Pit bull-type breeds with dilated cardiomyopathy eating nontraditional diets improve after diet change (2015-2022)

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2023 Apr 14;261(7):1011-1019. doi: 10.2460/javma.23.01.0025. Print 2023 Jul 1.


Objective: To compare signalment, clinical signs, diet, echocardiographic findings, and outcome for pit bull-type breeds diagnosed between 2015 and 2022 with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or with DCM diagnosed by a cardiologist but that did not meet all study echocardiographic criteria (DCM-C).

Animals: 91 dogs with DCM and 11 dogs with DCM-C.

Procedures: Data were collected on clinical findings, echocardiographic measurements, and diet at the time of diagnosis (for 76/91 dogs); echocardiographic changes; and survival.

Results: For dogs with diet information available for time of diagnosis, 64/76 (84%) dogs were eating nontraditional commercial diets, while 12/76 (16%) were eating traditional commercial diets. There were few differences between diet groups at baseline, with congestive heart failure and arrhythmias common in both groups. Thirty-four dogs with known baseline diet and diet change status had follow-up echocardiograms between 60 and 1,076 days later (traditional diet, n = 7; nontraditional diet that changed diets, 27; and nontraditional diet group without diet change, 0). Dogs in the nontraditional diet group that changed diets had a significantly greater decrease in normalized left ventricular diameter (diastolic, P = .02; systolic, P = .048) and the left atrium-to-aorta ratio (P = .002) and a significantly greater increase in fractional shortening (P = .02) compared to dogs eating traditional diets. Dogs eating nontraditional diets with diet change (n = 45; P < .001) and dogs eating traditional diets (12; P < .001) had a significantly longer survival time compared to dogs eating nontraditional diets without diet change (4). Dogs with DCM-C also had significant echocardiographic improvements after diet change.

Clinical relevance: Congestive heart failure and arrhythmias were common in pit bull-type breeds with DCM. Those eating nontraditional diets that changed diets had significant improvements in echocardiographic measurements after diet change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / veterinary
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Dogs
  • Echocardiography / veterinary
  • Heart Failure* / veterinary