Journal examining food-associated canine megaoesophagus

Nutrition

Journal article published examining food-associated canine megaoesophagus

At Mars Petcare, we’re dog lovers, and our teams are obsessed with learning as much as we can to offer dogs the best life possible. 

Investing in research for over fifty years has led to big scientific discoveries that has taught us the important role nutrition can play in helping pets live a long and healthy life. 

But there are still a lot of mysteries out there. This month, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association looked at the curious case of what’s known as acquired idiopathic megaoesophagus (AIME).  AIME is when the esophagus gets larger and loses mobility, making it hard for food to travel down into the stomach. It’s more common for puppies to be born with megaoesophagus than to develop it later in life, and there’s not a lot of existing science to explain how dogs acquire it.  

This journal article looks at two outbreaks of megaoesophagus that seem to have a connection to the food the dogs were eating.  Before this investigation, food has never been associated with AIME.  The experts who wrote the article looked at the two outbreaks and examined the recipe, production, supply chain, distribution, and the dogs themselves, and concluded that there was a strong association with the food, but it was likely to be a multifactorial cause. So it could be a combination of factors like genetic predisposition, immune sensitivity or allergy, or kibble texture that sadly led these dogs to get sick where the vast majority of dogs who ate the food did not. 

While it’s disappointing that a root cause hasn’t been identified, the work doesn’t stop here. We’re going to keep encouraging pet food companies and research institutions to share information about pet food safety so that we can continue to raise the bar for nutrition around the world.  This peer reviewed article is open access, so that everyone can read it.  To read the journal article, please click the link below.