After-Hours Urgent Care for Dogs and Cats

Diets and Heart Disease

*Any pet owner noticing signs of heart problems – such as: coughing, breathing changes, irregular heartbeat, or exercise intolerance –  or having any concerns about their pet should contact their primary veterinarian, or PriorityVet after-hours, at their earliest convenience for a thorough evaluation.*

Please read the linked article regarding certain BEG (Boutique, Exotic and Grain-Free) diets.  These diets have recently been definitively linked to a large number of cases of heart disease in dogs.

FDA Report on Diets and Dilated Cardiomyopathy

The historically uncommon heart disease is called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a life-threatening disease of heart muscle.  The cause of DCM has been linked to a deficiency in the amino acid Taurine historically (in cats) and currently in a large number of dogs, especially Golden Retrievers.  Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship of the diets to DCM has not been established, the reports are certainly compelling and incriminating. Take note that certain breeds – Cocker Spaniel, Doberman, Golden Retrievers and Boxers – already predisposed to the disease, may be at an even greater risk of developing DCM.  As an added complexity, the disease can only be definitively diagnosed by advanced testing with an Echocardiogram or EKG and/or consultation with a veterinary cardiologist. Testing for Taurine deficiency may or may not be of value but should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

PriorityVets’ recommendation for hypoallergenic diets has always been based on the selection of those with a single novel meat protein source.  This recent research is showing that certain food may not be nutritionally sound for pets, perhaps even harmful.  The facts clearly demonstrate that, when indicated, the more closely regulated, scientifically-formulated, nutritionally-balanced and tested diets available by veterinary prescription-only may be worth the additional cost – perhaps priceless.  As such, when indicated, PriorityVet is now only recommending prescription diets that are dispensed through the pets’ primary care veterinarian.  

We strongly recommend that anyone feeding any of the listed diets contact their primary veterinarian, or contact PriorityVet if we previously recommended their use, for further direction.  Recommendations and instructions regarding a change in your pets’ diet must be managed on an individual basis. Regardless, making a slow change over several weeks to a new diet is always recommended to prevent gastrointestinal upset.

Thank you,

The Doctors and Staff of PriorityVet