UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

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Veterinary Medicine


BACKGROUND: Associations of diet with dilated cardiomyopathy are under investigation.

OBJECTIVES: That cardiac assessment would show abnormalities in healthy dogs eating grain-free (GF) diets or diets with Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-listed ingredients of concern (peas, lentils, or potatoes) as top 10 ingredients (FDA-PLP), but not in dogs eating grain-inclusive (GI) diets or diets without FDA-listed ingredients of concern (PLP) in the top 10 ingredients (NoFDA-PLP).

ANIMALS: One hundred eighty-eight healthy Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Whippets.

METHODS: This study was an observational cross-sectional study. Echocardiograms, cardiac biomarkers, and blood and plasma taurine concentrations were compared between dogs eating GF (n = 26) and GI (n = 162) diets, and between FDA-PLP (n = 39) and NoFDA-PLP (n = 149) diets, controlling for age and breed. Demographic characteristics, murmurs, genetic status, and ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) during examination were compared between dogs eating different diet types.

RESULTS: No differences in echocardiographic variables, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide or whole blood taurine were noted between dogs eating different diet types. Dogs eating GF diets had higher median high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) (GF 0.076 ng/mL [Interquartile range (IQR), 0.028-0.156] vs. GI 0.048 [IQR, 0.0026-0.080]; P < .001) and higher median plasma taurine (GF 125 nmol/mL [IQR, 101-148] vs GI 104 [IQR, 86-123]; P = .02) than dogs eating GI diets. Dogs eating FDA-PLP diets had higher median hs-cTnI (0.059 ng/mL [IQR, 0.028-0.122]) than dogs eating NoFDA-PLP diets (0.048 [IQR, 0.025-0.085]; P = .006). A greater proportion of dogs eating FDA-PLP diets (10%) had VPCs than dogs eating NoFDA-PLP diets (2%; P = .04).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Higher hs-cTnI in healthy dogs eating GF and FDA-PLP diets might indicate low-level cardiomyocyte injury.


NT-proBNP, dilated cardiomyopathy, food, grain free, grain inclusive, troponin

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Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Adin D, Freeman L, Stepien R, Rush JE, Tjostheim S, Kellihan H, Aherne M, Vereb M, Goldberg R. Effect of type of diet on blood and plasma taurine concentrations, cardiac biomarkers, and echocardiograms in 4 dog breeds. J Vet Intern Med. 2021 Mar;35(2):771-779. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16075. Epub 2021 Feb 27. PMID: 33638176; PMCID: PMC7995416. Link to article on publisher's site

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Journal of veterinary internal medicine

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.