The news is awash with this! With the news splashing Diets are suspect in heart disease!!!  What gives?

As I am sure most of you know, I follow and research on  most things dog, especially nutrition related issues.  Many of you probably do not know that Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is especially close to my heart.  DCM is prevalent, genetically, in several breeds, as are many heart issues.  Breeds such as Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes and Cocker Spaniels suffer from confirmed genetic forms of this disease. It is a devastating disease, I know first hand, having lost one of my beloved Danes to DCM. 

Since the original heads-up alert on this in July 2018, I have struggled a bit with wanting to share some of this.  I struggle because this is seriously important science, especially for those of us with breeds prone to this disease, for those of us who have lost dogs to this disease.  I have held back, waiting for some definitive answers, proof, real science, and on some levels, hope we have a piece of the puzzle.  Sadly, at this time, there isn't any.  

This is a very complicated subject, so I have decided to break this information down into two separate posts.  This post will be for the vast majority of dogs and their owners, just the facts jack.  The second article will be the down and dirty as to my thoughts about why this "science" is bad science and actually detrimental to dogdom.  The second article will have much more discussion about the science, about grain free foods, about peas and lentils, and nutrition in general.


So, according to the FDA Update and the Vet-LIRN Investigation, this is what we know to date:

"The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the Untied States.  Most dogs in the US have been eating pet food without apparently developing DCM.  It's 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."

As of the FDA's June 27, 2019 Update,  from January, 2014 - April 30, 2019 515 dogs (including dogs genetically predisposed to DCM) were reported to the FDA for potential diet related DCM.

Doing the math, that means that DCM, potentially related to diet, has been reported in .0000068 of dogs, or 7 dogs in 1 million.

Also included in the release were, styles of food reported, protein reported, breeds, and brands. (shown below)

I read all of the 515 reports, because that is who I am.  And while the VET-LIRN is reviewing these, (300+ to date, the FDA has not eliminated from the report dogs with cancers or other diseases, dogs on certain drugs, elderly dogs, nor the genetically predisposed.  So the data include all dogs, regardless of health, drugs, or other disease or congenital defects.

So, that is the data as reported, not verified, reported. What this represents is; if you feed Dry Food, and you have one of these breeds, and feed one of these proteins, and one of these brands' grain free formulas, there MAY be a small chance of a dog developing  DCM, smaller yet diet related DCM.  The easiest thing to do if you have concerns about this is to not feed a food containing lots of peas, lentils or other legumes.  I will give some detail about why I have never been a fan of too many peas, lentils or legumes regardless in the next installment.

Bottom line?  DCM and other heart issues happen in dogs.  According to the FDA and VET-LIRN, they don't know how often.  If you see your dog coughing, lethargic, unwilling to eat, having a hard time breathing  -- Get your dog to the Vet!  Have an echo-cardiogram done on your dog.  This matters no matter what you feed your dog! (I did note on several of the reported cases dogs originally presenting with a cough were prescribed the antibiotic doxycycline presumably the vet thinking this was an infectious cough, so that is worthy of note.)

Some dogs are asymptomatic, so ask your Vet at your next regular exam about your dog's heart health. I have never been to the Vet for a regular exam that the Vet did not check my dogs' hearts. Don't be afraid to ask how their hearts sound.  Because of my experience, I ask twice. :)

Please be assured that we are following this very closely.  If you have questions about your dogs' diet we are happy to answer any questions.