GRAIN FREE DIETS
DR. NICHOLA GAITHER
Feeding your pet a "grain-free" diet has become very popular over the past few years. Some think this is a "healthier" diet for their dog. The pet food industry has marketed this very well. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a cautionary statement regarding grain-free diets. They are currently investigating a link between heart disease, specifically DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) and dogs being fed grain-free diets. DCM is not uncommon in dogs, but it is uncommon in certain breeds. DCM is a condition that affects the muscle of the heart which results in an an enlarged heart. This enlarged heart is unable to pump blood appropriately to the body. This causes blood to back up into the lungs which results in congestive heart failure. The FDA has noticed a trend of DCM in breeds that are not typically prone to the disease and also are being fed primarily a grain-free diet. More investigation is being done between the FDA and cardiologists. Until that investigation is complete, it is important to contact your veterinarian if your pet is on a grain-free diet and experiencing any symptoms such as exercise intolerance, an increased resting respiration rate, lethargy, weakness or coughing.