2022 journal article
Association of diet with clinical outcomes in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure*
JOURNAL OF VETERINARY CARDIOLOGY, 40, 99–109.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs has been associated with feeding of grain-free (GF), legume-rich diets. Some dogs with presumed diet-associated DCM have shown improved myocardial function and clinical outcomes following a change in diet and standard medical therapy. Prior GF (pGF) diet influences reverse cardiac remodeling and clinical outcomes in dogs with DCM and congestive heart failure (CHF). A retrospective study was performed with 67 dogs with DCM and CHF for which diet history was known. Dogs were grouped by diet into pGF and grain-inclusive (GI) groups. Dogs in the pGF group were included if diet change was a component of therapy. Survival was analyzed using Kaplan–Meier curves and the Cox proportional-hazards model. The median survival time was 344 days for pGF dogs vs. 253 days for GI dogs (P = 0.074). Statistically significant differences in median survival were identified when the analysis was limited to dogs surviving longer than one week (P = 0.033). Prior GF dogs had a significantly worse outcome the longer a GF diet was fed prior to diagnosis (P = 0.004) or if they were diagnosed at a younger age (P = 0.017). Prior GF dogs showed significantly greater improvement in normalized left ventricular internal diastolic diameter (P = 0.038) and E-point septal separation (P = 0.031) measurements and significant decreases in their furosemide (P = 0.009) and pimobendan (P < 0.005) dosages over time compared to GI dogs. Prior GF dogs that survived at least one week after diagnosis of DCM, treatment of CHF, and diet change had better clinical outcomes and showed reverse ventricular remodeling compared to GI dogs.