, dogs have improved clinically and on echocardiograph when their diet has been changed and/or supplemented. No clear cause has yet been identified between these diets and DCM, but the potential reasons seem to be multifactorial and limited by a lack of understanding of the bioavailability, digestibility and metabolism of the novel proteins and legume-rich diets.

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