Science behind the product: PURINA® Pro Plan® Cardio Care™

Vet Report sat down with Dr. Ellie Groves to discuss the science behind the newly launched PURINA® diet Cardio Care™. Cardio Care™ is the newest product in the PURINA® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets range, and it has been found to support cardiac health in dogs with Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD).

Ellie Groves, Veterinary Technical Manager at Purina PetCare, explains more about the science behind the product: “We are really championing science at the Purina Institute, and it’s brilliant to actually show the science behind our products being put into action. When I was at vet school, I used to read research papers and question how they were relevant to being a vet in practice.”

She then goes on to explain the research in more detail.

“The first study in 2015 forms the background research for the Cardio Care™ product. It used both transcriptomics and metabolomics to evaluate healthy dogs compared to those with heart disease. This preliminary study set the foundation for future research, by showing that dogs with MMVD were not as efficient at cardiac energy metabolism. It also highlighted changes in oxidative stress in the dogs with MMVD. This allowed the researchers to gather this information and use it to formulate a specific nutrient blend diet.”

The second study conducted by Dr Li’s research team, which was published in 2019, found that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can be used to provide an alternative energy source, and have the potential to be used in cases with cardiac disease. The study investigated if a cardiac protection blend (CPB) containing MCTs and other nutrients influenced the progression of MMVD in dogs. The research found that dogs fed the CPB diet showed a reduction in the progression of MMVD.

What did the study measure?

“The studies measured clinical parameters such as echocardiography to look at left atrial enlargement, which is used as an indicator for progression of MMVD, specifically measuring changes in left atrial diameter (LAD) and the ratio of left atrial to aortic root diameter (LA/Ao). The degree of mitral regurgitation was also measured. “

Ellie goes on to explain the nature of the study, being a pilot study in this area of research.

“The study was a pilot study, so of course there is exciting scope for future research. It’s also exciting as the new product is being launched in the UK at the same time as the US, making it a much more global launch. Previously, the US launched Purina products ahead of the UK, so it’s great that there is a more united approach now.

“As well as nutritional considerations, researchers also had to think about commercial considerations such as palatability and digestibility when creating products. We’re always going to have to test these factors before we bring them to market – that’s when scientists and nutritionists can really work together in the development of products.”

purina cardiocare petcare PURINA®

A blend of nutrients

Ellie continues to explain the science that led to the development of Cardio Care™.

“Another interesting part of the Cardio Care™ product development is how the research looked collectively at several nutrients involved in cardiac health, rather than focusing on individual nutrients. PURINA® has become a lot more aware of specific blends compared to stand alone nutrients, because they all play such a different role in the body. These previous studies that led to the production of Cardio Care™ demonstrate how nutrients can work synergistically.”

The future of metabolomics?

“There are future studies currently being conducted into metabolomics.  There was already knowledge of certain nutrients being effective antioxidants, for example vitamin E. In the future, it would be interesting if similar studies could be done in cats with heart disease, for example hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). We used to think a long time ago that cats were just small dogs, but as a profession we are much more aware now that this is not the case. They need a totally different approach when it comes to research and creating products, and it will be interesting to see where this research could go in the future.

“It will be useful if there was future research into stand-alone nutrients such as magnesium, which is an element with so many different functions and roles in the body. As we find out more about the different ways nutrients work, this could lead to more research in the future. At this stage, it’s hard to say what’s around the corner, but it’s exciting!”

You can find out more information about the new PURINA® Cardio Care™ diet by emailing or visiting their website for more information.

Read more articles on Purina here.


1. Li Q, Heaney A, Langenfeld-McCoy N, Boler BV and Laflamme DP (2019). Dietary intervention reduces left atrial enlargement in dogs with early preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease: a blinded randomized controlled study in 36 dogs, BMC Veterinary Research 15(1): 425.

2. Li Q, Freeman LM, Rush JE, Huggins GS, Kennedy AD, Labuda JA, Laflamme DP and Hannah SS (2015). Veterinary medicine and multi-omics research for future nutrition targets: metabolomics and transcriptomics of the common degenerative mitral valve disease in dogs, OMICS 19(8): 461-470.