FDA studies possible link between grain-free dog food and heart problems

Local News

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released their third update on their investigation into whether feeding dogs grain-free food increases heart related issues.

FDA began their reports in July 2018 after several reports of illnesses and fatalities in dogs were linked to grain free food.

Bryan Langlois, DVM, President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) clarifies that there is no need for panic.

“After first seeing an increase in cases of a specific type of heart condition in dogs, called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), where the heart muscle thins and weakens causing a difficulty in normal pumping ability, some cardiologists were noticing a lot of these dogs were being fed what are known as ’boutique’ or ‘grain-free diets’ by their owners,” said Dr. Langlois.

Dr. Langlois continues, “The FDA is not specifically stating that these diets cause these conditions in dogs. They have just noted a correlation between the two. They have not issued any recalls for these foods. They are simply asking veterinarians to further study issue.”

Christian Malesic, PVMA Executive Director, answers the questions this poses.

“Your relationship with your veterinarian is particularly important in these types of situations. Abrupt changes can sometimes be more harmful. Rushing to the pet store to find a replacement food for your dog may to be the best solution. In fact, you might just cause a problem that didn’t previously exist. Consult with your veterinarian first,” said Executive Director Malesic.

Dr. Langlois explains dog owners should look for changes in behavior as a first sign.

“Dilated Cardiomyopathy can have many causes, and sometimes is a genetic condition in various breeds. Signs that your dog might be affected by a heart condition include coughing, being more lethargic, tiring more easily on walks, possibly fainting or getting very weak, loss of appetite, and sometimes swelling in the abdomen. If you see any of these sings in your dog it is important to have them checked by your veterinarian,” said Dr. Langlois.

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