Heart Disease & Grain Free Food

posted: by: Excerpt with permission from Vetted, dvm.360 Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Last July, the FDA released an alert for veterinary professionals and pet owners regarding reports of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs that head pet foods contain peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients.  The reports were concerning because DCM was being noted in dogs not typically prone to the disease.  “While there has historically been some evidence of diet-responsive DCM in some breeds (golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, Newfoundlands, Irish wolfhounds, and Saint Bernards) the incidence of DCM in these breeds has appeared to increase when they were fed grain-free, vegetarian/vegan or exotic ingredient pet foods,” explains WSU professor O. Lynn Nelson, DVM, MS, DACVIM (cardiology), who coauthored the statement, in the WSU Insider.  “Curiously, other cases occur in breeds without a history of DCM or in very young dogs.”

According to the WSU website, DCM is a cardiac disease in which the heart muscles become weak reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.  Disease profession leads to the enlargement of the heart chambers, possible valve leakage and fluid accumulation in the lungs resulting in congestive heart failure.  Dogs with mild disease may not show clinical signs, whereas in other cases the condition can be life-threatening.

Some breeds may be more sensitive to changes in nutritional components in their food, which may suggest breed-related differences in metabolism.  Alternatively, the balance of amino acids in some dog food formulations may be inappropriate, or the amino acids may not be well-absorbed by the pet.

In addition to advising pet owners to always choose a diet made by a well-established manufacturer, the statement provided several recommendations:

Healthy dogs should feed a diet that contains standard ingredients (chicken, beef, rice, corn and wheat)

Dogs that have a medical condition that requires a nonstandard diet should be fed a diet that has undergone extensive feeding trials through the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)

DCM related to diet may be reversible if it is detected early.  Dogs diagnosed with DCM that are eating a diet with nonstandard ingredients should be switched to a diet that contains standard ingredients as noted above.


The whole article can be found here.

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