Grain free food and DCM enlarged heart

Discussion in 'General Mastiff Discussion' started by kingmark, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    Hello to you all. Recently there were new reports about how grain free food with peas,potato,lentils can cause enlarged heart in dogs and in the end heart i was wondering what do you think about that? Especially you who feed grain free diets with that ingredients? I am a bit panicking i must say
  2. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I have boxers, so DCM has been an issue that I have followed for many years. Boxers, however, are one of the breeds where a genetic component can be an issue. This study is not about genetic DCM, but I've still been reading everything I can because it seems to me that since I have a breed where this is already a risk genetically, I should do everything I can not to increase their risks of non-genetic DCM. If that makes sense.

    So ... this is not really a new discussion. It's been long known that there is a direct correlation between DCM in cats and taurine deficiency and many years ago there was discussion on my boxer board about the possible link between taurine and our boxer DCM. There was a study done several years ago about beet pulp in food having an effect on the absorption of taurine in dogs. I'll link that article below. The thing is that the current studies don't really have the numbers needed to make a definitive decision. Only some of the dogs not genetically predisposed to DCM were deficient in taurine. Some improved with supplementation.

    "Currently, it seems that there may be two separate problems occurring – one related to taurine deficiency and a separate and yet unknown problem (with a third group of dogs likely having DCM completely unrelated to diet). Identifying the potential dietary factors contributing to DCM in the non-taurine deficient dogs is more difficult, but the FDA and cardiologists are hard at work trying to solve it. What seems to be consistent is that it does appear to be more likely to occur in dogs eating boutique, grain-free, or exotic ingredient diets." - Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN (article linked below)

    Where does this leave me? I'm not really sure. I don't see a need to freak out. I will analyze my food ingredients, yet again, and may change if there are certain things that I think might best be avoided until more facts are forth coming. I don't feel that there is enough information to necessarily switch from a food that my dogs are doing well on. Particularly since it's taken me years to find something that works for them. (One in particular is approaching 9 and none of my boxers have lived beyond 10 1/2, so I don't want to start experimenting with his food now since he's showing no symptoms of DCM.) Not every dog eating grain free/exotic protein/boutique foods ends up with DCM. Most don't. Which indicates, to me, that there are other factors involved.

    I'm still researching and forming my opinions. I'll include some links below that you may find helpful.

    Fact Sheet on DCM. Everyone should read this, imo. Dilated Cardiomyopathy.pdf - This is a page with several articles, some general, about nutrition

    Sheila Braund likes this.
  3. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    BOXERGIRL! You Are the Forum's Most Beloved Treasure! The depth and passion of your concern for our beloved pets is SO OBVIOUS. In times of fear and pain, I would eagerly seek your counsel...I TRUST YOU...I TRUST YOUR THOROUGH RESEARCH.... We are so blessed to have you here.

    Thank You! Thank you for your excellent research and depth of knowledge, thank you for your determination to provide the best information for us. Where our dear Mastiffs are concerned, we need a steadying voice, and you, my dear, steady us in the storm.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  4. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Ditto Bailey's Mom's Comment... You're the BEST, Boxergirl!

    From the stuff I've read on the grain-free/taurine/heart health issue, I've learned:

    1. Dogs can produce their own taurine, given other amino acid building blocks (i.e. proteins). This is unlike cats... cats get their taurine directly from their food.

    2. Legumes (and to a lesser extent potatoes) don't contain the right building blocks to make taurine, and also interfere with the ability of a dog's system to synthesize taurine, and therefore act as an anti-nutrient when it comes to taurine, potentially leading to taurine deficiency.

    3. If your food looks to have lots of legumes (peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, etc) in high places of the ingredient list (or in multiple places, spread out), they are counting as both fiber AND protein in the ultimate nutritional analysis, displacing complete proteins, like meat. These are the foods that might cause problems. But, as Boxergirl's posts says - there may be contributing factors to why some dogs develop heart problems beyond just the food.

    I'm once again very glad I feed a fresh, home-prepared, raw diet. I add in heart meat (high in taurine) a few times a month now. I find beef hearts at the local H-Mart (Asian grocery).

    When I was feeding my cat raw (she's since passed... at 18 yrs old... not always fed "good" food, either)... I added a taurine powder supplement to her food, since taurine is one of those compounds that tends to oxidize quickly.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  5. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. I appreciate both of you too. We're all here to help each other.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  6. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    Thanks all for your rich ressearch. I am little panicker when my dogs health is ,so i switched her to cheaper food which contains, corn and some other grains but still plenty of meat so we will see how it goes. Tonka was never picky eater, she vacums every kind of food so we dont have problem about switching foods. The reason of my sudden switch and panicking is that my previous boerboel died at the age of 3 from heart fail and he was eating orijen and acana which contains mentioned peas and lentils from when i got him ,so who knows what happend is it related so i am playing safe this time although maybe is already to late :( i will have to go to the vet and test her heart or however they are testing for DCM . As i read that if you catch DCM at early stage you could cure it or give your dog much better life. Boxer i didnt have time to read article but i will for sure and of course all your opinions and advices are welcomed.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  7. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

  8. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    Hey thanks for the info ,i didnt read all first one its a long text and i dont know what to think anymore , i know its not all white and black but i am affraid that i dont loose another dog to DCM as i suspect that my first boerboel died from that :( i could not cope with that anymore so i am little bit panicking about all that situation. I know that grain free is in general better because of carbs but finding grain free food without peas potato and other mentioned things is a hard mission. I am curently giving her low budget food till i found better one. What do you think about all that know when you did read much more information? What should i do? I am all ears about any suggestions.
  9. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I strongly encourage you to read all the available literature. I know it's a lot of text and there are differing opinions, but right now there is no definitive answer and all we can do is keep up with the information available to us. We all need to educate ourselves to the best of our ability so we can make choices that we are comfortable with.

    Did your vet actually tell you that you lost your first boy to DCM? DCM is not the same as just losing a dog to a heart issue. It's actually not very common at all unless your breed is genetically predisposed to the condition. There are many other heart issues and DCM is only one of them. I understand being worried and cautious, but if you educate yourself and know the early signs and symptoms I think you can breathe a little easier. Have you spoken to your vet about your concerns and requested testing so you have a baseline going forward?
  10. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    Hey a bit late :) no one didnt tell me anything as i didnt have autopsy done on him i was to much broken that they cut him :( i got him cremated and know he goes everywhere with me..i thought about dcm and was reading about it, and it was my idea and now i am fully convinced that it was DCM as i have researched more and saw other peoples stories and found something astonishing that the brand acana in which i trusted the most was the culprit for DCM :( i was again broken as my two boerboels were on acana since day one and in fact i killed him :( there is explosion of dogs around the world that are getting DCM because of dog foods they were eating, its not unconfrimed anymore so i will suggest to anyone that is feeding acana to stop today every ounce matters, research it there are facebook pages on DCM and peoples strugle with their young but sick dogs :( it isnt only acana its many popular brands . And there are barely simptomes some get them before its too late as and my dog didnt have any sign of DCM but collapsed out of the blue. I hope i really helped someones dog with this because people need to know.
  11. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Kingmark, will you please share the articles/studies you've found confirming that it's the dog food only and not other contributing factors? I've kept up with this and I am still seeing more questions than answers, so I would appreciate any additional information you can share. I am very sorry you lost your dog so suddenly. I know how difficult that is. Since you are so concerned, with good reason, have you had Tonka's taurine levels tested? What food have you decided to go with?

    I strongly suggest that everyone revisit the links posted above as well as the ones below, which are more current. Be informed. Knowledge is power.
  12. Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave Well-Known Member

    I feed my pooches Tractor Supply "For health" lamb and rice, "For Health Grain-Free" beef and potato, and I usually mix in Purina One or Rachel Ray Nutrish Beef. So it is a combination....I sure wouldn't want to make my dogs sick. Am I doing the wrong thing????
  13. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Pastor Dave, please take a look at all the links. I know it's a lot of information, but everyone needs to read it and make what they feel is the best decision for their dogs. Speak to your vet. Make sure that the information you read is from a responsible and reputable source.
  14. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

  15. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    Sorry for late response, i dont remember articles that i came across but there is good facebook group taurine defficent it is massive info page and i dont like to read it as it breaks my heart watching so much dogs getting sick and dying :( i have been at the vet with tonka and they didnt done her nothing but dirrected me to full cardio exam with cardio experts and we are planing to go soon. I had her on medium range food wich had grain since i stoped feeding her acana and that was some half year ago, and just today i bought her new food applaws adult large breed ,it has peas in it which i was trying to avoid but most important thing is that it has taurine in itself and not many food have taurine in it so i am trying to minilaze damage. Maybe i am panic but i cant lose her because of stupid thing like food as i really belive that all that is happening with dogs is food related. Try that fb group and tell me what you think.

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