Update on FDA’s Investigation on Grain-Free Diets

There has been quite a buzz in the media about the Federal Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) investigation into grain-free diets and a possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.

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But the biggest thing is we don't really have all the information, but what we do know or if we're going to steer you anyways, if you're on a grain free diet that's heavy in legumes, which should be like lentils or peas, that we would like you to consider maybe switching just from that diet.

 

Video Transcript:

Hey everybody, it's Dr. Michelle Drake. I'm here today to talk to you a little bit about the diet scares that everyone's been experiencing. I want to just kind of let everyone take a nice deep breath because really I think there's a lot more anxiety going on than is necessary, and the biggest thing is that really nobody completely understands what's going on.

At this point from my understanding there's less than 600 dogs across the whole country that we've even identified as having dilated cardiomyopathy related to diets possibly or most likely. But most likely these are multifactorial situations where it may be related to breed, the amount of food, what kind of foods that these dogs are eating, and also possibly some just general disease conditions that are unrelated to these.

But the biggest thing is we don't really have all the information, but what we do know or if we're going to steer you anyways, if you're on a grain free diet that's heavy in legumes, which should be like lentils or peas, that we would like you to consider maybe switching just from that diet. That's the only sort of solid recommendation we have at this point.

We do have a link here that I'm going to ask you guys to take a peek at, and it's going to kind of dive into it further and if you want to read more about it, but for the most part, we're happy to talk more in your appointments with you guys. Don't be too anxious about it, really. There's way more media coverage on this than the reality of the severity of the problem, but just maybe let's avoid those heavy legume diets that are grain-free for right now.

 

As you may be aware, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an update on June 27th on their continued investigation into a potential link between certain diets, primarily grain-free, and canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a heart condition where the heart muscle dilates abnormally and leads to a decreased ability to pump blood properly. There are certain dog breeds with a known inheritance of DCM but there have been an increase in dogs diagnosed with this disease outside of these typical breeds. Most of these dogs have been fed a diet high in legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans), however diets with potatoes have also reported in a smaller number of cases.

We still do not fully understand the link between the diet and the disease and we hope that further research will unlock the mystery. Until then, if your pet is on a diet high in legumes and you do not have a medical reason, such as food allergy, to keep them on this diet, consider changing to a diet which includes grains (rice, oats, barley, or corn). If your pet has a specific dietary allergy or intolerance, we are happy to help make a diet recommendation. You can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or contact us today.

For additional resources:

Cummings Veterinary Medical Center: https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/11/dcm-update/

FDA Investigation Update Released on June 27, 2019: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

FAQ Released by the FDA Regarding Their Investigation: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fda-center-veterinary-medicines-investigation-possible-connection-between-diet-and

What's in the bag? A checklist for evaluating pet food options: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/what-s-bag-checklist-evaluating-pet-food-options

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