16 dog food brands associated with Canine Heart Disease cases, FDA reports

After a yearlong investigation, the Food and Drug Administration of USA has linked connections between dog food brands and cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. While the number of associated cases stands to be 500, the brands under the radar equal to 16, reported the administration. However, in defense, the food brands have fought back with reports that show all clear results and thus stating the FDA’s investigations as misleading and faulty.  

Congestive Heart Failure

Last July, The FDA had raised an alarm among pet parents with regards to the increased number of canine heart disease cases and its connection with “grain-free” food brands. It did not specify any brands, rather it pointed out to those products which had peas, lentils legume seeds and potatoes the main ingredients in their food. “We know it can be devastating to suddenly learn that your previously healthy pet has a potentially life-threatening disease like dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Because the FDA has “not yet determined the nature of this potential link, we continue to encourage consumers to work closely with their veterinarians”, Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement on Thursday, reports CBS news.

“It’s important to note that the FDA doesn’t yet know how certain diets may be associated with DCM in some dogs. However, the FDA is first and foremost a public health agency and takes seriously its responsibility to protect human and animal health. In the case of DCM, the agency has an obligation to be transparent with the pet-owning public regarding the frequency with which certain brands have been reported”, the FDA said in its press release.

Till now, the FDA has identified Acana in 67 DCM reports while Zignature was mentioned in 64. Taste of the Wild was recorded in 53, whereas Earthborn Holistic and 4Health food brand have its name appear in 32 reports. Apart from the top 5, other brands and cases recorded were Blue Buffalo with 31, Nature’s Domain with 29, Fromm with 24, Merrick with 16, California Natural and Natural Balance with 15 cases each, Orijen with 12 and Nature’s Variety with 11 cases. On the bottom of the list were a brand like NutriSource, Nutro and Rachael Ray Nutrish with 10 cases each associated with its name, reports the investigations of the FDA.

Breeds affected

Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a case of the cardiac muscle that reduces the heart’s ability to generate pressure and pump blood through the vascular system and results in congestive failure. Generally, large dog breeds are the most affected by this kind of disease. Breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes and Pit Bulls are the most common cases with this disease. Additionally, other breeds associated with Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) are Boxers where dietary carnitine deficiency plays a major role while taurine responsive DCM is found in Cocker Spaniels, reports Cornell University, College of Veterinary medicine.

Brands fight back

The Pet Food Institute states that they have deliberated with nutritionists, product safety experts and veterinarians with regards to the linkage between pet food diet and DCM. The Pet Food Institute has 98% of pet food and treats makers under its representation. “Noting that the FDA’s probe focused on ingredients in grain-free pet food, the agency has not identified any established link between certain ingredients and incidents of DCM. Millions of dogs eat and are thriving on grain-free dog food. The causes of DCM may be a result of many factors, including recipe formulation and processing and health issues of your individual pet”, reports a statement on the Pet Food Institute website.

Many pet food brands identified by FDA are working on their own researches. Most of them state that the reports are positive and strive to prove the FDA as misleading and faulty. “We think it is misleading for the FDA to post the names of brands, while at the same time fully stating that they have no scientific evidence linking diet to DCM. We feel this will only serve to further confuse pet lovers. According to our company’s research, the results state “Champion pet foods are safe,” Champion Petfoods which owns Arcana and Orijen reported to CBS News.

“While DCM impacts less than one per cent of U.S. dogs, with .000007% being supposedly related to diet, we recognize that these studies are of critical importance to those families whose beloved dogs have been afflicted by this heart diseases. Among all the cases from all brands that were reported to the FDA, the overwhelming majority of impacted dogs belonged to breeds genetically predisposed to DCM, a disease that was first discovered in the 1980s well before the grain-free diets were available for pets. The FDA states that chicken is the number one protein of affected dogs, as you know, Zignature does not use chicken. The FDA also stated that no one animal protein was predominant, refuting the earlier claim that this issue is caused by exotic proteins. The FDA issued the June 27th update, even though it has no definitive answers yet, to solicit additional reports from pet owners and veterinarians to help further its an investigation”, Zignature states in its Facebook post.



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