FDA investigation into diet and DCM

Dog Food Advisor Forums Feedback and Suggestions FDA investigation into diet and DCM

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  • #141519 Report Abuse

    Sarah B
    Member

    I feed my mixed breed dog Zignature Kangaroo. I’m concerned after reading the recent FDA investigation into the correlation between diet and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy#diet
    The study indicates a link between grain-free diets and DCM. The brands listed are many of the brands recommended on Dog Food Advisor for quality. What suggestions do you have in light of this study? Is it worth reevaluating our dog’s diet? The blogs I’ve read so far on the subject are calling Zignature/Orijen/etc “fad diets” and telling readers to return to Purina. Are those literally the only options for those who feed their pets dry food?

    #141543 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    I don’t pay any attention to specific brands that are mentioned in the report.
    They should just say AVOID GRAIN-FREE DOG FOOD across the board, all brands for now! Also avoid legumes, peas or at least make sure they are far down on the ingredient list.
    Also, don’t you think it’s odd that all the brands mentioned are high end? I think that pet owners that buy expensive dog food are more likely to take their dogs to the vet for every little thing and demand testing.
    An echo costs abut $350, taurine level is expensive too, at least $200. These would be needed to diagnose DCM
    Do you really think the people that buy supermarket dog foods are going to go along with that…

    Fromm is a good food (grain-inclusive formulas) imo.

    https://nypost.com/2019/06/28/dog-food-may-be-putting-your-best-friend-at-risk-for-a-fatal-disease/ excerpt below
    Around 91 percent of these dogs consumed pet foods labeled as “grain-free” — while 93 percent ate food with peas or lentils, the department said.

    #141557 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    I would suggest asking your vet, Zignature has a lot of peas. I don’t think the FDA would go to all this trouble, and put it on the news with brands included for nothing. I am very thankful that the FDA goes to these lengths to protect our dogs. I would not ignore the FDA, but every dog is different. I don’t want to tell you to change the diet, b/c I am not an expert, however I would ask your vet. How long has the dog been on the food? how old is he/she? Did the vet say he is in good health? I understand after hearing that I would not feel comfortable either with it. If you do change diet by the recommendation of your vet, I know there is a lot of good food that has grains. But truthfully I don’t know anymore what brand to try.

    #141558 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Anon, your statement is also just assuming. The hospitals and the FDA are experts. I would not rely on what you just said. I think that if people are concerned about what they are feeding, I would ask the vet and pay attention to the FDA for now. I would not listen to others opinions, even if they are good ones. This is too complicated and requires a vet to determine what to do next.

    #141559 Report Abuse

    malinda r
    Member

    https://breedsy.com/dog-food-without-peas-lentils-legumes-potatoes/

    The link above mentions some good foods without peas/legumes. Victor, Sport Dog Food and Farmina seem to have a decent reputation. I read that Sport Dog Food is a favorite among working/sporting dogs, so may be rich for a lower key dog. I am curious about several of these and will be looking at their ingredient list to see what they got.

    In the end they may find a different factor as a probable cause, instead of peas/legumes….so I am not going to be too extreme in my choices. Feed a decent food that is low or absent for peas/legumes, don’t feed the same food all the time, use some toppers, give some wholesome human grade food once or twice a week.

    #141560 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    I am voicing my opinion based on my experience as a pet owner and conversations with other pet owners (not on forums, ones that I actually can see). Veterinarians, specialists, etc.
    Also, people are interpreting the FDA warning and updates differently, as they are vague and inconclusive.
    One thing that stood out to me was Golden Retrievers 95% That says a lot, imo.

    NO PROFESSIONAL ADVICE HERE. This is a forum. OPINIONS not FACTS.

    Again: Around 91 percent of these dogs consumed pet foods labeled as “grain-free” — while 93 percent ate food with peas or lentils, the department said.

    There it is , that is what you should avoid.

    #141561 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    I believe this is the latest on brands at top of list with most DCM cases.

    https://whdh.com/news/fda-announces-dog-food-brands-that-could-cause-heart-failure/?fbclid=IwAR1IauGHrj8kUtOTRAyccRpKqvCNRL_rX6Qbx4zZAeMIE5QlFHE_TCdRrgo

    Please someone explain how a brand for instance such as Arcana being the top one fed with most DCM cases was for years touted as the BEST of the BEST you could feed in a kibble. My dogs never took to it and I was disappointed . Also are All recipes implemented as a whole? The regional recipe doesn’t have the legumes that far up on the list even as other grain free brands do that are not on the list . Also the recipes I just looked at are not exotic proteins.
    Plus their statement checks all the boxes that this food should NOT be a problem.

    Q. DOES CHAMPION PETFOODS HAVE A VETERINARY NUTRITIONIST OR OTHER QUALIFIED EMPLOYEES ON STAFF? ARE THEY AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION OR QUESTIONS?

    Yes, our highly educated and talented team of 20 Research & Innovation scientists lead the development and research of our ACANA and ORIJEN pet foods. These individuals cover a wide variety of education and experience including, but not limited, to: 1 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, 1 PhD in Animal Nutrition, 2 PhD’s in Food Science, 3 Masters of Science in Animal Nutrition (2 in companion animal nutrition), 2 Masters of Science in Food Science, 1 Masters of Science in Meat Hygiene and Food Microbiology, and 17 Bachelors of Science areas such as Animal Science, Biochemistry, and Veterinary Medicine.

    Q. WHO FORMULATES YOUR DIETS AND WHAT ARE THEIR CREDENTIALS?

    Champion Petfoods’ Research and Innovation team works with a group of animal nutritionists, and consults with Veterinarians who specialize in nutrition, toxicology, and holistic medicine when developing our ACANA and ORIJEN diets.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Patricia A.
    #141562 Report Abuse

    Dean S
    Member

    Dogs are not vegans. That said, having green beans, pumpkin, peas (all soft and cooked people not raw from garden) are a safe FILLER.

    Dogs need meat and fish. Lentils? Legumes of any kind? Even humans do not consume these well.

    That being said, the FDA “hit list” does not have one brand by the BIG BOYS such as Purina, Iams, Science Diet (Purina I believe) and let’s all remember, just like our food supply, the big grocers and major global companies are doing their best to control and lord over our food supply. They do the same with pet food.

    Also if you feed your dog 100% dry kibble, grain free or otherwise and they are NOT ACTIVE, that kibble sits in gut half digested. Just like someone drinking Gatorade and eating bread all day, sitting on the couch and no working out, you get FAT.

    We have 4 dogs, I walk them every day at least 1 mile, and they have Only Natural Pet Power Fusion kibble as 1/4 their meal rest I make.

    Many have purchased “designer dogs’ have them in a tiny apartment, walk perhaps a few times a week tops, leave them home alone while they are at work, and feed them the latest and greatest fashionable dog food. Dogs need to RUN and play every day and they are carnivores.

    It’s really that simple.

    #141563 Report Abuse

    Sarah B
    Member

    The FDA report acknowledges that there may be a higher awareness among certain breed owners, such as golden retrievers, because of breed-specific online groups that allow for sharing of information. That fact doesn’t seem to entirely account for the high numbers of goldens but it could be a factor. I agree with Anon that cost of testing could definitely impact which cases are attributed to this trend; also who is most inclined to allow a necropsy and tissue samples from their beloved pet to be part of research.

    I appreciate everyone’s suggestions. I think I’m going to try out a grain-inclusive food that’s in the 3.5+ category here. Also looking for lower legume concentration and added taurine (Zignature has no added taurine). I’m slightly freaked because I *have* noticed my 3-yr-old dog being more winded at the park, even on days when it hasn’t been overly hot. My daughter remarked recently that he’s been panting more when he’s resting. So maybe a trip to the vet for those expensive tests is in order…… 😬

    #141568 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Even though some rich people are taking their dogs for testing and could afford it, what about the ones that die and or something happens to the dog that the owners are not aware of. There maybe cases of dogs with DCM and the owners don’t know it. So you can’t base it on that. I spoke to some one in the pet shop and told me that their friends dog was playing and acting fine, than all of a sudden just stopped playing and was panting and than died. The dog was only 4 years old. I felt so bad and the owner was devastated. Now I don’t know what the dog died of, but you never know if it was DCM. I do agree with Dean, legumes and such are hard to digest and are not meant for a dog. However, some dogs digest it. But I don’t like it in dog food either.
    Anon, I understand these are our opinions, however you always mention about asking the vet. So what was wrong about me suggesting it? In most of your posts it is all about “ask your vet.”

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  joanne l.
    #141571 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    All anecdotal

    PS: Whether people spend money on having their dogs tested and such has nothing to do with being rich or poor.

    There are people that can afford to have testing done that decline.
    There are people that can’t afford to have these tests but do it anyway and rack up credit card debt.

    It all depends on what your priorities are. That is why it helps to have a veterinarian that you have a good relationship with to advise you accordingly.

    #141573 Report Abuse

    Sarah B
    Member

    Also to respond to Joanne – he has been on Zignature for a year, but has been on one of the “problem” brands’ grain-free formulas his whole lifetime: first Earthborn Holistic, then Taste of the Wild.

    Victor’s grain-inclusive formulas look promising – also Diamond Holistic. The vet thinks he has a chicken allergy (I’m not so sure) which is why he’s been on a limited ingredient diet to begin with.

    #141575 Report Abuse

    Sarah B
    Member

    Joanne that’s terrible about the dog who suddenly died. It seems very likely that cases of DCM (genetic or potentially diet-related) are underreported.

    #141577 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    I fed the Zignature fish formulas for about 2-3 years as a base. Absolutely no problems.
    We only switched because of the grain-free scare.

    #141581 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    There are hundreds of conditions that could have caused the dog to drop dead suddenly.

    Heat stroke for one.

    DCM is rare.

    #141583 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    I know that was horrible, but maybe it wasn’t DCM I don’t know. Didn’t get much more information than that. I don’t know the owner I was only talking to the person that knew him.

    #141584 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Hi Sarah, if he was on Zignatures all his life I would probably think it is fine, however he has only been eating it a year so I would please talk to your vet b/c Zignature is high up there with DCM. I understand about your dog with chicken, mine to can’t have chicken and what a battle it is to find a good grain in diet w/out chicken. I was feeding Holistic Select lamb and oatmeal, but I can’t use it anymore b/c he don’t like it and will starve before eating it. I might try Victor myself they have a beef and rice without chicken and a lamb and rice.

    #141585 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Hi Sarah, if he was on Zignatures all his life I would probably think it is fine, however he has only been eating it a year so I would please talk to your vet b/c Zignature is high up there with DCM. I understand about your dog with chicken, mine to can’t have chicken and what a battle it is to find a good grain in diet w/out chicken. I was feeding Holistic Select lamb and oatmeal, but I can’t use it anymore b/c he don’t like it and will starve before eating it. I might try Victor myself they have a beef and rice without chicken and a lamb and rice.

    #141586 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Hi Sarah, if he was on Zignatures all his life I would probably think it is fine, however he has only been eating it a year so I would please talk to your vet b/c Zignature is high up there with DCM. I understand about your dog with chicken, mine to can’t have chicken and what a battle it is to find a good grain in diet w/out chicken. I was feeding Holistic Select lamb and oatmeal, but I can’t use it anymore b/c he don’t like it and will starve before eating it. I might try Victor myself they have a beef and rice without chicken and a lamb and rice.

    #141594 Report Abuse

    Sarah B
    Member

    Yes, chicken is in most foods, especially the grain-inclusive ones. Even Victor has chicken fat; but I’ve read that dogs don’t necessarily react to fat even if there is a chicken allergy. Hope it works out and your dog is a fan!

    #141879 Report Abuse

    pugmomsandy
    Moderator

    Some foods advertising legume-free now:

    https://americannaturalpremium.com/

    #141885 Report Abuse

    aimee
    Member

    Hi pugmomsandy,

    Thanks for posting this. The new marketing tagline gave me a giggle. Wonder if other companies will pick it up
    Do you have any idea when this labeling was introduced?

    #141888 Report Abuse

    pugmomsandy
    Moderator

    between today and 18 months ago

    #141892 Report Abuse

    aimee
    Member

    Thanks!

    #141916 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    pugmomsan what is holding this kibble together being legume and potatoes free? I thought it’s needs some kind of starch?

    #141917 Report Abuse

    haleycookie
    Member

    @patricia. Some foods like dr elseys cat food and essence pet foods use things like agar agar or gelatin to bind the foods. Making it an optimal low low car dry food. However it’s incredibly expensive as well

    However this particular food is loading up on carbs grains to hold the food together. It’s just a run of the mill lower quality grain food.

    #141920 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    Thank’s @haley. Always looking even though kibble is a VERY small part of their diet.

    #141926 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Anon, I am sorry about my response to you I did not read your feedback carefully. I do apologize.

    #141930 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    @ joanne I

    Don’t be silly 🙂
    Nothing to apologize for!

    #141934 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fda-center-veterinary-medicines-investigation-possible-connection-between-diet-and
    excerpt below

    To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM. If you are concerned about the diet you are currently feeding your dog, FDA recommends working with your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to determine the best diet for your dog’s need.

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2019/06/fda-update-on-grain-free-diets-and-heart-disease-in-dogs/
    excerpts (out of context) below, click on link for full article and comments

    The specific relationship between diet and DCM in these cases is not yet understood, so it is impossible to say if the food is a primary cause of DCM and, if so, how this is happening. However, the common thread among the diets involved seems to be the use of legumes or pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) in place of grains in the diet.

    While many of the diets contain common protein sources (e.g. chicken and lamb), a surprisingly high proportion have unusual and uncommon meats as their main protein source. Again, the significance of this is not yet clear.

    There is a concentration of cases among golden retrievers, though dogs of many other breeds have been affected as well.

    Further data collection and research will be necessary to determine the precise relationship between diet and DCM in these cases. There are likely multiple factors involved, including the ingredients in the diet, the genetics or particular breeds and individuals, and others we may not yet know about. Pet owners feeding these diets don’t need to panic, since far more dogs on these diets do NOT have DCM than do. However, if you are feeding one of these foods, or a diet similar in composition, and especially if you are feeding this to a golden retriever, it would be a good idea to talk to your vet about screening your pet for DCM and considering a change in diet.

    #141989 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    FDA update July 2019 report: Well then they’re SO MUCH closer in narrowing down the cause. (sarcasm)

    It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked. Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.

    #141990 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    Au contraire

    “The specific relationship between diet and DCM in these cases is not yet understood, so it is impossible to say if the food is a primary cause of DCM and, if so, how this is happening. However, the common thread among the diets involved seems to be the use of legumes or pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) in place of grains in the diet.”

    Above is an excerpt from skeptvet blog, link is in my prior post.

    #142006 Report Abuse

    Patricia A
    Member

    But anon raw was also listed . Not sure but I believe MOST raws don’t contain legumes or potatoes .I don’t think people who started home cooking are not adding all the legumes with exotic meats either. Hoping the people that do home cooked just don’t throw some meat in a bowl and call it a day without knowing enough about other added nutrients needed for a dogs health. I personally wouldn’t trust myself for that.
    The only new info is that now they implicate not only grain free/high legume kibble but canned, raw and home cooked and ALSO grain inclusive.
    Call me a broken record but I’m sticking to my guns. VARIETY in both the brand, protein, flavor . As well as NOT just kibble .
    Can’t wait to read next update to see if a brand, protein, combination of protein and legumes blocking amino acids for heart health ,,not enough animal protein vs legumes , people not feeding enough food for proper nutrition with a food that’s already inferior to begin with or….non of the above.
    Hope answer is solved in my lifetime.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Patricia A.
    #142008 Report Abuse

    joanne l
    Member

    Patricia peas and lentils are most prominent on the FDA site. Look at the chart and you will see. Also it said dry food not can I believe.
    https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy
    Anyway some dogs are getting DCM from the food and some maybe don’t. With that why take a chance. And who knows what this will mount up to, my vet just recommended that I don’t use grain free for now.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  joanne l.
    #142031 Report Abuse

    anonymous
    Member

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2019/06/fda-update-on-grain-free-diets-and-heart-disease-in-dogs/
    excerpt from comments below
    **** ****** says:
    June 30, 2019 at 6:48 pm
    I read the FDA reports and my impression is the FDA should have kept the names of the kibble manufacturers confidential because of likely referral bias. I’d like to hear their rationale for this.
    Note that almost all the kibbles listed are high quality/high cost kibbles. I would have expected to see some of the mass market brands one can find in WalMart, Petco or your local grocery store. 3 days ago I took my Newf for a routine check for her SubAortic Stenosis at a multi-specialty clinic. The cost was $291.75. The FDA link isn’t totally clear, but it appears that most of the cases being studied are those for which the dogs have been evaluated with a cardiac echo study. I think it is likely that the same socioeconomic group that can afford cardiac echo studies correlates highly with the socioeconomic group that purchases costly boutique kibble.

    skeptvet says:
    July 1, 2019 at 9:53 am
    Good points. Lots of possible confounders here. I think another one is that many of the brands on the list have made a reputation/market niche out of being “natural” or alternative to traditional diets in some way, and the grain-free claim tends to appeal to the same market segment–namely, mostly affluent owners who are drawn to alternative or unconventional practices and who find words like “natural” and “holistic” appealing.
    However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that strongest common thread here is not brand or market segment but grain-free and legumes/pulses. Lots of other foods by the same manufacturers are not on the list and do not have this ingredient profile. It is also interesting to see “kangaroo” as a common ingredient in foods on the list given how rare it is in dog food generally (especially compared to beef and pork, which occur less often in the suspect foods), so the exotic protein source angle is still worth investigating

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