The US Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating a correlation between dog food items and serious heart diseases (DCM – dilated cardiomyopathy) in dogs. The FDA has been examining around 500 reports of dilated cardiomyopathy. According to the investigation, it has been induced by the type of food consumed by the dogs. For the past year, the FDA has recognized 16 pet food brands that may have induced the disease.
Congestive Heart Failure
Last July, the FDA issued a warning for pet parents to watch out for “grain-free” food products. It did not specify any brands but simply put the spotlight on those food products comprised of ingredients like peas, lentils legume seeds and potatoes. The statistics collected by the agency suggested that more than 90% of food items in relation to the DCM cases were “grain free”. 93% of the food products contained peas, lentils and 42% were comprised of potatoes/sweet potatoes.
“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.
The FDA study conducted in July 2019 has identified 16 brands of dog food that have been linked to causing DCM. The brands that have cases reported are as follows:
- Acana: 67
- Zignature: 64
- Taste of the Wild: 53
- 4Health: 32
- Earthborn Holistic: 32
- Blue Buffalo: 31
- Nature’s Domain: 29
- Fromm: 24
- Merrick: 16
- California Natural: 15
- Natural Balance: 15
- Orijen: 12
- Nature’s Variety: 11
- NutriSource: 10
- Nutro: 10
- Rachael Ray Nutrish: 10
What is DCM?
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a health condition that affects the dog’s heart. As a consequence, the heart muscles get enlarged lowering the ability to pump blood through the vascular system. Dogs suffering from DCM get tired easily, have difficulty in breathing and cough frequently. This type of heart disease leads to congestive heart failures in dogs.
Breeds bearing the brunt
Generally, large dog breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes and Pit Bulls are most likely to contract this disease. Even the College of Veterinary at Cornell University stressed on how dietary deficiencies can play a pivotal role in the dog’s health conditions.
As a dog owner this report is very important to read. Even my husband James Hamilton forwarded it to me to read. As pet owners we must have these important discussions with our pet care team…. https://t.co/UP82sIh42V
— Debra Hamilton (@HLawMediation) June 29, 2019
Brands fight back
Many pet food brands identified by FDA are reworking on revised research methods. They intend on proving that the reports put out by the FDA are misleading and faulty.
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 brands under its portfolio. “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 thrive on grain-free dog food. The causes of DCM can result from various factors, including recipe formulation and processing the health issues of your individual pet”, reports a statement on the Pet Food Institute website.
“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.
@ZignatureDog We have been a very loyal consumer of your products for our two dogs and now we are VERY concerned and seriously thinking of switching… what do you say to this report? https://t.co/IgiglHk3m9
— SayHeyJayHey (@SayHeyJayHey) June 28, 2019
“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.
While it lists several brands to avoid, there is still NO scientific evidence behind their claims. The study is still inconclusive.
Please dont panic when buying dog food.
— 🔥Matozilla🔥 (@JamstarJupiter) June 29, 2019
(Inputs from the CBS news, The Pet Food Insitute, F.D.A US Press Release)
Passionate about writing, Fiona is best known for her features and abstract writing. A sports lover, an avid shopaholic and a travel freak, Fiona expresses thoughts through words and considers herself totally opinionated, and rightfully so!