Dilated cardiomyopathy in cats: survey of veterinary cardiologists and retrospective evaluation of a possible association with diet

J Vet Cardiol. 2022 Feb:39:22-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2021.11.002. Epub 2021 Nov 20.


Introduction/objectives: The objectives were to conduct a survey of cardiologists on their recent experiences with cats that have dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and to retrospectively review individual cases of feline DCM.

Animals, materials and methods: Part one: A survey was distributed to cardiologists with questions regarding caseload and clinical management of cats with DCM diagnosed over the past two years. Part two: Cardiologists completing the survey were invited to submit data from cats recently diagnosed with DCM. Data on signalment, clinical signs, diet, echocardiographic measurements and outcome were recorded.

Results: Part one: From 52 completed surveys, many cardiologists responded that measuring and supplementing taurine and recommending a diet change in cats with DCM are common practices. Few (15%) cardiologists reported an increase in the number of feline DCM cases over the past two years, although some had cases that improved even if taurine deficiency was not present. Part two: Twenty of 37 (54%) cats ate low pea/lentil (low PL) diets, and 14/37 (38%) ate high PL diets at the time of diagnosis; three had incomplete diet information. Two of 13 cats (15%) in which taurine was measured had levels below the reference range. After adjusting for other variables, cats eating high PL diets that changed diets after diagnosis had a significantly longer survival time than that of cats eating high PL diets that did not change diets after diagnosis (P = 0.025).

Conclusions: Additional research is warranted to determine whether there could be a possible association between diet and DCM in cats.

Keywords: Diet; Feline; Heart failure; Nutrition; Pulses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiologists*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / veterinary
  • Cat Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases* / etiology
  • Cats
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies