The FDA is investigating potential linkages between certain dog products and a type of canine heart disease, called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The agency recognized 16 dog food brands that it claims are most often associated over the past five years with more than 500 cases.
In many cases, the FDA said the diagnosed dogs were on a “grain-free” diet, a popular pet parent choice.
Martha Martin’s dogs were diagnosed with DCM. The Mid-South pet owner reports veterinarians last fall made the discovery after a snake bit one of her dogs. She claims her both dogs were on a grain-free diet. The cases of Martin along with hundreds of others were reported to the FDA.
“I was stunned. I had not heard anything about the FDA warning that came out last summer about grain-free diets,” said Martin.
Memphis veterinarian Dr. Chuck Halford claims that until it is too late there are generally no signs of canine heart disease. He advises dog owners to play it safe.
“Our recommendation for people right now is to not feed grain-free foods until the dust settles until we know more about it,” said Halford. “I personally would not feed my dog grain-free foods in this environment right now, no matter what the brand was.”
Large breeds are typically most affected, but smaller breeds are involved in many cases. The FDA has not released a recall of any grain-free products but recommends that pet owners should talk to their vet.
Champion Petfoods, the parent corporation for Arcana, said in part, “Of the 77 million dogs in the U.S., 0.5% to 1% have DCM, and of those dogs with DCM, less than 0.1% are expected to have diet-related DCM, although this is not scientifically proven. We emphasize fresh and raw meat with complete ingredients derived from animals varying from 60 to 85 percent of the finished product in the recipes Champion makes. Legumes are not, and have never been, a significant feature in Champion’s recipes.”