Pet foods high in legume and potato ingredients linked to heart disease in dogs: FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a potential link between heart disease in dogs and pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients.

“We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients,” said Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance.

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“These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease.”

Canine DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and often results in congestive heart failure. In cases that are not linked to genetics, heart function may improve with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification — if caught early.

Some breeds, including Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers are genetically predisposed to the disease. It is less commonly found 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.

The FDA continues to recommend that changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.

Laura Rance-Unger / Food in Canada

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