GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Lining the store shelves of all pet stores and supermarkets are the big bags of the most tasty, healthiest and latest pet foods.
But new figures from a multi-year study of the food and drug administration reveal a possible relationship between "grain-free" dog food and cat-expanded cardiomyopathy or DCM.
"These grain-free diets have been pushed on the audience much more," Dr. Gary Ryder said. "These organic and natural and grain-free – it's over the pet shop."
Dr. Ryder has been a veterinarian for the past 13 years. He says over the previous five, there has been a noticeable increase in heart disease for dogs. And treatments that used to work do not have the same effect.
"In recent years, they also do not respond, or some of them return as this DCM disease in Yorkies, poodles, chihuahuas and goldens," said Dr. Ryder about what he sees first-hand on his Michigan practice. "Those dogs that just never had that disease before, DCM is much more difficult to treat."
DCM can be difficult to spot. Its symptoms include lethargy and shortness of breath, among other things.
But as the symptoms reveal, the animals are already very sick. It causes an expansion in both chambers of the heart and can be fatal.
From 2014 to 2017, the FDA recorded only seven deaths between dogs and cats associated with DCM. From January 2018 to April 2019, they registered 517.
"The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pets in the United States. Most dogs in the United States have eaten pet food without developing DCM," the report says. known how often dogs develop DCM, but the increase in reports to the FDA signals a potential increase in cases of DCM in dogs that are not genetically predisposed. "
The study states 16 brands that have been linked to DCM study-related deaths, some of them The most famous and best-selling dog food in the country.
"There is more marketing than anything else," said Dr. Ryder. "When you put organic or grain-free on a bag, people automatically think there is better food. Now we see it can actually be more harmful. "
Dr. Ryder says that while the FDA study has not been completed or provides any recommendations for changing a pet's diet, he believes in the study, causality is correlation.
" If it is a grain-free thing and it is Something we can change diet recommendations and get rid of a large number of these heart failure cases, "Dr. Ryder said about the tip he recently seen." That would be the best scenario. "
Right now, as the FDA continues its investigation, jobs those with the pet food industry to find out the confusing tip of DCM in recent years.
They add the report, "If a dog shows possible signs of DCM or other heart disease, including reduced energy, coughing, difficulty breathing and episodes of breakdown, you contact the veterinarian as soon as possible. "
Officials say they will continue their investigation to determine if there is a" specific diet link to developing DCM "in dogs due to grain-free food.