FDA Update on DCM

Here is the latest update from the FDA on the diet-related DCM:

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

Here is a nice article written by Lisa Freeman of the Clinical Nutrition Service at Tufts University Vet School:

It’s Not Just Grain-Free: An Update on Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy

And here is some analysis of the FDA Report written by Dr. John Dillberger, Chair of the SDCA Health & Genetics Committee:

What seems to have happened is this. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) posted an update on June 27th summarizing their investigation into the POSSIBLE link between DCM and certain sorts of dog foods – those labeled as “grain-free” or “zero-grain.” In a praise-worthy example of openness, CVM shared all of the various ways in which they are looking at the data they have so far. For example, they are analyzing data by breed:

The FDA’s report contains this:

Dilated cardiomyopathy is recognized as a genetic condition in dogs, typically in large or giant breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, or the Irish Wolfhound. It is also seen in Cocker Spaniels associated with taurine deficiency. It is believed to be less common in small and medium breed dogs. We suspect that cases are underreported because animals are typically treated symptomatically, and diagnostic testing and treatment can be complex and costly to owners. FDA has observed a reporting bias for breeds like Golden Retrievers due to breed-specific social media groups and activities that have raised awareness of the issue in these communities and urged owners and vets to submit reports to FDA. Because the occurrence of different diseases in dogs and cats is not routinely tracked and there is no widespread surveillance system like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for human health, we do not have a measure of the typical rate of occurrence of disease apart from what is reported to the FDA.

Additional breeds with more than one report include Afghan Hound, Australian Cattle Dog, Beagle, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collie, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Dalmatian, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-coated Retriever, French Bulldog, Gordon Setter, Hound (unspecified), Irish Setter, Irish Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Jack Russel Terrier, Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Pomeranian, Portuguese Water Dog, Pug, Retriever (unspecified), Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Rough-haired Collie, Saluki, Samoyed, Schnauzer (unspecified), Shepherd (unspecified), Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Standard Long-haired Dachschund, Vizsla, Whippet, and Yorkshire Terrier.

By year:

By dog food formulation:

By dietary protein source:

And by dog food brand:

The national news media picked up this last chart and made it a headline story. I can understand the dog food manufacturers’ unhappiness at this. Anyway, FDA has not “linked” DCM to any dog food. Their investigation is at too early a stage for that. Any language about DCM being “linked to” a dog food brand comes from the news media. Sigh.

This is the sort of series of events that drives scientists and public officials to resist sharing ongoing investigations with the public.