Investigation into Subclinical Diet-Associated Cardiomyopathy in Healthy Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers and Doberman Pinchers.

The University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting healthy Miniature Schnauzers  for a study evaluating the effect of diet type on heart function.

NOTE: As of 7/18/2019, enrollment for Golden Retrievers has been completed and we will no longer be accepting new Golden Retrievers for this study. Thank you to the Golden Retriever community for your enthusiastic support!

As of 7/24/2019, enrollment for Doberman Pinschers has been completed and we will no longer be accepting new Dobermans for this study. Thank you also to the Doberman community for your enthusiastic support!

  • Inclusion Criteria:
    • Dogs must be healthy and without significant medical conditions. Treated hypothyroidism is allowable.
    • Dogs must be one of 3 breeds (Doberman Pinschers, Miniature Schnauzers or Golden Retrievers).
    • Owners must be willing to provide a diet history and permit ultrasound and blood testing.
    • All visits take place on Wednesdays at the University of Florida, Veterinary Hospital
  • Exclusion Criteria:
    • A recent diet change or unknown diet history
    • Taurine supplementation
    • Dogs eating home cooked diets
    • Dogs with significant medical conditions
    • Dogs that are symptomatic for heart disease (these dogs may be candidates for a different clinical trial at UF if they have DCM)
  • Procedures: Dogs enrolled in the study will have a physical examination, ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram), and blood tests (whole blood and plasma taurine concentrations, NT-proBNP and troponin I). DNA testing will be performed for Dobermans. Owners will be asked to fill out a diet history form. Any dogs that are found to be abnormal on ultrasound or blood testing will be offered follow-up evaluations at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after a diet change.
  • Cost: If your dog is eligible for the study at the time of the evaluation, the study will cover the costs of the examination, echocardiogram (ultrasound) and blood tests. If follow-up evaluations are recommended after a diet change, these costs will also be covered by the study at each timepoint (3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months). The costs of other tests, hospitalization, or medications are not covered by the study, nor is financial incentive provided.
  • Study Contact: Contact the Cardiology Service at the Small Animal Hospital (352) 392-2235, Dr. Darcy Adin ( or the Clinical Studies Team ( )
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Darcy Adin

Study Screening Form

DCM Diet History Form Fillable


Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious disease whereby the heart becomes weak and enlarged. Recent reports suggest that there may be a relationship between certain dog foods and DCM.  The extent of the problem is unknown and a specific cause has not yet been identified. The purpose of this study is to prospectively screen a large population of apparently healthy dogs for DCM and compare important heart disease measurements, including ultrasound of the heart, blood biomarker concentrations and taurine concentrations between dogs eating different diet types.

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