Possible link between dog diets and heart disease still unknown as FDA continues investigation

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 27, 2019

Nearly a year after the FDA put out a public release about its investigation into pet food and the possible connection to heart disease, the investigation still continues.

On Thursday, the FDA increased the number of reported cases from 300 at the November 2018 to 515 through April 2019.

Despite a year of investigating, the FDA said that a possible link between pet food and heart disease is complex.

The heart disease is known as dilated cardiomyopathy, also known as DCM. It’s a heart disease where the heart becomes enlarged and pumps poorly, thus decreasing the amount of blood throughout the body.

The FDA said the type of food associated with it is often labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals).

Typically dogs who have the condition are older, large breeds, but now, scattered across the country, mid-sized dogs and puppies are suffering from DCM.

Most of the cases reported involved the dog consuming dry food. The disease was not tied to consuming a specific protein or brand of food.

The FDA has offered the following tip to pet owners:

"If a dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If the symptoms are severe and your veterinarian is not available, you may need to seek emergency veterinary care. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten."

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Info from KMGH -TV has contributed to this report.