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Dog Heart Disease May Be Linked to Potato-Based Pet Foods, FDA Says

Breeds not predisposed to the disease appear to develop it from eating foods with potatoes, lentils and peas.

dog eats dry food

Potato-based pet foods may be causing heart disease in dogs, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned.

The US government agency announced it is investigating a potential link between pet foods containing peas, lentils, potatoes and other legume seeds and instances of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs not typically vulnerable to the disease.

Canine dilated cacdiomypatohy is typically found in larger breeds of dogs like Great Danes, Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards. The medical condition enlarges the heart thereby weakening it and often leads to heart failure.

The FDA said dogs that are not genetically predisposed to the disease, like Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs, all of whom had a diet largely based in pet foods that contained lentils, peas and potatoes, have reportedly had the disease.

“These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease,” said Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance.

“A genetic predisposition for DCM is typically seen in large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. The disease is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels.”

“However, recently reported atypical cases have included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, a Whippet, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog, and Miniature Schnauzers as well as mixed breeds. Early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicate that the impacted dogs consistently ate foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients in their primary source of nutrition for time periods ranging from months to years.”

“That’s why the FDA is conducting an investigation into this potential link. In the meantime, the FDA continues to recommend that changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.”

The FDA is also encouraging pet owners and veterinarians to report DCM cases in dogs who are not predisposed to the disease.

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