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16 Brands Of Dog Food Linked To Canine Heart Disease, FDA Declares

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating 500 reports that linked pet foods marketed as “grain-free” products to canine heart disease. Majority of the cases involved dogs, but cats were also found to suffer from the condition.

Last week, FDA spokesperson Lindsay Haake identified 16 dog food brands that contained ingredients linked to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (CDM). These ingredients were labeled “grain-free” by their manfacturers.

"We're not saying don't use these brands, we're just telling pet owners to work directly with their veterinarians because we're still investigating," Haak said in a statement published on the FDA’s official website.

The brands identified in the statement were Arcana, Zignature, Taste of the Wild, 4Health, Earthborn Holistic, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Domain, Fromm, Merrick, California Natural, Natural Balance, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, NutriSource, Nutro and Rachael Ray Nutrish.

Since July 2018, the FDA already warned about the possible dangers of feeding pets with dog food made with lentils, peas and potatoes. According to a report published in NBC News, Dr. Martine Hartogensis claimed that the agency initially thought the canine disease was caused by a nutrition deficiency. Later on, the FDA noticed that only those who ate products with these plant-based ingredients developed CDM.

Veterinarians, nutritionists and product safety specialists then convened for over a year to determine the correlation of CDM to canine diet, as per a released statement published on the Pet Food Institute. The institute also acknowledged that the FDA’s findings may be correct.

Veterinary cardiologist and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Anna Gelzer admitted that experts like her find it difficult to detect CDM since the disease does not show symptoms such as lethargy, shortness of breath and exercise intolerance. This makes it more challenging for them to assess the pets’ conditions before symptoms start to show and track the pets’ activities to properly examine the probable causes that lead to CDM.

Furthermore, experts remain uncertain as to whether the pets’ consumption of grain ingredients in these dog foods is what lead to the CDM cases, or if it's something else entirely.

Gleizer also noted that German Shepherds and Great Danes are the ones who usually suffer from the disease. She, the veterinarians and experts from the FDA found it odd that golden, mixed and Labrador retrievers including smaller breeds were also affected.

Gleizer suggested that determining the proximate cause of CDM may only be resolved by conducting further scientific evaluation since it cannot be accomplished by mere observation due to the disease’s lack of symptoms.

Dogs Poppy Pederson, daughter of Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gets a kiss from their dog Blue during the annual Pups at the Park promotion day at Dodger Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

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