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Diet Related Acquired Heart Disease in Dogs – Our response to the FDA Report

July 8, 2019

Diet Related Acquired Heart Disease in Dogs

by Dr. Megan Glaser and Dr. Amy Vlazny

Many of you may have heard that the FDA recently released a report investigating a possible link between grain free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that leads to reduced pumping ability of the heart and increase heart size, which can lead to congestive heart failure and/or sudden death.

The full FDA report is here.

The chart the FDA released lists the brands of food most commonly fed to reported dogs who developed DCM that was believed to be diet related. The largest concerns surround diets which use peas or other legumes as a main ingredient, but there is still a lot to learn.

At Ohana Pet Hospital, we know many of you probably have questions and concerns since this FDA release.

We would like to help answer your questions as best as we can – here are our recommendations at this time.

  1. For dogs that do NOT have a history of documented or suspected food allergy or sensitivity (such as allergic dermatitis or inflammatory bowel disease), we recommend avoiding grain free diets entirely in order to eliminate dietary risk factors for this potentially life-threatening disease. This may be particularly important if your dog is one of the breeds that are predisposed to DCM, such as Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, and Boxers, or your dog is one of the breeds that are predisposed to taurine-responsive DCM, such as Cocker Spaniels or Golden Retrievers.
  2. For dogs that DO have a history of documented or suspected food allergy/sensitivity, your veterinarian may still recommend a limited ingredient diet or a safer alternative hypoallergenic food, such as a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet or select protein diet. You and your veterinarian will need to discuss the pros and cons of starting or continuing one of the over-the-counter diets listed and evaluate the particular risk to your pet.
  3. Finally, a few over-the-counter brands of diets that we feel confident recommending for our general canine patient population include Royal Canin, Science Diet, Purina, and Iams/Eukanuba.

We hope these  points help answer some of your questions and concerns. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have additional questions. Here is another website with more information.

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