Veterinarian Concerned About Organic, Exotic Dog Food Trends

June 11, 2018, 10:51 am EST | Share:

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (ERICA LUNSFORD, WTAT-TV) — With the trend of organic or gluten-free foods on the rise in humans, many feel their pets should be on the same diet.

But veterinarians say a certain heart disease is also on the rise and these pet diets could be to blame.

While looking over and comparing cases, Dr. Jake Jacobson, a Veterinary Cardiologist at Veterinary Specialty Care in Mount Pleasant, says some pet foods may actually cause heart disease.

“Heart disease can come in many different varieties in older animals,” he said. “One of the forms of heart disease we’re talking about is called dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Jacobson says there has been an increase in this type of heart disease, otherwise known as DCM, which occurs when the walls of the heart get really thin, and the heart chambers get dilated, slowing the pumping function of the heart.

“Up until kind of recently, what we noticed was a surge in typical breeds, but also atypical breeds, that were getting this disease,” he explained. “It seemed to be associated with this surge in diet trends and fads, boutique, grain-free, exotic ingredient diets. So, that is currently under investigation.”

Jaconson believes dogs may not be getting important amino acid they need to strengthen the heart.

“Taurine is an amino acid that they need, it’s a building block for the heart muscle, and we’re not sure if these diets have a deficiency in them. Kangaroo, Bison and Venison, they’re just not well-studied proteins to the point where we know how much Taurine they’ve got.”

In the meantime, he recommends sticking to more reputable companies for pet food, like Hills, Purina and Royal Canine.

Symptoms of DCM include lethargy, fainting, and trouble breathing.