"FDA Investigation Into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)"
Data is still being collected, there is a collaborative effort amongst practicing veterinarians, the FDA, and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN).
What prompted this ongoing study was a drastic increase in the number of cases of DCM reported to the FDA in 2018 and 2019. Also to be noted is that not all cases of DCM are actually reported to the FDA, so the actual case numbers may be much higher. 90% of the cases with DCM were reported to be on a grain free diet. See the chart on the last page to see listed brands (this list is still being modified as additional diets are being investigated).
Previous reports indicated that the issue was low levels of taurine in these diets. However, many patients with dietary related DCM had normal levels of measured taurine, indicating that there are other factors causing the cardiac issue related to these diets. It also stands to reason that merely supplementing grain free and exotic diets with taurine will not be enough to prevent cases of DCM.
At this time, we and many other vets are recommending complete avoidance of "BEG"* diets - boutique diets, exotic diets (diets with exotic proteins such as bison, alligator, etc), and grain free diets. (BEG acronym courtesy of Lisa Freeman, DVM, DACVN)*
The benefits just do not outweigh the potential risks until we know more. Please call or email us with any questions.
Georgetown Veterinary Clinic 812-951-3388