Dilated Cardiomyopathy



Dilated cardiomyopathy is a congestive heart disease affecting the heart muscles resulting in atrial and ventricular dilation. With DCM, the heart doesn’t pump blood fast enough; unable to contract normally, the heart muscle stretches to compensate.  DCM causes a backup of fluid into the lungs. It generally seen in large dog breeds such as Boxers, Great Danes, and Dobermanns. It is usually idiopathic, but can also be caused by taurine deficiency in Cocker Spaniels or doxorubicin use. Dilated Cardiomyopathy usually results in congestive heart failure.




Signs and symptoms of DCM may include breathlessness (coughing or shortness of breath), lethargy/depression, excessive drinking, extended abdomen, weight loss, and others.




There is really no treatment plan, as often the affected dog will die suddenly before there are detectable symptoms, however, if DCM is detected there is some success in life extension through proper care management.