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Vet Is Telling Me That Grain Free Kibble Causes Heart Disease!

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by Sally395, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    I have a question and I'm new.
    I have recently adopted a 12 year old cat with a heart murmur, grade 2 I think. He has major teeth and nose issues too (snotty nose). His last owner only gave him the basic minimum.

    He was a on Purina Cat Chow Indoor Naturals when I got him 6 months ago and his coat looked terrible. So I switched him to half canned food, mostly blue buffalo and natural balance and half dry kibble because he's hooked on the darn stuff. He is on half Blue Buffalo Kitten Healthy Growth (not grain free?) and half Purina One Grainfree. We just started mixing the grain free in a couple days ago. I know some people frown at the kitten food, but he's skinny and he needs to gain weight and he not a big eater either it seems.

    My vet is saying that they don't like BB and he is also saying that he doesn't like grain free. They tend to recommend the Purina brands with corn other extra stuff in them, which makes me confused. I though corn was bad for cats.

    So please tell what you think. Is the vet right about the brands? Does grain free kibble cause heart disease in cats? Do you and your cats vets differ in opinion in food choices? Thank you!!

  2. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    Right now there's a situation going on with dogs suddenly developing heart problems, and one link seems to be that they're eating grain-free kibble. They haven't entirely sorted it out yet, so some vets are recommending not giving dogs grain-free kibble for now. It has not affected cats at this point.

    I think Blue Buffalo is a bit overpriced for the quality, but it's not bad. If your cat is doing well on it, I don't see a reason to change. I think feeding a wide variety of foods is probably best, to avoid problems caused by one particular food.
    Noirele and FeebysOwner purraised this.

  3. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    Yeah, the Blue Buffalo doesn't seem to be terrible to me or the Purina we just tried. They both have small kibbles, which my cat needs and the Purina grain free has a mix of soft meatier pieces and dryer kibble. So both are better for teeth problems in my mind.
    The vet is new and seems nice, but it seems like we disagree on a lot of stuff food/care related.

  4. cheesycats

    cheesycats TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jan 29, 2017
    I would find a cat only vet. Cats are obligate carnivores whom only need meat organs and bones to live. They don’t need corn, peas, veggies or grains of any kind whatsoever ever.

    The thing with the grain free dog food is these lower quality diets that are mostly pea or legume based are preventing the absorption of taurine when the dogs eat the food. Since dogs and cats are different and absorbs thing differently and there haven’t been any spike in cats with dcm on grain free I wouldn’t worry about it. I would however switch to a better grain free kibble, nature’s variety (has lots of freeze dried raw bits with lots of heart healthy taurine in them), tiki cat, or dr elseys. You’ll pay similar price or cheaper (in some instances) for the same amount of food as the blue and Purina and you’ll feed less. Youll also wanna continue with high meat canned and possibly rotating dry foods if you find a few he really likes. Kibble has no natural source of taurine because the meat in it is cooked at such extreme temperatures not much is left unfortunately and taurine has a very low heat tolerance. The reason I mention this is because even though some grain free dog foods are adding a taurine supplement in doesn’t mean much. Since these diets are still so full of legumes that are blocking taurine absorption adding a supplement isn’t going to make a difference. It will still be blocked from absorbing. So just in case this is something cats could be effected by it’s important to add as much fresh raw meats and variety of foods as possible in my opinion to avoid all chances.
    Sally395 purraised this.

  5. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

    Dec 27, 2018
    I hope you mean ex-vet.

    Also not all dry food is certified to clean teeth, just like how only 3 treats (Greenies) being one of them is actually certified to help.

    Veterinary Oral Health Council

    It’s a myth that all dry food helps clean teeth. The kibbles aren’t big enough to actually scrap tartar off. If oral health is on the mind, you should be using a toothbrush and pet toothpaste and not rely on marketing.

    As mentioned above, get a cat-only vet if possible.

  6. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    That's good to know. The food issue is very confusing, I agree that Purina is a lower quality. The only cat only vet I know of is an hour away. My cat had a wonderful vet he saw with his old owners, but they are two hours away.

  7. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    Well, his teeth are really bad. I'm not in love with the current vet. He has recommended foods, iams and types of purina ect. that I wasn't frilled with. Vet also recommended a full teeth extraction and a nasal, but it's so expensive.
    Would you drive an hour to get a cat only vet?

  8. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    nasal flush

  9. romeocat

    romeocat TCS Member Kitten

    Jan 27, 2019
    Cheesycats is right- cats are obligate carnivores.This is a fact that some vets seem to step around. IMO a slow, gradual change over to a high quality wet food(grainless) would be helpful to any cat. Slowly reduce the kibble(grain-free also) to an occasional "treat".

  10. Sally395

    Sally395 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    Oct 11, 2018
    He originally was switched over all wet 6 months ago, but about a month he started refusing food. I gave him some dry out of being desperate for him to eat.

  11. mizzely

    mizzely TCS Member Super Cat

    Feb 17, 2017
    Another kibble option that goes over well with my kitty is Wysong Epigen 90. Young Again is also another high quality option without a bunch of fillers.

    Lydia went off her food totally for a bit too (due to losing our other cat) and so I had to start experimenting with new foods. Things that really helped her (and might help your cat with dental issues) was adding kitten milk replacer to her pate food to make it a soup, and topping with Freeze Dried foods. Tiki Cat Mousse is also really easy to slurp up.

  12. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

    Dec 27, 2018
    I have driven over an hour with my cat to go to her oncologist, that was a special case however.

    It all depends on your kitty cat and wether they are okay with cars or not. Some love to travel.

    Also for earlier I meant to post this link and not the main site...


    If it’s not in this list, it’s most likely not doing anything to help with your cats teeth and just falls into the myth category.

  13. LTS3

    LTS3 TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    Aug 29, 2014
    It's ok to disagree with the vet about food:agree: The vet may not like your choice of food / brand but you do not need the vet's permission to feed it. It's ok to disagree or question the vet on other aspects of your cat's care, too. If you like the vet otherwise, there is no need to dump him / her and get a new vet.

    There may be a correlation between grain free diets and heart disease in dogs. There is info here:

    A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients
    FDA Investigating Potential Connection Between Diet and Cases of Canine Heart Disease
    marmoset purraised this.

  14. amethyst

    amethyst TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Nov 25, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Honestly unless the vet is a cat nutritionist (most are not) I pretty much disregard their ideas on the right food if there is not a good reason. One vet I went to seemed convinced that the only good food for my cats is the ones they sell in the vet office. (You know the ones they get paid to sell... :rolleyes3:). He was good with the cat but terrible people skills, he treated me like I was an idiot, or perhaps like someone new to owning cats. (I've had cats for over 30 years).

  15. DreamerRose

    DreamerRose TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 11, 2015
    Naperville, IL
    Just to cover all bases, taurine is added to Temptations and Dentalife treats. Dentalife has large porous treats that the cats have to crunch to eat. Mine haven't been eating them long to tell whether they help or not.

  16. FelisCatus

    FelisCatus RIP </3 Alpha Cat

    Dec 27, 2018
    DentaLife is one of the other treats endorsed by the VOHC, so it should help with cleaning tartar, yes.

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