Ridgefield Veterinary Center
Yesterday we had two wonderful Golden Retrievers, ages 6 and 2, come in for elective surgical procedures. Both dogs had a history of eating a well-known and popular grain free diet for several years. In one dog, an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) was detected so an x-ray of his chest was taken. His heart was enlarged, so an echocardiogram was scheduled for that afternoon. An x-ray was also taken of the other dog's chest as a precaution, and his heart was also enlarged. He was able to get an echocardiogram same day, as well.
The reports on both dogs just came back, and both of these gorgeous, otherwise perfectly healthy dogs have Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The cardiologist suspects that in both cases it is related to their diet. Thankfully, this condition was caught early, and when fed a traditional diet, their condition should hopefully reverse. Their cases are being reported to the FDA, along with the thousands of others from across the country.
There is no evidence to support feeding grain-free. Most pet allergies are related to environment (pollens, etc) or protein sources. Grain allergies account for a tiny fraction of all food allergies in dogs. Unfortunately, many dogs are becoming very ill or even dying from eating so-called "BEG" diets (boutique, exotic, grain-free), and the terrible thing is nutritionally mediated dilated cardiomyopathy is 100% preventable. There have been zero reported cases of NMDCM in dogs eating foods that meet WSAVA guidelines, currently made by Purina, Hill's, Iams/Eukanuba, or Royal Canin. We strongly suggest if you are feeding a "BEG" diet that you change your dog over to one of the brands listed above. If you have any questions specifically related to your pet, please call us.
We are so hopeful we caught this disease in time for our two beautiful patients to reverse their disease. Their very caring and dedicated owners have already changed their diet to one that meets WSAVA criteria. The articles below will help explain this disease, WSAVA guidelines, and why grain-free was more marketing than science.