Campus News

Professor shares way to check pet heart health

Joe Bartges, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, recently spoke with NBC News about diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and a way to tell if your dog’s diet may be causing DCM.

DCM causes the heart to get larger, leaving it weaker and less able to pump blood. Some larger breeds, such as golden retrievers and Great Danes, are susceptible to the condition.

A study published in 2021 suggested that high levels of peas in certain pet foods could be causing DCM though it isn’t clear what is it about peas that could be harming pet hearts.

Bartges said that pet owners don’t need to switch from their nontraditional brand of pet food to check on heart health.

“There are biomarkers that can look at whether the heart muscle has been damaged,” Bartges said, adding that veterinarians can run a blood test that measures levels of a protein called BNP.