Cases Reported To Fda
For the purposes of this investigation, the FDA defines a case as an illness reported to FDA involving a dog or cat that includes a diagnosis of DCM. Many of the reports submitted to the FDA included extensive clinical information, including echocardiogram results, cardiology/veterinary records, and detailed diet histories. The numbers below only include reports in which the dog or cat was diagnosed with DCM by a veterinarian and/or veterinary cardiologist. We did not include in these numbers the many general cardiac reports submitted to the FDA that did not have a DCM diagnosis. However, this case information is still valuable, as it may show heart changes that occur before a dog develops symptomatic DCM. . 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.
What Is Causing This Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Taurine absorption and its synthesis from methionine and cysteine along with its excretion are being looked at as potential causes but other dietary factors are also being assessed. The amounts of protein, fat, moisture, crude fiber, total dietary fiber, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber, total starch, and resistant starch are also being looked at.
Necropsies of deceased dogs from these cases are also being reviewed along with a multitude of laboratory testing for surviving dogs and questions for pet owners. It is unknown whether or not there is a causative link to the grain-free diets identified in this investigation or if it is coincidental. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role as well, but the investigation is ongoing.
Since so many of the foods that were reported contained peas, lentils, potatoes and/or sweet potatoes, it is being speculated that one or more of these ingredients may be of concern. This is still only a speculation, since nothing has been confirmed.
It is also possible that an increased awareness of the disease may be playing a role in more cases being diagnosed and reported.
The Fda And Other Researchers Are Investigating The Link Between Grain
For the past two years, the FDA has been investigating a strange development in dog health. The agency started hearing reports that more pups than usual were developing a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart to weaken and grow larger.
Typically, veterinarians see this issue in large dogs. Some breeds, such as Doberman pinschers, Great Danes and others, are genetically predisposed to the condition, which slowly saps the heart of its ability to efficiently pump blood. This can lead to fainting, weakness or death. But recently, dogs that arent considered at risk of the heart disease, like golden retrievers, started showing up to veterinarian offices with enlarged hearts. Veterinarian providers began talking amongst themselves and observed that some of these dogs were eating grain-free food kibble and soft canned food formulated without corn, wheat and soy. It begs the question: Could these heart troubles stem from a dogs diet?
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The Evolution Of ‘puppy Dog Eyes’
Generally when dogs develop a food allergy, its to a protein, Gelzer said. So, veterinarians will often switch to a food with a different protein source to treat the problem.
One of the big problems with DCM is that dogs dont show symptoms of the disease lethargy, exercise intolerance, shortness of breath until theyre very sick, Gelzer said.
She points to the example of clients who came in with a very sick dog that was diagnosed with DCM. The family had a second dog that seemed healthy, but because both were eating a grain-free dog food, Gelzer suggested bringing in the second dog to be checked.
What we dont know is if used in these diets in place of grains are causing the problem. Its also possible that could be some kind of toxin.
When we evaluated that dog, it also had decreased heart function, but it was still subclinical, she said. The dog didnt look abnormal because it was at an early stage.
Heres What Caring Owners Need To Know Based On Currently Available Research:
- Some of the latest dog food formulations may not be balanced with regard to amino acids or may not be wellabsorbed by the pet. But it is not clear whether taurine deficiency causes DCM or if the two things occur coincidentally or whether DCM may be related to other dietary components.
- Some breeds may be more susceptible to nutritional changes such as taurine deficiency, and this may suggest breedrelated differences in metabolism.
- Dogs with DCM that have been eating diets described above, may reverse the condition if it is caught early. They may also respond to dietary changes and taurine supplementation regardless of whether or not they have normal levels of taurine in their blood.
People with dogs they suspect have dietassociated DCM should save food samples and product labels of all dietary components they are feeding said Nelson. This includes the main ration, as well as all treats, chews and supplements.
With complete information in hand, your veterinarian or the owner can report such cases to the FDA . In all cases, your veterinarian can best help your pet.
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Does Orijen Dog Food Contain Taurine
Is Orijen dog food bad for dogs? Lets Wrap It up. In case your pup isnt a picky eater, Orijen dog food is an excellent choice for their diet. It has formulas for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. Their recipes are made of high-quality, palatable ingredients, rich in protein, mostly from meat. What is low
Update 6/29/1: Top Pet Food Brands Associated With Dcm Cases
UPDATE 8/5/18:NBC did a report . The veterinarian they filmed specifically said dogs need a GRAIN-based dog food. Sadly, people are being scared off ALL grain-free foods and back to GMO, pesticide-soaked, corn-based foods.
Weve never advocated grain-free food, since most of it simply replaces grains with high-carb starchy vegetables, like potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, and legumesand carbs are the problem. Make sure your dogs food contains mostly meat and not half a dozen vegetables or fractions that add up to the largest proportion of the food.
UPDATE 8/8/18:The FDAs characterization of boutique foods is apparently way off the mark. Major pet food companies are involved: they either make grain-free diets themselves, or theyve bought out small manufacturers . Specific brands that have been implicated include : Acana , California Natural , Merrick , Nutrisource .
UPDATE 8/10/18 The FDA has released a Questions and Answers post for consumers. They revealed that their initial report involved 30 dogs and 7 cats. They never mentioned cats before. They now have 150 confirmed reports of affected dogs, and an unknown number that are being examined. With growing public awareness, there are undoubtedly hundreds of reports pending, but not all will be confirmed as taurine-deficiency DCM. It is possible for a dog to have DCM with completely normal taurine levels, and some dogs with low taurine levels will not develop DCM.
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Response To Industry News About Canine Heart Disease
Dear Fromm Retailer,
As you may be aware, the FDA issued an alert on July 12, 2018 in regards to the potential connection between diet and cases of canine heart disease.
In a separate, but related matter, University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is conducting a study to better understand the impact of Taurine-deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Golden Retrievers. On July 19, 2018 UC Davis issued a press release referencing the above study.
Based on the FDA alert and the summary of the ongoing studies there seems to be a focus on taurine and the potential link between diet and DCM.
Recently, media outlets have published headlines indicating a link between grain-free diets and DCM. This has caused many consumers to express concern about the safety of grain-free diets in general. While the headlines focus on grain-free and heart disease, the studies are specifically researching how dogs metabolize taurine and the impact of taurine on heart health.
It is important to note that Fromm has supplemented grain-free and grain-inclusive diets with taurine for several years. While we carefully watch for further FDA notifications and monitor the results of the various studies, we want our retailers and consumers to feel confident knowing Fromm, has and will continue to supplement recipes with taurine.
News: Fda Reports Some Dog Foods May Cause Heart Disease
Is grain-free dog food linked to heart disease in dogs?
Thats what the Food And Drug Administration is trying to find out.
The FDA is investigating reports of an increase in a deadly heart condition in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy .
Whats puzzling the FDA is that DCM is showing up in breeds that arent usually genetically prone to the disease. So theyre looking for other possible causes of the disease
and theyre targeting grain-free dog foods.
If your dog eats ANY commercial food, grain-free or not, youre going to want to read this.
Does The Research Point To Grain
Unlike the genetic form of DCM, the recent DCM cases have affected a wide range of dog ages and breeds, from puppies to older dogs. The most commonly reported breeds with DCM have included the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and mixed breeds.
When the FDA reviewed dietary factors, they found that over 90 percent of dogs with DCM were being fed diets listed either as grain-free or zero grain.
Instead of grains, these diets contained peas and/or lentils as their main ingredients. A lower proportion of the diets also listed potatoes or sweet potatoes as a top ingredient.
The researchers examined many other components in the diets, such as protein source, minerals, carbohydrates and starches, but none of these other components trended with disease development.
It is also worth noting that according to the FDA, the diets of dogs in reported cases had high concentrations/ratios of certain ingredients such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and/or various types of potatoes, which is typical of grain-free diets, but diets that contained grains were also represented among these cases.
What Does The Latest Research Tell Us About Grain
So far, we havent established the exact cause of what appears to be diet-related DCM, but the latest research is pointing to the possibility of grain-free diets as a factor. Studies have shown that many dogs given a diagnosis of DCM will often have an improvement in cardiac function, with a diet switch to a grain-inclusive food.
Grain-free foods often include a relatively high proportion of peas, lentils, legumes and/or potatoes to balance the diet. Whether these ingredients or the lack of grain is the cause is yet to be established.
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Recommendations To Give Clients
Stern said veterinarians should educate clients about their dogs diet. He also cautions that dogs can develop DCM from nutritional origins and not be taurine-deficient. Taurine supplements can also mask the problem and lead to a delay of an important diagnosis.
But when the problem is related to taurine deficiency, says Stern, it may not be that the diet is grain-free or legume-heavy but that ingredients are interacting to reduce availability of taurine or that other nutrients are missing or interacting in the formulation.
For example, while a lot of pet owners may not want to see byproducts in their dogs food, often the byproducts contain organ meat like heart and kidney, which are good sources of taurine.
For more information on selecting foods for your pet, Stern recommends that clients consider using the recommendations set by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association for selecting a healthy dog food.
Stern says the UC Davis clinic continues to treat patients with DCM. Since the study, we have collected many many more cases and we continue to diagnose and treat these patients today.
Co-authors of the study include Andrea Fascetti and Jennifer Larsen, veterinary nutritionists with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Joanna Kaplan, a veterinary cardiology resident in the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
What Is Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
DCM is a genetic condition diagnosed in large- and giant-breed dogs, such as Dobermans, Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, and boxers, that causes heart muscle weakening and enlargement and can lead to congestive heart failure and death. The first sign of DCM is often a heart murmur or arrhythmia your family veterinarian hears during a routine physical exam. As the disease progresses, your dog may display the following signs:
- Exercise intolerance
- Increased breathing rate and effort
- Abdominal enlargement due to fluid accumulation
Regular check-ups are crucial to allow your veterinarian to catch this disease in the early stages and to promptly treat your dogs heart condition. If your pet has been eating a boutique, exotic, or grain-free diet, schedule an appointment for an evaluation of her heart function.
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What Foods Are Possibly Involved
91 percent of the reported cases involved grain-free foods, 93 percent of the dog foods that were reported contained peas and/or lentils in their ingredient lists, and 42 percent contained potatoes or sweet potatoes. Sixteen brands have been identified in 10 or more cases and the great majority were in a dry kibble form. Five brands, in particular, account for 48 percent of the cases, however some of these dogs were eating more than one brand of food.
What About Supplementation
If an animal has a heart condition and taurine might be a factor, consider suggesting a taurine supplement to a diet. For cats the literature suggests about 75-100 mg of taurine daily. For dogs, the levels are typically extrapolated, but it is difficult to overdose . Literature references about 500 mg for a 30lb dog up to three times a day as a good place to start. It can take several months to see cardiac improvement, but if a taurine deficiency was at the heart of the problem, it may fully resolve with supplementation. Use organic and well-known sources.
Certainly breeds predisposed to Dilated Cardiomyopathy that can be more strongly affected by taurine deficiency might benefit from added taurine either in foods or supplements. These breeds include Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, American Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, and other large breed dogs.
Consider using freeze dried heart treats to help increase amino acids, including taurine.
Dogs with urate or cystine stones should consider taurine supplementation because the body uses these as building blocks for taurine synthesis.
Finally, we must remember that food is medicine. While a good diet cannot cure all ills, a poor diet will always create problems. With proper nutrition, there is a strong tendency for health.
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Should I Be Avoiding Grain
With the rise of grain-free dog foods, veterinarians started to notice a worrying trend dogs eating these diets were found to be suffering from a rare heart condition. This illness, called Dilated Cardiomyopathy , causes the heart muscle to weaken and can lead to sudden death. It is traditionally only seen in a handful of breeds including the Doberman Pinscher, the Great Dane, the Boxer, and the Cocker Spaniel.
In 2018, an investigation was launched to figure out exactly what was causing this heart condition in the wider population of dogs. The fact that many DCM patients were consuming grain-free food pushed researchers to pursue diet as a potential cause.
What Is Canine Heart Disease Or Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a type of canine heart disease that affects the heart muscle. The hearts of dogs with DCM have a decreased ability to pump blood, which often results in congestive heart failure.
Some breeds, especially large and giant breeds, have a predisposition to DCM. These breeds include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, and Saint Bernards. While DCM is less common in medium and small breeds, English and American Cocker Spaniels are also predisposed to this condition.
The reports submitted to the FDA span a wide range of breeds, including many without a known genetic predisposition. When early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicated that recent, atypical cases in breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus all consistently ate grain alternatives in their diets, the FDA took notice.
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Fda Finds A Link Between Grain
In 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration released a statement regarding a heart condition called canine dilated cardiomyopathy . In an investigation looking at more than 500 cases of DCM, the common denominator was that these dogs were fed grain-free pet foods.
The problem, based on todays current knowledge, is that grain-free pet foods rely on lentils, peas, and potatoes to replace grain. They lack a key ingredient that cats and dogs require, taurine. Taurine is an amino acid used in the production of protein. To date, researchers are uncertain as to why exactly there is a link between these factors and DCM.
In addition to diet, they found that genetics and breed are also factors in which pets develop heart disease.
Is My Dogs Food Heart Safe
- Grain-free dog foods typically contain large levels of legumes, lentils, and potatoes, which may be connected to these cases of DCM. If your dog is currently on a grain-free diet, it may be time to switch them onto a more balanced diet containing high-quality meats, starches, and vegetables.
- Dont automatically avoid dog foods with peas, legumes, or potatoes. Studies have shown that in reasonable quantities, these foods are not only non-toxic and safe for your dog to eat, they provide essential nutrients.
- Look for balance in your dogs food and check out the manufacturer for their nutritional expertise and tight quality control standards.
- The recipe is more important than the brand. Some companies will swap out meat for cheaper, plant protein alternatives, but many companies still offer meat-rich, high-quality foods for your dog. Take a look at the individual recipes, rather than focusing on the brand name when looking for the best quality food for your pup.
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