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Grain-free Diets Might Cause Heart Disease in Dogs

January 7, 2020

The FDA is currently investigating a potential link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain boutique/exotic/grain free (BEG) pet foods containing legumes, potatoes or exotic proteins as main ingredients (first 10 ingredients.)

There are fewer cases of cats developing diet associated DCM.

For more information, please click on the links below (the second link is to a spreadsheet of the documented cases)

In good conscious, the staff at Winsted Hospital for Animals would advise you to change your pet’s diet if it is one of those implicated in this study. If your pet is currently eating one of these diets and showing signs of cardiac disease (lethargy, exercise intolerance, cough, collapse), a full physical examination, blood work, chest radiographs and, possibly, an echocardiogram are recommended. If your pet is currently eating one of these diets and not showing any signs of cardiac disease, we would still prompt you to change that diet as some cases of nutritional DCM are asymptomatic and not diagnosed until echocardiography is performed.

The foods that we recommend are diets that follow WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) guidelines, ones that are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, have been researched, and have had extensive feeding trials performed. (Those that fall into this category are diets formulated by Purina/Purina One/Proplan, Royal Canin, Iams/Eukanuba, Hills/Science Diet)

For more information, read the WSAVA's Guide to Selecting the Best Food for Your Pet.

Please note that diets that follow AAFCO guidelines do not equate with the long-term feeding trials and safety studies that are performed by those companies following WSAVA feeding trial guidelines.

To speak to our team about this, please give us a call at (860) 379-0701.