Last year, there have been reports from the US FDA about the increased incidence of DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. Here’s what pet parents need to know about DCM and how you can help protect your furkid’s heart.
What is DCM?
Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM is a serious disease that causes the heart muscles to weaken. It becomes difficult for the heart to contract and pump blood efficiently. Because of this, the heart becomes dilated.
Currently, the cause of DCM remains unknown. Some say it is genetics or due to infections that may affect or weaken the heart. Reports from the US FDA say that there is a potential link between grain-free diets and DCM. However, more research is needed to support the claim.
According to PetMD, “nutritional deficiencies related to amino acids like taurine and carnitine have been found to contribute to the formation of DCM in certain breeds.” Likewise, Whole Dog Journal states that the cause may involve more than just grain-free foods. The lack of taurine in a dog’s diet may be contributing to the increased cases of DCM in dogs.
Signs of dilated cardiomyopathy
Similar to the signs of other heart diseases in dogs, the major symptoms of DCM include:
- weakness and lethargy
- anorexia or loss of appetite
- difficulty breathing and/or rapid breathing
- panting and/or shortness of breath
- frequent coughing
- fainting or collapsing
- swelling of the abdomen
It is important that you immediately take your furkid to the veterinarian if he shows one or more of these signs.
Help your dog prevent DCM
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help your furkid prevent heart diseases like DCM. The amino acid taurine can help contribute to a healthy heart function. Although there isn’t a dietary requirement for taurine in dogs, unlike in cats, many veterinarians recommend taurine-rich foods or taurine supplementation for dogs.
Dogs mostly derive taurine from their diet. Give your furkid a dog food with high quality and highly digestible animal-based proteins as these are good sources of taurine. You may also check if taurine is in your dog food’s ingredients list.
Treat your dogs to Wishbone Pet Foods, a gourmet pet food made with your furkids‘ wellbeing in mind. Made with premium, highly digestible meats from New Zealand, Wishbone’s recipes are also further enhanced with taurine. Read our labels and see how our food makes a healthy and appetizing gourmet experience for your dog.
Like dogs, cats need taurine too. See how taurine helps keep cats healthy.