DCM and the Doberman Crisis
Getting the the Heart of the Matter.
There is a strong link between DCM and diet in several breeds. Vets noticed a sharp increase in DCM cases in breeds not typically prone to DCM. Many pet owners went to the FDA and complained about thier pet's health, which promptly the FDA to look into the matter. While research into the exact cause is still in process one thing is certain; fad diets are bad for our dogs. Fad diets include grain-free, exotic meats, meat only diets, BARF, raw diets and vegan (please, don't feed your omnivorous pet a plant only diet; it will kill him). Avoid trending diets and cures (such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, garlic - which is TOXIC to dogs, and so on). The evidence is solid; fad diets are hurting our pets. But what else may be? Many external factor have an effect on the disease. DCM is complex and hard to predict.
Doberman are one of the most inbred of all the dog world. All Doberman share the same 10 halotypes. That means they are all so closely related to one another it is as if breeding family members together! The average inbreeding ratio is 43%! There is not much diversity left to support healthy dogs and sustain a stable population for long. Lack of diversity gives rise to genetic mutations being passed down more frequently. Smaller gene pool the more the traits are shared. DCM isn't just genetic related, there is a diet component too.
"Important note about the TTN mutation (also known as DCM2): The vast majority of research exploring the genetics of DCM has been performed on purebred American Dobermans, a high risk population for DCM. Even in the Doberman, DCM2 is incompletely penetrant, meaning that while having one or two copies of this mutation is thought to confer some increased risk of developing DCM, it is by no means predictive of disease. DCM is a highly complex disease that is modulated by many genetic factors, most unknown. In addition, Embark and others have identified this mutation in multiple breeds, including breeds where DCM is not a common disease. The impact of this mutation in these breeds is unknown: Embark hopes to change this." - Embark on TTN/DCM2
Another tidbit to note; PDK4 (aka DCM1) is not associated with DCM in the European population. It is important to know the pedigree; if there are any non-Euro dogs in the pedigree PDK4 may be associated with DCM in your dog! There are other DCM variants that do have significance in risk of disease development. - https://www.google.com/search?q=pdk4+doberman+european&oq=PDK4&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j69i59j69i61.7369j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
58% of European Dobermans develop DCM by age 8 ( Wess et al (2010a)). - https://www.ufaw.org.uk/dogs/doberman-pinscher-dilated-cardiomyopathy (a note on this article; elimination of all carriers even affected dogs would eliminate of 70% of Doberman. This is not realistic nor sustainable for the breeds future. There is not enough evidence supporting a drastic elimination of the genes as gene free dogs still develop DCM.) Population diversity is crucial to reducing DCM and saving the breed.
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