What Dog Owners Should Know About the FDA Alert

Our friends at VCA Hospitals recently shared an article by Melanie Hoffman, DVM, about the FDA Alert on grain-free dog food diets that should be noted by all dog owners.

Overview of Investigation
The FDA is currently investigating a potential link between dilated cardiomyopathy and dogs eating certain grain-free diets, especially diets containing peas, lentils, or potatoes. Over 524 reported cases are being investigated. An official link or cause of the disease has not yet been determined; therefore, no food recalls have been issued by the FDA.

What is DCM?
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease that affects the heart muscle and its ability to pump blood which can lead to congestive heart failure. DCM is a genetically-linked heart condition usually seen in large or giant breed dogs. However, the reports submitted to the FDA include a large range of breeds including those without the genetic predisposition. Signs of DCM or other heart conditions can occur gradually or suddenly, and include cough, decreased energy, difficulty breathing or increased respiratory rate, or collapse. If you are concerned for your pet or have seen any of these signs, contact your veterinarian to discuss testing and diet options.

What Foods Should We Be Concerned About?
Most of the reported cases were dogs being fed dry dog food formulation. More than 90% of the foods were grain-free and about 94% contained peas or lentils.

Alternate Diet Recommendations
We recommend you work with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate diet for your pet. Pet owners should seek diets made by major manufactures, such as Royal Canin, Hill’s, Purina ProPlan, Eukanuba, and Iams, who have consistently invested in research to produce high quality diets. Look for dog food brands that are “complete and balanced” determined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

For more information on this study, please visit the FDA’s website: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy.

Meet Dr. Hoffman at the Heartworm Disease: Is My Pet Protected? Workshop on August 17. Click here for more information.