Researchers find that vegetarian ingredients do not increase the risk of gastric dilation-volvulus
Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV), often referred to as bloat, is a serious danger affecting large breed and giant breed dogs. Now, a study published in the January/February 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (JAAHA) shows that the feeding of vegetable-based ingredients in these dogs does not increase their risk of developing GDV.
“For years, it has been proposed that cereal-based and soy protein-based dry foods may contribute to the development of acute GDV in large breed dogs,” says Rhea Morgan, DVM, DACVIM, DACVO, JAAHA editor. “ Until now, there simply has been a lack of studies to test this conclusion.”
The JAAHA prospective study article tested the hypothesis that the risk of GDV increases with an increasing number of soy and cereal ingredients and a decreasing number of animal-protein ingredients among the first four ingredients in dry dog food. Using food label information, the authors conducted a nested case-control study with 85 GDV cases and 194 controls consuming a single brand and variety of dry food. Neither an increasing number of animal-protein ingredients nor an increasing number of soy and cereal ingredients among the first four ingredients significantly influenced GDV risk.
An additional finding of the study was the discovery that dry foods that list fats or oils among the predominant ingredients can trigger a higher incidence of GDV in high-risk dogs. Foods containing an oil or fat ingredient, such as sunflower oil or animal fat, among the first four ingredients were associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk of GDV.
“It is not clear whether a diet low in oil or fat content is protective because a previous study did not show an increase in GDV risk with increasing proportion of calories from fat in the food,” says Malathi Raghavan, DVM, PhD, principal author of the study. “While label ingredients are listed in decreasing order by weight, the actual weight of listed ingredients cannot be compared across different dry foods by studying food label information alone. So whether increasing amounts of dietary fats increase the risk of GDV perhaps by weighing down the stomach and stretching its supportive ligaments is not yet known.”
Joining Raghavan to author the study were Nita W. Glickman, MPH, PhD, and Lawrence T. Glickman, VMD, DrPH, from the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. The following 11 breeds, which are thought to be at elevated risk of GDV, participated in the study: Akita, bloodhound, collie, Great Dane, Irish setter, Irish wolfhound, Newfoundland, rottweiler, Saint Bernard, standard poodle and Weimaraner. The study was funded in part by grants from the Morris Animal Foundation, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, and by the 11 national breed clubs that participated in the study.
GDV is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach becomes enlarged and twists between 90 and 360 degrees. Dogs with GDV have a stomach full of excess gas, fluid or both. The openings at the top and the bottom of the stomach twist, blocking all materials from entering or leaving. As the digestive process continues, the stomach will continue swelling. If left untreated, GDV can result in circulation and breathing problems, infections, bleeding disorders, heart failure and sudden death. Read more about bloat