Some premium dog food brands may present a higher risk of heart disease for some dogs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA identified 16 brands of dog food with links to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which enlarges the heart muscle and causes weakness and respiratory issues, after studying 500 cases of DCM and dietary habits, according to CNN.
The top three brands are Acana, Zignature, and Taste of the Wild, according to the FDA, but the list is a who’s who of “natural” and premium dog foods.
The dog foods most prevalent in the diet of afflicted dogs were labeled “grain-free” and contained high levels of peas and/or lentils. More than 90 percent of products were “grain-free”, and 93 percent of reported products had peas and/or lentils – noticeably absent from the top ingredients are animal proteins and dogs are carnivores.
Past publications and research suggest that Golden Retrievers may be genetically predisposed to taurine deficiency, which is well-documented as potentially leading to DCM and the breed was the most frequently reported to the FDA for DCM.
Veterinary cardiologist Dr. Joshua Stern from the University of California at Davis has been studying the rise in cases of DCM in Golden Retrievers, including a potential dietary link. Many cases of DCM in Golden Retrievers are taurine-deficient. Pet owners who suspect their Golden Retrievers may be affected may wish to consult their veterinarian to discuss checking taurine levels or conducting an echocardiogram.
Taurine-high meats and/or supplements can be added to a pet’s diet to correct the imbalance.
What the FDA Says
“We know it can be devastating to suddenly learn that your previously healthy pet has a potentially life-threatening disease like DCM. That’s why the FDA is committed to continuing our collaborative scientific investigation into the possible link between DCM and certain pet foods,” Dr. Steven M. Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.
While the FDA research shows some correlation between the listed brands and the disease, the agency has not yet established causation, and is not requesting that the listed products be recalled.
“We have shared case report information with these firms so they can make informed decisions about the marketing and formulation of their products,” said the FDA, along with encouraging owners to discuss the findings with their veterinarians.
The FDA encourages dog owners to seek immediate treatment if their pet collapses or exhibits sign of weakness and says that DCM can be treated with diet and exercise if caught early enough.
Complete List of Dog Food Associated With Canine Heart Disease:
For the complete list of dog foods revealed by the study, see the list here.
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