pet health

Vets Alarmed by Cases of Dog Heart Problems Linked to Grain-Free Food

Exotic ingredients and boutique brands may also be linked to the health issues

Tim Graham/Getty Images

Debbie Turner remembers the shock when a veterinary specialist said her beloved dog, Kanga Lu, had severe heart damage after the 6-year-old pup had been experiencing symptoms like fatigue, breathing problems and fainting spells.

Turner is one of a growing list of pet owners whose healthy-sounding dog food may have somehow led to a serious heart problem in their pets called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), NBC News reports.

The Food and Drug Administration last year announced a possible link between the condition, which can cause heart failure, and grain-free pet foods, which replace grains with ingredients like peas, lentils or potatoes.

By April, the agency said that it had received 524 reports of 560 dogs and 14 cats diagnosed with DCM that appeared to be related to diet. In June, the FDA took the unusual step of listing the 16 brands of dog food under investigation.

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