The talk around town in the world of cats and dogs is DCM, which is short for dilated cardiomyopathy. Even those of you reading this who do not own a pet might know a little bit about this heart disease. It affects humans just as it would cats, dogs, and other animals.
It seems like lately DCM is the leading topic among pet owners of the world, mainly since there has been on the rise within the past couple of years. For everyone who is not up to date on DCM and how to prevent it from happening in their pets, it is time to learn about the disease and what you can do as a petowner to prevent it.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Pets
Before anything else, it is important to know a little bit about the actual disease. DCM is a condition of the heart that is caused by larger-than-average ventricles. DCM is also characterized by a thinning of the ventricular wall. When these two things are combined, the heart has a lot of difficulty doing its job, specifically pumping blood throughout the body.
Some animals are more likely to develop DCM at some point than others. Large dog breeds like Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and Doberman Pinschers are at a higher risk of DCM. In small dogs there is very little risk, but the chances are still there. This is especially true for English and American Cocker Spaniels. When caught early enough, proper treatment can immensely slow down the effects of the disease.
The Causes of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Pets
Just as is the case with many diseases, there is not one definitive cause of DCM. Research shows that DCM is a result of several things combined, but the most significant of these factors is genetics. As mentioned before, certain breeds have a much higher chance of developing DCM, and this has to do with the genetic makeup of the canine body.
Up until recently, DCM was mainly attributed to hereditary factors, but now there is a common link between the disease and lifestyle. Obviously pet owners should not be feeding their dogs chocolate and pizza, but there is more to a healthy pet lifestyle than just that.
The Best Way to Prevent DCM in Your Pet
One thing you can do for your pet, as well as the rest of the family, is start focusing on healthier, more holistic habits. This means feeding your pet high-quality food that is not riddled with harmful fillers, dyes, and other unnecessary additives. Another thing you can do that will not only benefit your pet, but also yourself, is adopt a more active lifestyle.
Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. This is particularly true when it comes to cardio; cardio, short for cardiovascular, promotes heart health. Since DCM is a cardiovascular defect, regular cardio is one of the best preventative measures you can take as a pet owner. Go for a walk with your pup each morning and evening, the fresh air will do you some good!