Author: Linda Morales
The FDA recently issued an update to consumers on the increase of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, last reported in June of last year. While this is notably a scary announcement for pup parents around the world, the first thing we need to do is take a deep breath.
While the FDA is further investigating any potential link between diet and DCM, the FDA stresses that this is a complex issue that potentially has multiple causes. Notably, this disease only affects .000007% of dogs in America and even the top brand in the report had an average of 16 reported cases per year, which is notably small compared to the volume of food sold.
DCM is a serious medical condition, but dog owners should not panic. Cases were first reported to the FDA in 2014 and from that point to now there are 524 reports of dogs with DCM. There are 77 million pet dogs in the U.S. The top five breeds with DCM cases reported to the FDA include; Golden Retriever, mixed breed, Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, and Pitbull. DCM seems to be more prevalent in middle age or older dogs, and more common in male than female dogs.
“Our ongoing work in this area is a top priority for the FDA, and as our investigation unfolds and we learn more about this issue, we will make additional updates to the public,” said Steven M. Solomon, D.V.M., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “In the meantime, because we have not yet determined the nature of this potential link, we continue to encourage consumers to work closely with their veterinarians, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to select the best diet for their pets’ needs.”
In the meantime, it is important to not make any rash decisions without vet consultation. It is also important to understand that grain-free diets are important to pups who suffer from grain intolerances and allergies and, again, while the investigation is ongoing and inconclusive at this time, they are looking into grain-free food diets containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. Not all grain-free formulas fit into this mold and not all of them are under investigation.
Symptoms of DCM include; lower energy, breathing problems, coughing or collapsing. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, see your vet immediately.