To Feed or Not To Feed (a Grain- Free Diet) By Cassie
Recently, the FDA put out a warning that some grain free diets are suspected to be linked with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a form of heart disease that when it appears in dogs, is usually genetic and only seen in certain breeds. There was an increase in the amount of cases seen and, more unusually, it was being seen in breeds that are not known to be predisposed to DCM. When investigated, the only similarity between all the cases was that they were being fed grain free or exotic-protein diets. These grain free diets were heavy in peas, lentils, potatoes, and other legume seeds. The protein sources were kangaroo, buffalo, duck, lamb, salmon, bison, and venison. Also of note, these were single-protein source foods.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. When the heart becomes dilated, it is more difficult for it to pump, and heart valves may leak, leading to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen. DCM often results in congestive heart failure. Breeds that are predisposed to the disease include Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Boxer, and Cocker Spaniel. Some cases of DCM are reversible if caught early.
The FDA is continuing research into what exactly is causing the DCM to appear more and in uncommon breeds. Initial reports are pointing to taurine deficiency. Taurine is an amino acid that is important in muscle health.
If you are currently feeding a grain free diet, our veterinarians suggest that you call us to discuss our recommendations. If you have any questions about the food you are feeding, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Also check out the article from last week’s Post ad Courier by Dr Jameson of Veterinary Specialty Care.