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Suspected Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs: FDA Investigation Update

Following a news item posted in April, CKC is informing members of the recent updates concerning the ongoing investigation by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) into reported cases of “canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals).”1
In June 2019 the FDA released a third public report on the status of their ongoing investigation. This report details the current findings, including breakdowns of the reported cases according the breed, age and weight, sex, diet, dog food brands, ingredients, and protein sources. The report states that it is “not known how commonly dogs develop DCM, but the increase in reports to FDA signal a potential increase in cases of DCM in dogs not genetically predisposed.”2
View the FDA’s detailed report to learn more.
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, prompting researchers to take a closer look at in the occurrence of this disease and possible connections to certain pet foods.
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. The FDA states that “based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.”3
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 Investigates Potential Link Between Diet & Heart Disease in Dogs." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. June 27, 2019. Accessed July 03, 2019.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
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