Health & Wellness Facts


Categories: Nutrition

nutrition dcm research stephanie clark part one dogs

As many of you know, our mission is to Do Only Good for the health of all dogs and the planet.  It has also been our mission to keep you informed of any updates regarding the FDA’s report of two years ago regarding the disease dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).  Recently, a literature review published in the Journal of Animal Science showed no fixed correlation between grain-free dog food and DCM.  We sat down with one of the journal articles authors, Dr. Stephanie Clark, to discuss not only her research but her views as a devoted pet parent and the importance of animal nutrition.

Dr. Stephanie Clark is a Licensed Veterinary Technologist and a Ph.D. Companion Animal Nutritionist.  As a scientist, she did her graduate studies focusing on nutraceutical research and microbiology.  She did her post-doctorate at the Mayo Clinic.  As a devoted pet parent, the health and longevity of “her girls,” is of utmost importance; Anny, a foster pitbull/dachshund-mix and her beagle-mix, Gracie who, as a puppy was ever-present throughout her academic career.

Dr. Clark graciously allowed us to ask some questions about the research she co-authored so we could better understand their current examination and scientific finding concerning DCM:

Recently, you and four of your colleagues published a peer-reviewed journal article entitled, “Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns.” What motivated you to research dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) concerning canine diets?

This is a devastating disease that we have either seen clinically, provided nutritional consultations for, or have experience within the pet food industry. As veterinary researchers, we wanted to better understand how our future research projects could fill in the gaps.  This necessitated us to dive deeper into the past literature to understand what we know and where the work still needs to be done.

Can you briefly describe for us what DCM is?

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle that results in progressively decreased cardiac function. The natural progression of disease results in congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden death. 

You and your co-authors go into detail regarding the Etiology (causation) of DCM.  Could you briefly explain your findings regarding DCM origins?

DCM is a multifactorial disease. Some of the etiologies include predisposed breeds (genetics), infectious or inflammatory conditions (myocarditis), endocrine diseases, chronic increased heart rates, toxins, and nutritional deficiencies. 

What links (if any) did you find regarding diet being causation of DCM?

Based on past literature, dietary causes are centered around nutritional deficiencies, such as diets low in protein or taurine precursors, imbalanced or too high fiber content, and deficiencies in amino acids and/or micronutrients.

When we asked why she chose to be a Companion Animal Nutritionist, Dr. Clark told us she first wanted to be a veterinarian.  However, she found research more exciting.  She stated, “nutrition affects everything, including the immune system, brain, skin, and coat.  Throughout my career, I have seen what a bad diet can do to a cat or dog.” For example, Anny was malnourished and rescued from an abusive home.  Dr. Clark believes that proper nutrition, regular walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are all essential factors in aiding in the health and longevity of our dogs.

Next month, we will continue our interview with Dr. Clark.  If you would like to read the published literature review by Dr. Clark and her colleagues, here is a link to the article:


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