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Fri Jun 28, 2019, 09:42 PM

FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Updated June 27, 2019

In July 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating grain-free labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.

Following an update in February 2019 that covered investigative activities through November 30, 2018, this is the FDAs third public report on the status of this investigation.

<snip>Although the FDA first received a few sporadic reports of DCM as early as 2014, the vast majority of the reports were submitted after the agency notified the public about the potential DCM/diet issue in July 2018.<snip>

<snip>Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline reports). Approximately 222 of these were reported between December 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019 (219 canine reports, 3 feline reports). Some of these reports involved more than one affected animal from the same household. The breakdown of reported illnesses below reflects the number of individual animals affected. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. Most dogs in the U.S. have been eating pet food without apparently developing DCM. Its not known how commonly dogs develop DCM, but the increase in reports to FDA signal a potential increase in cases of DCM in dogs not genetically predisposed.<snip>


You have to scroll down a bit to find the list of dog foods in a light green colored bar chart that the FDA names in this situation.

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Reply FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (Original post)
CountAllVotes Jun 2019 OP
hlthe2b Jun 2019 #1
CountAllVotes Jun 2019 #2
mrs_p Jun 2019 #4
mrs_p Jun 2019 #3
hlthe2b Jun 2019 #5

Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2019, 09:48 PM

1. Cause remains unknown, but note Boutique Foods containing exotic proteins likewise appear associated

Clearly, there appears to be breed predilection as well.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 28, 2019, 10:10 PM

2. Many purebred dogs it seems

It does name the breeds.

The usual suspects -- same ones that are hypersensitive to certain flea poisons and ivermectin (heart worm).

Seems the grain free foods they show in that chart are the ones to avoid it seems.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 28, 2019, 10:37 PM

4. In purebreds it is thought to be genetic

And those are mostly large breed dogs. DCM is now being seen in smaller breeds and those are the ones thought to be associated with diet.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 28, 2019, 10:35 PM

3. DCM is thought to have a genetic

Basis in some large breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers. The DCM we (veterinarians) are seeing in smaller breeds is not known to be genetic. It is associated with grain free diets, especially those with peas or legumes. I just had a case of DCM in a small breed dog (Im a pathologist). Although the lesion is the same in both large and small breeds, the underlying cause is thought to be different.

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Response to mrs_p (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 28, 2019, 10:48 PM

5. Yes. I reviewed the FDA case summaries (available at link below)


I was hopeful that there would be some response to taurine supplementation, but the findings have not born out an association with low serum levels, although inactivation or poor absorption is certainly possible.

Given how many weight loss formulations contain legumes, I found it interesting that I did not see any of those formulations specifically identified, Looking only at the non-boutique formulations, I note 29 cases for which Kirkland (Costco) Nature Domain foods were used but the weight loss formulation was the only one not mentioned. Not all were grain-free but I think all or most contained sweet potatoes or other potato formulation. I chose to look at that because Costco sells so much of it and actually does a fairly good job of quality control on their branded products.

That several mixed breeds have likewise been affected on a variety of diets, I really hope FDA is looking at what has changed over time in terms of ingredient sourcing--especially those imported (cough, China). A toxin or other contaminant is certainly possible.

Such a sad situation.

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