The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into correlations

among certain dog foods and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) has loomedover the pet food industry, with no resolution in sight, since July 2018.

More than 150 published studies didn’t reveal to researchers any firmconnection among cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-freedog food. Veterinarians and others with BSM Partners, a pet industryconsulting agency, published their review of existing scientific research ondog nutrition and its relationship to DCM in the Journal of Animal Science.

“This literature review is integral in helping pet food professionalsunderstand what we know about nutritional requirements, as well as thedevelopment of DCM,” study co-author Dr. Eva Oxford, DVM, PhD, said. “Ourreview also points out major gaps in the literature, which offer opportunitiesfor future research.”

For example, Oxford’s team noted that many studies discussing DCM lackeddefinitive evidence of the disease’s cause, or etiology.

“This is likely because it is so difficult to obtain cardiac tissue foranalysis,” she said. “Future issues worth exploring, relating to nutrition andDCM may be measuring concentrations of amino acids in cardiac and skeletalmuscle samples, and determining how dogs eating different diet types processand absorb different nutrients.”

Just as academic and private-sector scientists have more work to do tounderstand DCM, so too do researchers with the government as the investigationcontinues.

“The FDA does not typically comment on specific studies, but evaluates them aspart of the body of evidence to further our understanding about a particularissue and assist in our mission to protect public health. We are continuing toinvestigate cases of DCM reported to the agency and will communicate publiclyabout any significant developments.”

History of FDA investigation into DCM and grain-free dog food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) investigation into correlationsamong certain dog foods and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) has loomedover the pet food industry, with no resolution in sight, since July 2018.That’s when the FDA alerted the public about reports of DCM in dogs eatingcertain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes asmain ingredients, which were more common in diets labeled as grain-free. Ayear later, the agency released data from their investigation that stated 93%of the 524 reported cases of DCM, involved dog foods made with peas and/orlentils, while 90% of the afflicted dogs had eaten diets labeled as grain-free. The FDA update also provided a graph naming 16 brands eaten by dogsinvolved in official reports of DCM. Sales of grain-free dog food in generaland those named brands in particular fell following FDA’s announcements, whilemore new products began to include specific grains and taurine.

However, since that first announcement, numerous scientists and other involvedwith the pet food industry have pointed out the lack of direct evidenceconnecting those grain-free dog foods to DCM. Likewise, some have criticizedthe FDA’s announcement as premature and poorly managed, especially consideringthe negative economic consequences for dog food brands. In response, pet foodadapted their marketing and new dog food development. Instead of claiming thatall grain in pet foods were negative, brands became “grain friendly” as theybegan to include ancient grains or other “healthy grains, while continuing tomalign conventional grains like wheat and corn.

Source:Tim Wall Petfood

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