FDA Warning About Possible Dog Food Heart Disease Link
The FDA in the USA has released a report revealing that they are investigating a possible link between certain types of dog food and serious heart disease in dogs, namely DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy. This is the ailment that my poor boy Chester was stricken with last year and it turns out that 16 dog food brands were cited in this report, all grain free and many containing legumes such as peas and lentils – see the report in the link above for all the brands cited. Acana was the brand most often cited and unfortunately this was the same brand of premium dog food that my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie were on for several years.
The so called premium dog food brands that are more expensive than the usual cheaper Purina and similar brands are suppose to be better diets since they have less grains and more natural wholesome ingredients (less fillers). This was one of the reasons why we switched over to premium brands of dog food over the years. But now the vet cardiology community thinks that legumes and grain free diets may in fact be worse.
DCM is usually a big dog disease and when it was reported that many dogs of breeds not normally associated with DCM all ate grain free diets, the FDA opened up an investigation. My Chester would fall into this category as our vet cardiologist told me that the probably cause of his heart disease is likely because of the diet he was on.
I was sort of sick to my stomach reading this FDA warning as I wished that it came out at least two years earlier. If this had been the case, we may have switched Chester off Acana earlier and with earlier treatment, he might have been saved. As the FDA report suggests, it’s a real shock to dog owners who had healthy dogs who suddenly presented with serious heart symptoms which in most cases resulted in loss of their pets. Of course this opened up my own heart ache again.
Switch All Dogs Off Grain Free Dog Food
Fortunately Chester’s sister is currently okay even though she started to show very early signs of heart problems several months ago when our vet cardiologist strongly suggested that she undergo an ultrasound of her heart since she’s directly related to her late brother. Roxie was switched off Acana the same time as Chester and after six months of treatment, her second ultrasound revealed that her heart is back to within normal limits.
The FDA warning has not gone as far as claiming a definite link between grain free and legume containing dog food brands with heart disease in dogs but the investigation along with what is the general consensus among vet cardiologists is probably enough to encourage dog owners to take their dogs off such diets.
Although this issue is still quite painful for me having lost my boy way before his expected lifespan was up, I feel that I should do my part in at least spreading this news so that perhaps other dog owners out there can take the right action to prevent heart disease in their pets. I would personally check the ingredients label on the dog food brand you are using to check for legumes such as peas and lentils as well as whether it is grain free or not even if the brand you are currently using is not among the 16 brands cited in the FDA report.