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Suspected Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

Following a recent update by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2019, CKC is informing members of the ongoing investigation by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in partnership with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories. The investigation is focused on “the potential association between reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and certain pet foods.”1 It is important to note that although diet is suspected to be the main contributing factor leading to the development of DCM in some cases, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) states that the potential association between diet and DCM is preliminary and still under investigation, and no conclusion has been established.
 
DCM, a disease of a dog’s heart muscle that can result in congestive heart failure, is a genetic predisposition that typically affects large and giant breed dogs. However, recent reports indicate DCM is occurring in breeds not typically associated with this genetic disease, which in part led researchers to take a closer look.
 
Individuals seeking more information relating to research findings to date on diet-associated DCM are encouraged to read It’s Not Just Grain-Free: An Update on Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy by Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN. A veterinary nutritionist and a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Freeman provides a comprehensive breakdown of the multitude of factors at play in relation to diet-associated DCM and the on-going FDA investigation. A list of commonly asked questions relating to DCM and the FDA’s investigation can be found on the FDA’s website.
 
Echoing sentiments shared by the FDA, CKC continues to encourage dog owners to consult with their veterinarians and breeders concerning their dog’s dietary and nutritional needs. General feeding and nutrition information can also be found on CKC’s website.

Note: Suspected cases of diet-related DCM can be reported via the FDA’s website.
 
1“FDA In Brief - FDA In Brief: FDA Investigates Cases of Canine Heart Disease Potentially Linked to Diet.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Office of the Commissioner, 12 July 2018, www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/FDAInBrief/ucm613355.htm.
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