Species affected: Dogs, Cats
Background: Exists as both a primary or secondary disorder.
Symptoms: Include exercise intolerance, and congestive heart failure. In some cases, symptoms are not evident until cardiovascular stress occurs.
Diagnostics: Confirmed by cardiac workup, radiology, echocardiography, and EKG.
Special Notes: Occurs in different forms in different species, all resulting in poor contractile function and cardiac chamber enlargement. In dogs, the idiopathic dilated form of cardiomyopathy is the most common and occurs more frequently in the larger breeds. It can be particularly severe in Dobermans and Boxers. The hypertrophic form is rare in dogs, but common in cats. Secondary forms of cardiomyopathy can stem from nutritional deficiencies, infections, drug reactions, metabolic problems and tumors.
Principles for Supplementation: Depending on its etiology, secondary cardiomyopathy may require a variety of treatments. Taurine and carnitine deficiencies have been documented in some cases. Cats consuming vegetarian diets are usually deficient in these nutrients.