FDA study links certain dog foods to possible canine heart disease

Posted at 1:49 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-11 15:33:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A recent FDA investigation links several grain-free dog foods to a form of canine heart disease.

More than 500 cases were investigated and 16 dog food brands were listed. Acana had 67 cases, Zignature had 64 cases, and Taste of the Wild had 53 cases. Other brands listed include 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature's Variety, Nutrisource, Nutro, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

If your pet food brand is listed, it's important you check with an expert. A veterinarian at Hermitage Animal Clinic said she's concerned.

"There have been cases of the dilated cardiomyopathy with each of these types of foods and different brands that supply those types of foods, so the concern is we don’t know what the cause is, the FDA is working on it, they thought it was lack of taurine, but lots of these dogs have great taurine levels, so now we’re concerned that maybe there’s something in these diets that is either blocking the absorption of taurine or not allowing dogs to utilize it properly which then allows dilated cardiomyopathy, so there’s a lot of concern with this report," Dr. Allison Fields said, "So you can go from mild symptoms to death."

The exact cause hasn't been determined.

"The concerns are boutique diets made from smaller companies that don’t have a veterinarian or nutritionist on staff, exotic proteins, Kangaroo, things like that that, have not been time tested," Fields said.

Some of the brands are expensive and part of the 'BEG' diet which is 'boutique, exotic, and grain-free.'

"If your dog has been on one of these diets, you need to talk to your vet and get them switched over to something that your vet recommends," Fields said.

Some of the dog food brands dispute the FDA's report. For instance, Zignature posted a response on their website.

However, Fields wants pet owners to play it safe.

"I think there’s a very large population of dogs that we don’t even know are having this problem," Fields said

Veterinarian approved dog foods include brands like Purina, Iams, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, and Hill's Science Diet according to Fields. If your dog suffers from food allergies, you should check with a veterinarian on what food is appropriate.

NewsChannel5's Alexandra Koehn is working on the story and will have an update tonight on NewsChannel 5 at 6 p.m.