February 19 2021
Another retrospective study (Walker et al. 2021) concerning dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs was made available for pre-proof access, meaning that the article has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, but will undergo some further editing/formatting for final display in the journal. This research, published in the Journal of Veterinary Cardiology, can be accessed with a subscription or single purchase, but is otherwise not available to the general public.
The study itself is somewhat similar to the paper published in December (Freid et al. 2020). It is a retrospective analysis of dogs diagnosed with DCM and CHF (congestive heart failure) at NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine between 1/1/2015 and 07/10/2019. Dogs were excluded if their diet history was unknown. The analysis divided dogs into two groups based on whether their diet was grain-free (GF) or grain-inclusive (GI) at the time of diagnosis. Dogs eating GF at the time of diagnosis were switched to GI as part of the treatment. They're therefore referred to as pGF (prior grain-free). The authors further divided the pGF group based on the length of time a GF diet had been consumed (6 months - 2 years, 2-3 years, and 3+ years).
The findings of this study are consistent with previous research, providing further evidence that grain-free diets are associated with a lower mortality, reversible form of DCM, which in turn is associated with improved outcomes following diagnosis. This study does not provide insight to the exact etiology of this observation, but reinforces the need for continued investigation. The authors acknowledge several limitations, including small sample size, and encourage further research.
Summary of Data:
21/43 (49%) GF dogs died and 19/24 (79%) GI dogs died during the study period.
Survival was also assessed in the context of dogs that lived at least 8 days following initial diagnosis, to consider the impact of treatment therapy on dogs that lived to undergo it.
Kaplan et al. 2018
Adin et al. 2019
Ontiveros et al. 2020
Freid et al. 2020
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WSAVA: FAQ, Guide to Nutrition on the Internet (Dogs) (Cats)
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