In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced reports from veterinarians on a potential link between dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and the consumption of pet foods that contained certain grains such as peas, lentils, legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients.
DCM is a serious condition that causes an enlarged heart. This causes the heart to work harder to accommodate for the enlargement and can lead to congestive heart failure which can be fatal. There are some breeds previously known to be more susceptible to the condition, but the FDA is reporting more frequent occurrences than usually seen in breeds not previously seen to be susceptible.
The dogs identified in the cases reported to the FDA were eating foods that contained these grain ingredients high in the ingredient list, indicating they were main ingredients. But, there have also been reported instances of non-susceptible breeds who were not eating these grains that developed DCM, so the findings are not yet conclusive, and some vets dispute the connection.
It was also reported that some of the dogs involved had low whole blood levels of taurine, an amino acid well known to have connections to DCM. But an equal number of the reported dogs had normal blood levels.
The FDA released this information to send a warning to pet owners that there may be a connection, but given some of the variant findings, they continue to study the issue further, so we expect more definitive findings on this issue in the coming months. Petnet will reports those findings when they are released.
If you are concerned about your dog, check with your veterinarian. You can also check the ingredients label on your dog’s food to see if it contains any of the suspect ingredients, or use the Petnet food database to help you identify grain-free foods.