BSM Partners is a full-service pet care research, consulting, and strategy-to-shelf product innovation firm tackling DCM.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

A Devastating Disease with Multiple Causes

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common cardiomyopathy in the dog, resulting in thinning of the heart muscle, decreased pump function, congestive heart failure, dangerous arrhythmias, and, often, sudden cardiac death.

While DCM is a primarily inherited disease, other complex disease processes may also lead to DCM phenotype.

The Role of Nutrition

Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in the number and sales of grain-free and legume-rich dog foods and treats, and today millions of dogs are thriving on these diets.

There has also been discussion about a speculated link between grain-free and legume-rich diets and DCM. At the moment, there is no research showing a definitive connection, and more data is needed to draw sound conclusions about the relationship between nutrition and the heart health of dogs.

Our Research Team

5e34f5 c0159e33ee984ff3bf3649978326d5ab mv2 Dr. Sydney McCauley PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAS Dr. McCauley holds a PhD in animal nutrition from Virginia Tech. There she was awarded the John Lee Pratt endowment to research the relationship between glucose and fatty acid metabolism, using stable isotope tracers, in low birth weight neonatal pigs and the role on metabolic diseases later in life. Additionally, Dr. McCauley’s focus was on improving growth and performance in low birth weight neonates with a concentration on carbohydrate metabolism as well as protein synthesis and degradation in skeletal muscle.
5e34f5 142509bd9f5d4fe8b460e49c9aa54523 mv2 August Konie MS, MBA Previously, Mr. Konie has led various multi-billion-dollar companies at executive levels whose teams included Food Safety, Quality Assurance, Laboratory Service and Regulatory Compliance. He has worked abroad standardizing programs in Asia and Europe with various start-ups, as well as, collaborating on quality systems with several food companies in South America and served on many technical committees.
5e34f5 479af16cb4c744f0857dc4264a25d1be mv2 Dr. Bradley Quest DVM Previously the Senior veterinarian at Mars Petcare North America, Dr. Quest is a globally recognized pet care professional. Dr. Quest has worked exclusively in functional pet product research & development, clinical efficacy testing, process development and technical services for most of his career. He was one of the first pet food industry professionals to develop global standards for product safety and efficacy testing. Dr. Quest has developed and clinically tested many of the leading health benefit products in the pet food industry. Prior to working in the pet food industry, Dr. Quest actively practiced veterinary medicine as a partner in a private veterinary practice.
5e34f5 7e3298549a3b465198d4c7b56b435495 mv2 Dr. Stephanie Clark PhD, CVT, PAS, CFS, Dipl. ACAS Dr. Clark holds a doctorate from Southern Illinois University in animal nutrition and is a certified veterinary technologist and food scientist. Her main studies focused on digestibility and the microbiome of working dogs and horses. Dr. Clark received two awards for “Outstanding Researcher”. She continued with her post-doctorate at Mayo Clinic, in a collaboration with the pet food industry, where she was also awarded the first two grants to support therapy dog welfare and earned her title of Assistant Professor of Medicine.
5e34f5 a3f4b27db5004cc1a76375fd6d12d131 mv2 Dr. Renee Streeter DVM, DACVN ​Dr. Streeter is a Veterinarian and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. She obtained her undergraduate degree in animal science from Cornell University and worked as a farm animal nutritionist before attending veterinary school at Ross University. Her clinical rotations were done at Cornell University’s college of veterinary medicine, where she stayed on to do her Clinical Nutrition residency. Thereafter she worked in general practice and nutrition. Currently she helps industry clients through her position as the Clinical Nutrition Services Practice Principal at BSM Partners and helps veterinary patients as a Clinical Nutritionist, taking referrals through veterinarians.

Published Research

DCM Incidence Study

In March 2022, veterinarians and scientists from BSM Partners, the largest pet care research and consulting firm, and the University of Missouri, published an analysis of a retrospective survey that evaluated the annual incidence of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) diagnosed by veterinary cardiologists across the United States, along with previously unknown information regarding the growth of grain-free pet food store sales. The peer-reviewed article, which appears in Frontiers in Animal Science, includes data that did not indicate a significant increase nationally in DCM incidence over time, from 2000 to 2019, while grain-free pet food store sales grew 500% between 2011 and 2019. Researchers also found no significant correlation between the national DCM incidence rate in relation to grain-free pet food sales.

The full text of the article can be found here.


Benchmark Literature Review

In June 2020, researchers from BSM Partners published their peer-reviewed benchmark review article on Dilated Cardiomyopathy in dogs, the review was the first in a series of peer-reviewed works.

The authors found no peer-reviewed evidence of a causal link between grain-free and legume-rich diets and DCM. The full text of the peer-reviewed article appeared in the Journal of Animal Science.

Veterinary Practice News wrote about the publication of the literature review.

Ongoing Research

Despite much discussion regarding the hypothesized link between grain-free and legume-rich diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), more data is needed to draw sound conclusions about the relationship between nutrition and canine cardiac disease.

To better understand this issue, BSM Partners has made a significant commitment to develop and implement multiple scientific studies. These include original research related to:

Amino Acids

BSM’s scientists will be examining amino acid levels in the cardiac and skeletal muscle of dogs and how dogs absorb amino acids from different types of diets.

Additional Resources

Below is a wide variety of educational resources. If you would like to share additional resources, please contact us using the form on our homepage.

*BSM Partners does not endorse any organization noted here, nor the data or services they may provide*

Our Research

In order to fully understand the true causes of DCM, BSM Partners is conducting appropriately controlled, original research to determine the relationship between canine diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). We welcome support for our work from veterinarians, pet food stores, veterinary scientists, pet food companies, and anyone concerned with canine health.

We also call upon our peers in the veterinary, veterinary cardiology, animal nutrition, and related fields to undertake their own peer-reviewed controlled studies on these important topics. Additional research and collaboration are critical to bettering our understanding of canine health.


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