Genetics play an important role in certain diseases that affect our pets. Now studies are being funded to investigate some of these baked-in connections.
A case in point is the first-of-its-kind lifetime study of how genetic mutations impact the development of dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, in Doberman pinschers. Dogs with DCM — and that includes nearly 50 percent of Dobermans — develop heart enlargement and decreased cardiac function, which often results in heart failure.
Three hundred client-owned Dobermans screened for DCM are enrolled in the study. Aided by veterinarians across the country, a team of veterinary cardiologists will monitor the dogs throughout their lifetime. A key question they hope to answer is why only some of the dogs that carry DCM-associated genetic mutations will actually develop clinical disease.