According to media reports, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Embark are launching a partnership to investigate potential genetic factors that may lead to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. If successful, the study could yield a first-of-its-kind test to inform dog owners and veterinarians of the risk that a dog will develop DCM, thus allowing for early detection and the potential to support healthy recovery in affected dogs.
DCM is an adult-onset disease that prevents the heart from functioning properly. When caught early, it can respond well to medical management. The majority of previous studies have involved between 10 and 100 dogs and singularly focused on large, pure breed dogs most prone to this condition including Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds (IWH) and English Cocker Spaniels.
Hill’s and Embark seek to genetically test 1,000+ dogs diagnosed with DCM — the largest sample size to date — and will include mixed breed dogs as well. The sample size and scope will facilitate a rigorous, data-driven scientific investigation to uncover the multiple genes influencing DCM progression.
“Hill’s and Embark share a relentless commitment to pet wellbeing,” said Dave Baloga, VP of Science and Technology for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “We have the scientific programs and capabilities necessary to undertake a data-driven study of this scope and depth to bring our understanding of the underlying factors of this disease to a new level, which could lead to early diagnostics and potential for improved nutritional interventions.”
“We created Embark to drive lifesaving canine research faster than previously possible,” said Ryan Boyko, CEO of Embark. “We are excited to work with the scientists at Hill’s to discover new ways to address DCM in dogs and uncover the genetic basis for many other dog diseases and traits to improve and extend their lives.”
Hill’s and Embark are looking to rapidly scale up these efforts and invite the public to participate in this extraordinary citizen science research project. Anyone who has a dog affected by DCM and clinical documentation of a diagnosis, including an echocardiogram, is invited to fill out a survey at: hillsembarkstudy.com.