Have you heard about diet-related DCM?
Do you know what it is?
Think it can’t happen to your dog?
DCM stands for dilated cardiomyopathy.
Think about it as an enlarged heart.
Some breeds are genetically predisposed, but we are now finding many cases that are related to diet. Dogs dying who are not genetically predisposed. It’s getting scary, so I think you should know about it.
Dogs, and even more so cats, need taurine (an amino acid found in meat – especially heart) in order to survive. Not enough taurine and you run into heart issues (among other things). Specifically an enlarged heart.
The heart is a muscle. When the heart is enlarged, it doesn’t pump blood efficiently. In DCM the muscle weakens, causing the blood to not circulate as well. The heart then tries to beat harder and faster in order to provide enough blood to the body, but in its attempt, the muscle gets weaker and weaker, larger and larger. Eventually, it fails.
You probably won’t even know it’s coming. All of a sudden, your dog collapses.
Sometimes you do see the signs – your dog slowing down, coughing a little, not eating well, maybe even fainting.
If you get to see these signs and feed a diet like the ones listed below, get your dog to the vet and have them test for DCM.
What’s causing it?
The FDA is supposed to be trying to figure it out. So far all we have are patterns.
Grain-free diets – that contain chickpeas, peas, beans, legumes, potato, and sweet potato.
Exotic ingredients – like kangaroo.
Boutique companies – usually with all the good sounding ingredients. Might not have the knowledge or quality control bigger companies have.
A lot of guessing.
That’s what we have right now, but if you follow the documentation from all of the dogs who have died or have been diagnosed with diet-related DCM, there are big patterns. The pattern of grain-free foods is huge and they all contain some aspect of the ingredients listed above. The theory is that they somehow interfere with the absorption/use of taurine (many dogs with diet-related DCM have normal taurine levels – this means that even if these suspect diets add taurine to their ingredients, or if you supplement with added taurine, it may not help), or are low in another essential nutrient, or are causing a toxicity of some sort.
A lot of dogs with diet-related DCM improve when their diets are changed. Getting your dog off those suspect foods can turn diet-related DCM around – if it’s not too late.
For now, steer clear of those ingredients/make sure they aren’t a big part of the ingredient list. Don’t worry. I have done some research for you and will post some foods I have found that may spare you the dreaded diagnosis – or worse, the death of your dog.
If you like to nerd out on the research, ask to become a member of this group on facebook. Make sure you go through their units. Their recommendation is to follow WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) guidelines and that means only a few companies are considered safe. I will go over them in the next part of this little series. Then I will go over some low end, middle of the road end, and high-end foods that you might like to take a look at.
Don’t stress! Join that group so you can see the evidence and science involved. Change your dog’s diet. Get your dog checked out so you won’t be worried.
Go to my next post on WSAVA recommended brands ===>Click Here<===
Peace and Joy,
P.S. Drop me a note in the comments with your thoughts about diet-related DCM.