The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating various types of canine diets that appear to be associated with heart disease in dogs. They are currently concerned about diets that are classified as BEG diets (Boutique diets, Exotic ingredients, Grain-free diets). These diets have been a common factor in an increased presentation of dogs developing a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
DCM is a heart disease that typically is genetically linked to a few breeds. However, we are now seeing an increase in this disease and finding it in atypical breeds and at atypical ages, thus leading to the investigation. The FDA is looking for a possible link regarding the way taurine (an amino acid) is being absorbed by the dog when they are on the BEG diets.
Animal Medical Centre of Medina’s current recommendation is to discontinue all BEG diets and find a new diet that contains grain. We understand that this may create a lot of worry or anxiety as your pet may be tolerating his/her diet very well and you worry about the ramification of changing your pet’s food. However, with over 500 cases being investigated and also the concern of seeing cases in our clinic, we feel it is within your pet’s best interest to re-introduce grain to his/her diet until the investigation is complete. Simply adding grain (e.g. rice) to a grain-free diet does not appear to help nor does supplementing a grain-free diet with additional taurine, which is why a diet change is best.
We currently recommend diets that meet WSAVA standards (see link below) which include: Purina, Royal canin, Hills and Iams. There have been no reported cases of DCM with these brands.
In unique situations you may continue to feed your pet his/her BEG diet, however, we recommend that you monitor for any symptoms of heart disease and contact us immediately upon observing them. The signs of heart disease to watch for are lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing, difficulty breathing and an increase in respiratory rate. Sudden death can be the first symptom in some cases, which is why a diet change is recommended prior to any symptoms being noted.
Our goal is to keep you all informed and educated in matters concerning your pet’s health. We have been handing out a flyer to dogs noted to be on grain free diets during appointments and we have included a link below along with the FDA report. We are happy to talk and address any of your concerns. Please call 330-722-5076 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your AMC of Medina team