The FDA is now publishing the brands of dog food and how often they are associated with confirmed cases of DCM. See link for full article- https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy
You may have heard in the news lately that certain types of pet foods are being linked to a rise in Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. In this blog we'll answer some FAQ and keep you posted on the latest research.
First, the basics:
What is DCM?
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart muscle gets very thin and the heart becomes enlarged, and then can no longer pump blood properly. It has previously been known to occur in cats due to a nutritional deficiency of the amino acid, Taurine. In dogs, there is a known genetic predisposition in certain large breeds such as Dobermans, Boxers, Irish Wolfhounds, and Great Danes
Signs/Symptoms of DCM include:
no signs in early stages of disease then progress
How Is Pet Food Involved?
Recently, veterinary cardiologists have been seeing an increase in cases of DCM in breeds that are not typically associated with the disease, as well as an increased incidence in affected breeds. Further investigation led to the discovery that the dogs diagnosed with DCM were more likely to be eating "BEG" dies, boutique, diets with exotic ingredients (lentils, peas, chickpeas, fava beans, tapioca, barley, duck, bison, buffalo venison, lamb, kangaroo, salmon) or grain-free. In dogs where a nutritional cause of DCM was suspected, symptoms and heart function improved when the diet was changed from a BEG diet to a more traditional formula. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating this issue along with veterinary cardiologists.
What can you do?
Not every dog on a BEG diet is going to develop DCM. However, we don't yet fully understand why BEG diets are affecting some dogs and DCM is a life-threatening disease. Therefore we recommend changing your dog's diet until we know more. Look for foods formulated with typical ingredients made by a company with a long track record of producing good quality diets. the current recommendation is to feed a diet that meets both the WASAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) and AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines The only companies that currently do are Royal Canin, Hill's/Science Diet, Eukanuba/Iams, and Purina. If your pet is eating a BEG diet due to GI or allergy issues, consult with your veterinarian to decide on the best course of action for diet change.
If you think your dog is having any symptoms of DCM, please contact your veterinarian. They will recommend blood tests (checking Taurine levels and nt-ProBNP) and an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to get more information and make a treatment plan for your dog.
I thought Purina, RC etc. were poor quality food made from junk ingredients.
Due to strategic marketing and packaging by the BEG food companies, many people have come to the conclusion that the ingredients in those diets must be better for their pet than the ingredients in the foods backed by science. Click here to help you decipher fact from fiction when choosing a diet for your pet.
What About Cats?
This problem currently seems to be much more prevalent in dogs, but that does not mean that cats are immune. We also recommend avoiding BEG diets in cats until we have more data.
Public Warning and Coining of Term BEG Diet June 2018
Update November 2018
WASAVA Guidlines and Tips on Selecting the Best food For Your Pet
Why You Shouldn't Judge A Pet Food By It's Ingredient List
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