DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy has been making the headlines, throwing shade over grain-free dog food in the process, as the US FDA currently investigates a potential link between certain “grain-free” dog food diet and DCM. But what do we know about DCM?
1. Cause of DCM is still unknown
While a genetic cause has been suspected for a number of dog breeds, a complete understanding of the cause or causes of the disease is still unclear. There are a number of reasons, though, for having a weak heart. These may be due to infectious diseases or low thyroid hormone levels, or an overworked heart due to a previous disease which may cause the heart muscle to weaken and lead to dilation. Such possibilities should be eliminated before finally diagnosing DCM.
2. DCM more common in large breed dogs
With some exceptions like Cocker Spaniels and Dalmatians, DCM affects large breed dogs more than the small ones. Large breeds affected are Great Danes, Portuguese Water Dogs, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, Golden Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers. FDA received reports of cases of DCM that included Labrador Retrievers, French bulldogs, Schnauzers, and other small breeds and mixed breed dogs.
3. DCM is an adult onset disease
Occurring between 5 to 7 years, except in Portuguese Water Dogs, DCM can be divided in 3 stages. Stage 1, where dogs have the disease but not displaying any symptoms; Stage 2, evidence of disease present (dilation or irregular heartbeats) but no clinical signs, which may last between 2 to 4 years, and Stage 3, clinical signs of heart failure.
4. Taurine and carnitine deficiencies contribute to DCM
A 2002 study has pointed out the lack of taurine and carnitine among certain dog breeds, like Cocker Spaniels and Boxers, suffering from DCM. In some large dog breeds, like the Great Dane, males are more susceptible to develop DCM.
5. DCM is the 2nd most common heart disease in dogs
DCM affects 385,000 to 770,000 dogs in the US. That’s roughly less than 1% of the total dog population in the US. Just so you know, the number one most common heart disease in dogs is chronic valve disease or CVD.
We know how your furry pals mean to you and you don’t want them to get sick. Make sure that you give them Addiction dog foods. It already has taurine to help prevent heart diseases like dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or enlarged heart.
Buy Addiction Foods’ Dry Pet Foods in a store near you.