Another New Study Links DCM and Diet (Dec 2020)

Another New Study Links DCM and Diet (Dec 2020)

December 21 2021

Published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a retrospective analysis has again affirmed a link between certain diet types and dilated cardiomyopathy. Among the authors is Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist who has been closely working on this emerging issue since it was brought to public attention in 2018. This study was funded by Tufts' "Barkley Fund," established by the owners of a late Great Dane to further support and promote ever-improving care for dogs with heart disease. As a retrospective study, this paper has numerous limitations that the authors acknowledge. Furthermore, it does not establish a definitive causal relationship between diet and the development of DCM. Scientific establishment of such a causal relationship, if it exists, will require findings from the ongoing prospective studies that are occurring at multiple institutions. In the meantime, a correlation between diet types and DCM continues to be identified, warranting vigilance from the veterinary community, pet owners, and the pet food industry. 

The study is open access, meaning that anyone can read it online for free! You can use the hyperlink above to open it yourself. While the paper is accessible in terms of being free to read, the language of an academic paper can be intimidating for people outside of the field or profession. Here are the important highlights for pet owners and other concerned members of the public:

Methods & Sample:


The authors close the paper: "Our results are consistent with the results of 2 previous studies suggesting that in dogs with DCM eating nontraditional diets, diet change can be associated with significant improvement in some echocardiographic measurements. In addition, dogs eating nontraditional diets that had their diets changed had a significantly longer survival time compared with those that did not have their diets changed. The underlying cause and mechanisms of diet‐associated DCM are still not understood, but our findings emphasize the importance of prospective studies to better understand this issue as soon as possible."