Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the walls of the heart thin and the heart becomes enlarged. Over time the condition worsens and causes progressive loss of heart function, often showing no obvious signs for several years. DCM is one of the leading causes of death in Great Danes.
DCM can be diagnosed by ultrasound and ECG and because it has been shown to have a genetic component, that there is a familial tendency, a genetic predisposition, testing for DCM is one of the four recommended health tests for Great Danes. This health test should be performed every 2 years and results should be kept current if the dog is used for breeding.
Because DCM is one of the leading causes of death in Great Danes and is thought to be hereditary, it is important that both parents have current heart exams (Ultrasound & ECG). The results of these tests on the parent dogs, can be found on the CHIC website. To learn more about health testing for Great Danes, see this health testing article on our website.