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UNDERSTANDING THE FDA STATEMENT REGARDING THEIR INVESTIGATION INTO GRAIN FREE DIETS

UNDERSTANDING THE FDA STATEMENT REGARDING THEIR INVESTIGATION INTO GRAIN FREE DIETS
  • 14 September 2018
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  • kgotimer

On July 12, 2018 the FDA issued a statement saying it was investigating a potential connection between diet and cases of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Canines. Several sources picked up on this and ran stories, some of which could be misleading and perhaps overstated the facts. At Pet Wants Northern Westchester we want to help pet parents to be well informed. We have a responsibility to our customers and other dog owners to present the facts clearly, accurately and in an unbiased manner, so that owners can use this information, in conjunction with their veterinarians, to make any decisions related to their dog’s diet. (The full FDA statement can be found here https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/newsevents/cvmupdates/ucm613305.htm

CLARIFYING THE ISSUE

What is DCM? What do we know about it? Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle that results in an enlarged heart. This makes it harder for the heart to pump and can lead to more serious heart issues if untreated.

  • The specific cause(s) of DCM is/are largely unknown.
  • Contributing factors can be a deficiency of the amino acids taurine or carnitine, thyroid issues, inflammation of the heart muscle, rapid heart rates or poor blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • DCM is more common in dogs 4 – 10 years old.
  • DCM is also more common in certain breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Afghan Hound, and Cocker Spaniel. These breeds have a genetic component which makes them pre-disposed to contracting DCM. In some of these breeds the specific genetic mutation related to DCM has been identified.

Why is the FDA investigating a possible link to grain free diets?

  • The FDA had received reports from some veterinarians saying they had seen some cases of DCM in dog breeds not usually affected by the disease. (Not genetically per-disposed.)
  • The breeds in the cases cited included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog and Miniature Schnauzers, as well as mixed breeds.
  • The FDA is now investigating the possibility of a link between DCM and legumes because it was noticed that many of the dogs in the unusual cases reported had been consistently eating diets having potatoes or multiple legumes such as peas, lentils, other “pulses” (seeds of legumes) as main ingredients over a period of months to years.

The FDA has stated it is not known if or how the legumes may be linked to cases of DCM. It is important to understand that the number of cases so far being reported and studied is small; only 30 reported cases as of the June 12, 2018 FDA. With small numbers of cases there isn’t enough evidence to draw any conclusions about any possible links to diet.

Why did the FDA issue the statement? The FDA wanted to encourage veterinarians and the public to report any additional cases of DCM in breeds not usually prone to this disease, so they could gather more data. So far, many possible reasons for the cases being seen have been suggested. Some of these are related to legumes and some are not. As the FDA investigates further it is possible more evidence may point to a link to legumes and it is also possible that another cause may be found; it is simply too soon to tell.

What is the FDA recommending dog owners do in response? Currently, the FDA is not recommending that owners take any action. Here is their statement on this: “At this time, we are not advising dietary changes based solely on the information we have gathered so far. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or its diet, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian for individualized advice that takes into account your dog’s specific needs and medical history.” (Read the complete FAQ from the FDA here: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm616279.htm )

HOW CAN PET WANTS HELP?

We make diet rotation and variety easy

At Pet Wants Northern Westchester we are proponents of providing the best diet for your pets. We believe in providing freshness, high quality, variety and healthful choices in food and treats. If you are a concerned pet owner, whether you are our customer or just seeking good and honest information, we are always happy to make ourselves available to talk with you and/or your vet about the specific needs of your pet. Call us to discuss the FDA statement or any other pet related issues.

One important thing to note about the FDA study is that it points out the dogs in the study were being consistently fed the same diet over long periods of time. Whenever possible, we advocate rotating your pet’s diet to avoid boredom and the possibility of developing an allergy and to provide variety in the types of proteins and nutrients and flavors your pet is eating. We make diet rotation easy because we sell all our dog and cat recipes by the pound. That means you don’t need to buy several large bags of food to have a variety of recipes on hand. We are happy to mix the recipes in any amount you wish to order so you can provide a variety of choices for your pet and know that they are all fresh and nutritious. That is one of the unique aspects of Pet Wants!

We provide only healthy and nutritious treats and supplements

In addition to offering fresh and nutritious food, we also offer many healthful treats, such as freeze-dried salmon and chicken hearts, house-made beef jerky and sweet potato chips, and a variety of other high-quality treats and chews. These are an excellent way to add protein to your pet’s diet. In addition, many of our treats support bone and joint health. We also have excellent dietary supplements to aid dogs and cats who have specific digestive and other issues.

We deliver it all right to your door

Call us, email us, or order online. We will promptly deliver right to your home or office!