Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a form of heart disease in dogs. It has long been associated with certain (mostly large breed) dogs who appear to be genetically predisposed to the disease. This list of breeds includes:
Boxers, Doberman Pinchers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, English Spaniels, Portuguese Waterdogs, Scottish Deerhounds, Mastifs, and King Charles Cavalier Spaniels.
Taurine (an amino acid) deficiency has been known to increase the risk of developing DCM so veterinarians have long recommended foods high in natural sources of Taurine for these dogs.
WHY THIS MATTERS - Recently, the FDA has been alerted to an increase in cases of DCM in breeds of dogs not typically associated with the disease (including a number of smaller breed dogs). There is no known link (other than genetics and taurine deficiency) for the increase in cases of DCM but the FDA is exploring several hypothesis linked to diet including the feeding of foods containing peas, lentils, potatoes, chickpeas, and legumes as well as the exclusive feeding of grain-free dog food.