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FDA Investigates Diet-Related Heart Disease in Pets: What You Need to Know

FDA's investigation into diet-related heart disease in pets, specifically dogs, and the potential link between certain pet foods and canine heart conditions has raised concerns among pet owners and veterinarians

Investigating Diet-Related Heart Disease in Pets
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a possible link between diet and canine heart conditions. Since 2018, cases of diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition that enlarges and weakens the heart, have been reported in dogs. This has raised concerns among pet owners and veterinarians about the potential harm caused by certain pet foods.

The FDA's recent data reveals a total of 1,382 reported cases of diet-related heart damage in dogs, with 255 cases identified between August 1, 2020, and November 1, 2022. Although the condition is observed in a relatively small number of cats, the problem could be more widespread than reported numbers suggest.

The 2019 FDA warning linked "grain-free" pet foods to the development of DCM, particularly affecting large dog breeds such as golden retrievers and Great Danes.It identified 16 dog food brands associated with this heart condition, raising concerns about certain ingredients, including peas, lentils, and potatoes, commonly found in these foods.

While the exact mechanism behind how specific ingredients in pet food may lead to heart damage remains unclear, research has suggested that high levels of peas could be a potential cause. A study conducted in Canada supported this hypothesis, observing "DCM-like changes" in dogs fed a diet high in peas.

Experts highlight the positive impact of switching affected dogs to traditional diets, emphasizing the correlation between improvement in heart health and a change in food consumption. 

FDA has not recalled any pet food products as the investigations are underway however, it acknowledges that adverse event numbers alone do not establish a causal relationship with the reported products. 
Although the rate of new cases appears to be slowing down, veterinary professionals warn that the issue might be more extensive than reported. 
 

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