Concerns with grain-free dog foods and heart disease
In the past year, the FDA began investigating a potential link between certain diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a potentially fatal heart condition. Many of these diets were labeled "grain-free" and contained a high proportion of legumes such as peas and lentils and/or potatoes and sweet potatoes. Symptoms of DCM may include weakness or collapse and your veterinarian may notice a heart murmur or irregular heartbeat. Unfortunately, this disease can be life-threatening. Diagnosis can be quite expensive, requiring an echocardiogram with a veterinary cardiologist and/or testing taurine levels.
The FDA has released an update on the current investigation which includes a list of the foods most frequently named in DCM cases at www.fda.gov
If your pet is currently on a diet of concern, it is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian. At that point, you can discuss whether you need to pursue additional testing to determine if your dog has DCM. This condition can be treated and potentially reversed but early and quick diagnosis and intervention is critical. In all cases, it is recommended that you change your pet's diet and to select a diet backed by research and rigorous quality control. If your pet does require a grain-free diet due to allergies or another medical condition, there are grain-free options available from Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin. As with all diet changes, you should do a slow transition over the period of at least several days to prevent GI upset.
More information and useful links can be found at www.heartvet.com
Wilsonville Veterinary Clinic
9275 S.W. Barber St, Wilsonville, OR 97070