Grain free food and heart problems

Epi4Dogs Foundation Inc.’s mission is the advancement of science and education relating to EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), yielding useful insights and positive outcomes in better managing EPI in dogs and cats. Our goals are to support and/or collaborate with veterinary EPI research and researchers, and to promote EPI awareness by educating the general public, pet owners, pet organizations, rescue and shelter organizations, veterinary schools and veterinarians.
Corgeze
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Country: United States
State: Iowa

Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Corgeze » 29 Jun 2019, 13:57

On the national news yesterday and today they have been talking about grain free food causing cardio myelopathy in dogs. This does concern me. With an epi dog what do you do? I feed Fromm Salmon Tunelini which is grain free and my girl does very well on this. I do add a sardine everyday and sometimes eggs. I don't want to go to a raw diet so does a person stick to what I am feeding or go back to regular food.? What is the best thing to do?

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Miss Maddie Moo
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Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Miss Maddie Moo » 29 Jun 2019, 14:56

As you can imagine this has come up alot over the recent months all i can say is that you need to look carefully at the ingredients and read what EPI4dogs stance is on this ,for EPI dogs we still tend to recommend a grain free diet but advise people to be careful that there are proper meat protein rather than veg derived protein :
https://epi4dogs.com/taurine-grainfree-diets/
Maddie DX April 2011 along with low B12 she was feed with a low fibre food below 3% , fat was not restricted ( she wasnt good on pea based foods ) She initially had a course of B12 shots weekly over a period of 6 months and then we used the B12 pills from Chemeyes in the UK . We used Panzym and slowly had to increase the dose as she aged when she was first DX she was 23kg but she gained weight quickly and got back to 33 kg .
Maddie gained her angel wings in Jan 2018 at the age of 10 to a condition unrelated to EPI.
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Jean
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Location: South Liverpool
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Pet name: Kara
My name: Jean

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Jean » 30 Jun 2019, 13:51

i have asked our Executive Research Director & Founder, Olesia, to make comment, its a very difficult situation

Jean

Forum Director
My name is Jean we live in Liverpool in Uk

My Kara born 21 July 2009 diagnosed with EPI by cTLI test August 2010 TLI = <1...folate 14 Cobalamin 408, shot down to 94, b12 injections every other day

Lowest weight 39 pounds

We use Panzym enzymes, Tylan and Chemeyes b12 capsules


Jeanx

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Olesia711
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Location: North Carolina
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Pet name: Izzy

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Olesia711 » 30 Jun 2019, 16:24

I responded a few hours ago with a post that took me almost an hour to write, cover all the details, etc.... and the post disappeared.... SOOOoooooo frustrating.

So.....i will try to recap here:

Think back about 5 or 6 years ago when grain free food was mostly made with sweet potato or potatoes or tapioca.... you didn't hear of DCM being a problem with dogs being fed grain free food.

Fast forward to a few years ago when dog food companies started pushing peas as high protein (more profit for them as peas are much cheaper than sweet potato) and they started swapping out sweet potatoes for peas.. big time....remember ????? Then we started noticing our dogs started having issues again (with SID)

Now fast forward to present time..... all of a sudden you started hearing about a rash of DCM. There is a ton of valid, peer reviewed quantified research that really gets into the weeds about DCM on this website
https://epi4dogs.com/taurine-grainfree-diets/

Unfortunately everyone is so busy nowadays that they don't take the time or don't have the time to read full/detailed valid research- -everyone wants everything in easy to read brief articles or soundbites.... and this is probably why so much information gets skewed or is misleading and the science gets misquoted.

if you really read the actual scientific research it is the lack of high quality protein that appears to be the trigger, not necessarily "grain-free" foods, but rather the ingredients in commercial food that is missing the real nutrition that dogs (and cats) need in their diet..... instead nowadays much commercial pet food is now packed with cheap ingredients that also actually inhibit proper assimilation of the necessary nutrients.

And this happened in a big wave with mostly grain free foods. They changed the ingredient composition with grossly insufficient ingredients :(

The pet food industry started swapping out sweet potatoes, white potatoes, tapioca, or combo's of this & rice with peas and lentils which are much cheaper (but not a useful protein for dogs) and they started doing it in a big way. Now you see multiple cheap ingredients in a food like: peas, pea flour, pea fiber, chick peas, lentils, etc, lessening the quality protein that dogs need...

SO.... what do you do????

We still suggest to go with a low fiber food for EPI dogs... BUT... avoid foods with multiple sources of peas and or lentils.
Also.... avoid foods that have peas/lentils as the first top 3 ingredients (maybe even avoid those with these as the first top 4 ingredients)

Be responsible.... READ THE LABEL and scrutinize the ingredients.... it is all about the ingredients!

The good thing that came about from this is vet researchers started scrambling to find out why DCM started happening more frequently now... we now have many more answers... like even some meats are low proteins and should not be fed long term to a dog, (like lamb -based protein.... not so great after all).

For EPI pets... we have always suggested to look in the grain free food section because that is where you find the most "low-fiber" content food. It is fiber that can interfere with the efficacy of enzymes anywhere from 0%"to 50%. It is LOW FIBER content food that EPI pets usually (but not always) appear to do better with. As it is certain types of fiber that are beneficial and certain types of fiber that hinder our dogs digestion................... (read the fiber page)

If a low fiber food doesn't work for your dog, then try a food with some grain in it like rice. After all... we don't know from one dog to the next how much damage is done in their body with EPI and consequently how well or not well they will be able to tolerate grain with their enzyme intake... ALthough most appear to do much better with low fiber foods....

And last but not least..... remember.... ANYONE can write an article and get it published. Sometimes even research itself is skewed cause a company that has a vested interest in the outcome of the research up-fronts the money for the research.... so always, ALWAYS, look for "peer-reviewed" research. quantified and qualified research. Don't be suckered in by media reports written by some journalist.... or media snippet. Check it out yourself and if reading about research... do check the references (other research) that was used to support that documentation. If your vet recommends something....do your research on this too, as many times vets (and drs) can only go by what THEY are told as they too don't have time to fully research something.........
Olesia, owned by Izzy, a 35lb Spanish Water Dog (SWD), Diagnosed at 1.5 years old - TLI results 1.3, Doing great 12+ years later! Once stable at 3+ months, was able to reduce enzymes to only 1/2 tsp of Enzymes (use EnzymeDiane's 6x) with each cup of food, but as she aged- -had to go back 1 tsp enzymes per cup of food. Fed various grain-free kibble+real meat, 6x pancreatin enzymes from EnzymeDiane., gave 1 tsp of coconut oil / fish oil daily .... until she developed Diabetes and she now cannot tolerate higher fat foods. Currently feed an 80% home-made diet of sweet potato, a lean meat/fish, 1/3 of a raw egg, fat free cottage cheese, fish oil+vitamins and bone meal with 20% Annamaet Lean & Grain Free kibble. This combo has regulated her Diabetes (takes Vetsulin) and EPI and is very well managed. In Feb 2013, Izzy developed a very serious condition called IMHA which she (thankfully) beat and is now in remission. This is when we discovered that she also developed Diabetes & Low Thyroid. Izzy was able to receive excellent care because of the generosity of folks on Epi4dogs! Izzy continues to wake up every day full of joy. I am not a vet. All of my suggestions/recommendations are based on personal experiences, observations, information gleaned from EPI researchers & pet parents alike, and EPI research. Please share with your vet everything we suggest.

Barb
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Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Barb » 01 Jul 2019, 10:32

Thank you so much, Olesia, for this enlightening response to a complicated issue and for the good suggestions as to how to approach the information we read. Everyone is bombarded each day with so much information, as well as misinformation, that it is hard to sort out sometimes. Thank you for giving us a guide.



Barb

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Olesia711
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Posts: 890
Location: North Carolina
Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Pet name: Izzy

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Olesia711 » 01 Jul 2019, 14:59

You are very welcome Barb!

I know what i wrote means more work for everyone: do some investigation yourself, do not always take things at face value,..... but i really hope it gives some guidance to those that want to do the best that they can for their4-legged companions.
Olesia, owned by Izzy, a 35lb Spanish Water Dog (SWD), Diagnosed at 1.5 years old - TLI results 1.3, Doing great 12+ years later! Once stable at 3+ months, was able to reduce enzymes to only 1/2 tsp of Enzymes (use EnzymeDiane's 6x) with each cup of food, but as she aged- -had to go back 1 tsp enzymes per cup of food. Fed various grain-free kibble+real meat, 6x pancreatin enzymes from EnzymeDiane., gave 1 tsp of coconut oil / fish oil daily .... until she developed Diabetes and she now cannot tolerate higher fat foods. Currently feed an 80% home-made diet of sweet potato, a lean meat/fish, 1/3 of a raw egg, fat free cottage cheese, fish oil+vitamins and bone meal with 20% Annamaet Lean & Grain Free kibble. This combo has regulated her Diabetes (takes Vetsulin) and EPI and is very well managed. In Feb 2013, Izzy developed a very serious condition called IMHA which she (thankfully) beat and is now in remission. This is when we discovered that she also developed Diabetes & Low Thyroid. Izzy was able to receive excellent care because of the generosity of folks on Epi4dogs! Izzy continues to wake up every day full of joy. I am not a vet. All of my suggestions/recommendations are based on personal experiences, observations, information gleaned from EPI researchers & pet parents alike, and EPI research. Please share with your vet everything we suggest.

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Jean
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Posts: 565
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Country: United Kingdom - England
Pet name: Kara
My name: Jean

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Jean » 02 Jul 2019, 05:08

very interesting O I will keep that explanation

Jeanx
My name is Jean we live in Liverpool in Uk

My Kara born 21 July 2009 diagnosed with EPI by cTLI test August 2010 TLI = <1...folate 14 Cobalamin 408, shot down to 94, b12 injections every other day

Lowest weight 39 pounds

We use Panzym enzymes, Tylan and Chemeyes b12 capsules


Jeanx

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Olesia711
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Posts: 890
Location: North Carolina
Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Pet name: Izzy

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Olesia711 » 02 Jul 2019, 13:30

Thanks Jean..... interestingly, Taste of the Wild is one of the foods (i guess there was a new/recent study done (which i have not checked the references on...) that gave a list of the top foods used by dogs that developed DCM..... one of them being Taste of the Wild. I personally can attest to the fact that my dogs (EPI + non-EPI) ate this food for years and years....( i just started using different brands the past couple of years due to the fact that i personally am irritated with all the excess amount of peas & lentil ingredients lately) and not one of my 3 dogs developed DCM... and i know of hundreds of people (if not more!) from the Epi4Dogs Forum that have also used the same food for many years.

SO.... my take-away is (If the references do check out from this new publication) that just because a dog food appears to be fed to the dogs that DO develop DCM ..... it does not mean that because you feed that particular food to your dog that your dog will develop DCM.

My thought, as mentioned in my original post, is to read the ingredients and make a reasonable decision on what to feed based on the ingredients.................

ALSO.......i should have mentioned.... that folks need to remember.... that the pet food industry can make a change in the ingredients and not list/publicize it for up to 6 months......so be aware of this itty bitty detail if your dog ever starts feeling/acting sick when you change dog foods.... CALL THE COMPANY directly, don't depend on what you read on the label.....
Olesia, owned by Izzy, a 35lb Spanish Water Dog (SWD), Diagnosed at 1.5 years old - TLI results 1.3, Doing great 12+ years later! Once stable at 3+ months, was able to reduce enzymes to only 1/2 tsp of Enzymes (use EnzymeDiane's 6x) with each cup of food, but as she aged- -had to go back 1 tsp enzymes per cup of food. Fed various grain-free kibble+real meat, 6x pancreatin enzymes from EnzymeDiane., gave 1 tsp of coconut oil / fish oil daily .... until she developed Diabetes and she now cannot tolerate higher fat foods. Currently feed an 80% home-made diet of sweet potato, a lean meat/fish, 1/3 of a raw egg, fat free cottage cheese, fish oil+vitamins and bone meal with 20% Annamaet Lean & Grain Free kibble. This combo has regulated her Diabetes (takes Vetsulin) and EPI and is very well managed. In Feb 2013, Izzy developed a very serious condition called IMHA which she (thankfully) beat and is now in remission. This is when we discovered that she also developed Diabetes & Low Thyroid. Izzy was able to receive excellent care because of the generosity of folks on Epi4dogs! Izzy continues to wake up every day full of joy. I am not a vet. All of my suggestions/recommendations are based on personal experiences, observations, information gleaned from EPI researchers & pet parents alike, and EPI research. Please share with your vet everything we suggest.

Ruby
Member
Posts: 35
Country: United States
State: Florida

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Ruby » 03 Jul 2019, 02:55

Thank you for addressing this issue. I have read through most info you provided. I will check my dogs food and take the information you shared to heart.

Paige's Guardian
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Posts: 45
Country: United States
State: Arizona

Re: Grain free food and heart problems

Post by Paige's Guardian » 04 Jul 2019, 07:51

I have been reading labels for years because I have 1 lab that is allergic to poultry and my Great Dane with malabsorption is allergic to PEAS.

So, in that time trying to avoid PEAS has become more and more difficult. And, with PEAS, the formulas are now including pea fiber, pea protein, pea starch, lentils, chickpeas and beans.....ALL in the same formula. I used to feed TOTW Pacific stream until they added peas. Now, that formula also has lentils. This DCM thing has gotten my attention even though we have avoided peas, we ended up with POTATO ingredients in our dog food selection.

Now we have even more reading of peer-reviewed research. There are several nice articles online from Board Certified Vet Nutritionists who have taken the time to read and digest the information. I have read the information and their opinions on the information. I also joined a closed FB group that is administrated/moderated by vet professionals including vet cardiologists. They have a lot of the research articles listed in their learning section which helped me to digest the information.

With 3 labradors and 1 Great Dane, I am more confused than ever but wading thru the information.
Paige's Guardian (Conny)

Paige, 7-year old Great Dane.

Dx: Malabsorption at age 9 months of age. Low Folate. On plant enzymes for 1.5 years. Experienced bloat 2x and Pancreatitis. Switched to Enzyme Diane. TLI tested but not low.
7/2018-- recovering from another episode of Pancreatitis. cPL >600. Now, starting to need more enzymes with food. Will have lab work again, once cPL is stable then, will repeat TLI.
7/2018--cPL <50 (normal) SID-Tylan 3/8 tsp 2x/day
8/2018---moving towards addition of dry dog food (FirstMate Ocean) and tapering off Tylan.
9/2018--1/8 tsp tylan in am. More dry dog food (FirstMate Ocean)

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