FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy


Between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline reports). Approximately 222 of these were reported between December 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019 (219 canine reports, 3 feline reports). Some of these reports involved more than one affected animal from the same household. The breakdown of reported illnesses below reflects the number of individual animals affected. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States. Most dogs in the U.S. have been eating pet food without apparently developing DCM. Itís not known how commonly dogs develop DCM, but the increase in reports to FDA signal a potential increase in cases of DCM in dogs not genetically predisposed.

DCM Cases: Breeds most frequently reported to the FDA
Golden Retriever                95
Mixed                                   62
Labrador Retriever                47
Great Dane                         25
Pit Bull                                 23

Mean age & weight:  6.6 years old (range 0.4 - 16 years)
                                       67.8lbs (range 4-212lbs)

452 cases were eating dry kibble, 24 multiple forms of food, 26 unknown, 9 raw diet.

Naming Brands:
Acana                                    67
Zignature                            64
Taste of the Wild      53
4Health                                                32
Earthborn Holistic 32
Blue Buffalo                       31
Nature's Domain                29
Fromm                                 24
Merrick                                                16
California Natural 15
Natural Balance                                15
Orijen                                   12
Nature's Variety                 11
Nutrisource, Nutro & Rachael Ray Nurtrish  10

Ingredient Link:
91% Grain-free
93% Peas and/or Lentils
89% Peas
62% Lentils
42% Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes

In the February 2019 updated FDA report, the ingredient list was as follows:
Out of 196 cases
180 contain peas
104 contain lentils
Chickpea 55, Potato 63 and Sweet Potato 55

Nutritional research indicates that taurine is generally not considered an essential amino acid for dogs, because these animals can synthesize taurine from cysteine and methionine. Nearly all the grain-free products had methionine-cystine values above the minimum nutritional requirement of 0.65 percent for adult maintenance food for dogs published in the AAFCO Official Publication (OP).
The FDA is still gathering information to better understand if (and how) taurine metabolism (both absorption and excretion) may have a role in these reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

To report a pet food complaint: