Champaign, Ill. (WCIA) - Dr. Jonathan Stack, who is completing a residency in veterinary cardiology at the University of Illinois shares important information about an alarming trend of heart disease developing in dogs that seems to be related to the dogs being fed “boutique” or “grain-free” diets or even home-made diets.
Recently, veterinary cardiologists have begun noticing cases of heart disease in dogs that had not previously been likely to get heart disease, and the cause MAY be linked to what the dogs are being fed. Veterinarians across the country are working to find out if owners who are trying to give their dogs the very best food are actually harming their dogs without realizing it.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart problem in which the heart is enlarged and beats weakly. This used to occur in cats that weren't getting the nutrient taurine, an amino acid that is important for heart health and that cats must get through food because their bodies do not produce enough of it. That problem was largely solved by taurine being included in commercial cat foods.
Over the past 18 years, veterinarians have seen more dogs are getting DCM, and it appears that some of these recent cases in dogs may be linked to “boutique” diets—especially “grain-free” diets, diets with exotic protein sources, or home-made diets.
More information will come from studies currently under way, but for now: Feed your dog a commercial diet. (If your dog has been diagnosed with a sensitivity to grains, there are prescription diets available that do not contain grains but are still nutritionally complete.)
Recommendations for Pet Owners:
· Feed your pet foods from well-established manufacturers
· Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s diet
· If you think your pet could have heart disease, see your veterinarian