Grain Free Food Update

Due to the recent article (https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy)  listing at least 16 name brand dog foods that have been linked to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) we would like to address some concerns that many of you may have.  Here are some facts we know, and some steps to take if you are concerned about your pet:

There's been an increase in reports of cases of non-breed associated DCM, in the past several years. This correlates with an increase in pets being fed BEG (from Boutique pet stores, made with Exotic proteins/ingredients, and Grain-free) diets. Some of the dogs in these cases have recovered (at least to some extent), when they were put back on a more traditional balanced diet made by a large, reputable company such as Hill's, Royal Canin, or Purina.

We do not know what about BEG diets might be contributing to DCM. Very few dogs have had taurine deficiencies. We DO know that there was never any conclusive medical evidence to support feeding dogs grain-free diets. The grain-free movement was a marketing technique.

Pet food labeling rules are fairly loose, and the ingredients listed on any pet food bag can be very misleading. Treats, add-ins, and supplements are minimally regulated, and can be even more misleading than foods.

Detailed information on labeling is available at:

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-food-labels-general#Ingredient

Another common misconception is "food allergies" in pets. True food allergies (causing chronic year-round vomiting, diarrhea, and/or skin problems), are extremely uncommon in dogs. If your pet has seasonal or chronic skin problems or vomiting/diarrhea, we encourage you to make an appointment to discuss these issues.

At Metropolitan Veterinary Center, we recommend starting with an exam and discussion on diet with one of our veterinarians. We can run full bloodwork, urinalysis with a CardioPet Pro BNP Tests. We can do chest x-rays, test your dog's taurine levels, but even if these tests are negative, it does not mean for sure that your pet does not have heart disease. The only way to know for sure if your dog has any degree of DCM is to get an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) done by a board certified veterinary cardiologist that we would give referral information for a specialty hospital. If you are interested in cardiac health testing available at MVC, we recommend scheduling an appointment to discuss the options.

We also want to state that none of the doctors at Metropolitan Veterinary Center are compensated or offered any personal incentive by pet food companies such as Hill's, Royal Canin, or Purina.

Please contact our office today to set up an appointment if you have any additional questions or concerns about your pet (312) 583-1921.

For more detailed information please see our orginal blog here: 

https://www.metrovetchicago.com/services/diet-dogs-health/blog/grain-free-pet-food-frenzy