Hello Pet Guardians,
By now you have probably heard about the FDA release of updated information related to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Primarily they are reporting nothing new, other than a list of companies that have been reported to be the food source for diagnosed pets. That list includes a few brands that are available in our stores.
So, what does this really mean for your pet? The honest answer to that could range from nothing, to you might want to switch foods or add something, depending on your situation. Allow me to elaborate with some facts and questions to help you decide what is best for you. I have also attached some webpages where you can get more info.
1a) There are 77,000,000 dogs in the USA and last year there were 320 cases reported, according to the FDA. That means .0004155% of dogs have DCM. Many of the reported cases have been breeds like Golden Retrievers and other breeds that have always had genetic predispositions to DCM. In another FDA report, of 380 cases of DCM, 95 were Golden Retrievers and the top four are all larger dogs that have always had higher occurrences (229/380).
Do you have a large breed or the top four listed?
*Another large breed
1b) Are you feeding the foods listed? Not the brands listed but the actual foods that have been reported. What I mean by this is, for example, Acana has many products. Many were not ever reported to be an issue. Of the 67 reported for Acana, lamb and apple was the most common at 20. The common foods reported are single protein source foods.
So, what are your options if you are feeding one of those foods? Let’s face it, most people feeding these foods are doing so because of allergies, so options are limited. Raw food is an option as it gives you control over ingredients and almost all cases reported were pets being fed dry foods. Raw was only reported once and the most likely explanation was not dietary in cause, because in that case they reported a genetic marker. I wonder how many other cases in which there were no actual links to diet? Back to what to do if you still prefer to avoid raw? You can add taurine to the diet. You can add heart organ to the diet. Both should increase taurine levels. This, of course, assumes taurine deficiency is the cause and that has not yet been proven. In the early 70’s when a taurine deficiency was found in cat food and a link was determined, there was evidence. Right now, there is speculation but after a year there is still no proof of the connection. Of the dogs tested (64% had a taurine level test) approximately 42% had at least one low blood taurine level. Golden Retrievers represented approximately 37% of all dogs with low taurine. This is something that I find interesting, which leads me to questions about the report and the goal of FDA and the veterinarians reporting.
2) If the FDA was thinking about the individual and their pets, why did they not report the actual foods? Why just report brands? Remember, I mentioned large breeds are vulnerable yet Acana large breed had only one reported case. It would appear to be a very safe food for large breeds but that would not be the impression from the FDA reporting. We have had customers where their vets are telling them to stay away from Acana as it had the highest reported cases. Remember the facts: 64% of dogs were tested and only 42% had low taurine levels. That means 58% of dogs tested had normal to high levels of taurine. Yet someone is targeting these food brands and a link to low taurine.
2a) For perspective let’s look at diabetes: Veterinarians report 1/308 dogs and 1/230 cats have diabetes. That means veterinarians report 250,000 dogs or .3246 % of all dogs have diabetes. This disease is linked to a high carbohydrate diet. Why are these extremely high numbers not being investigated?
So, what is REALLY going on here?? Is this a witch hunt or someone’s agenda? The truth is, we do not know at this point if pea protein, lentils, or other legume ingredients or potatoes are an issue. There may be a link, or there may not. I like to trust the wild/nature for guidance in situations like this. The more protein from meat sources and the less of any ingredient they would not be eating in the wild is your best option. The more you deviate from a natural diet the more you increase the risk of their bodies not being able to cope.
I personally would like veterinarians and the FDA to report foods for all diseases. I would like to know what foods are contributing to 1/308 dogs having diabetes, in addition to what foods 1/240625 dogs getting DCM are eating, but I guess we have to start somewhere.
By Brent Hauberg
Co-Founder of Tail Blazers “Health Food Store For Pets”