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FDA’s Newest Report on Link Between Certain Diets and Canine Heart Disease Includes Pet Food Brand Names


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Kai Kalhh from Pixabay

Sixteen pet food brands have been named in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s updated report on its investigation into the potential link between certain diets and cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The update also includes a spreadsheet of all DCM case reports relevant to the investigation received through April 30.

This is the FDA’s third update, the most comprehensive yet since the agency first alerted the public about the investigation in July 2018. The investigation began after FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received a number of reports of DCM in dogs eating certain pet foods containing legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds (pulses) or potatoes as main ingredients. Many of these products are labeled as “grain-free” or “zero-grain,” according to FDA officials.

The FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline reports) between Jan. 1, 2014 and April 30. About 222 of these were reported between Dec. 1, 2018 and April 30 (219 canine reports, 3 feline reports).

DCM itself is not considered rare in dogs, according to FDA officials, but these reports were “unusual” because many of the reported cases occurred in breeds of dogs not typically genetically predisposed to the disease.

The recent spike in DCM cases was also “puzzling,” FDA officials said. As such, FDA officials are working with the pet food industry to better understand whether changes in ingredients, ingredient sourcing, processing or formulation may have contributed to the development of DCM.

Case reports involved a range of different brands and formulas, and some reports named multiple brands and/or formulas. Brands named most frequently in reports submitted to the FDA that had at least 10 reports include: 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) and Rachael Ray Nutrish (10).

Review of the canine reports showed that most reports were for dry dog food formulations, but raw food, semi-moist food and wet foods were also represented, according to FDA officials.

“The common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes) and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food,” officials said in the report. “This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients, (e.g., [source] protein, [source] starch or [source] fiber). Some reports we have received also seem to indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.”

FDA officials said that since they have not yet determined the nature of the possible connection between these foods and canine DCM, they “do not have definitive information indicating that the food needs to be removed from the market.” However, case report information has been shared with these companies so “they can make informed decisions about the marketing and formulation of their products,” officials said.

In the meantime, the FDA is continuing to investigate and gather more information. FDA officials said that they welcome the submission of any information that may aid in its investigation. Detailed instructions for submitting case information can be found on “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.”

 

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