Shared Articles – More on the FDA, DCM and Pet Food

< A short link to this post – http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-10JUL19 >

< Updated – 17JUL19 >

< COMING SOON! – A podcast on this topic from The Woof Meow Show of 20JUL19 >

I am occasionally asked, by people that do not know me or the backstory on why I am so passionate about pet nutrition, “You sell pet food, why should we believe or trust anything you say on the topic?” I would be the first to tell them that they are right to question what I tell them. If you want to understand my motives, I encourage to read about my philosophy towards pet nutrition at < FMI – GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil >.

My inbox recently received four new posts discussing the FDA’s recent press release (June 27th, 2019) on their investigation into increased cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Each post provides some valuable additional information not revealed by the FDA. Two of the posts come from well respected, independent authorities on pet nutrition. I have included links to both articles. The other two come from pet food industry publications.

Hemopet Responds to the FDA Implicating 16 Brands of Dog Food That May Cause Heart Disease in Dogs

This article by veterinarian, Dr. Jean Dodds, is dated July 7th and can be found at the Hemopet website at https://www.hemopet.org/fda-updates-dcm-heart-disease-dogs/.

In the first paragraph, Dr. Dodd’s states: “On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) named 16 brands of dog food that may cause heart disease in dogs. The specific heart condition is called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This release has caused national and international concern bordering upon hysteria, without any admitted good reason for listing these food brands. In our opinion, the listing of specific brands was premature and unwarranted.” [Emphasis Added]

Dr. Dodds then goes on to discuss the nutritional science behind this investigation and what we know so far, including some research on this subject that Dr. Dodds believe was flawed. She again criticizes the FDA for causing a public panic “…by not presenting definitive conclusions but implying risk by inference in listed certain pet food brands.” I concur with her statement.

An interesting note in Dr. Dodds article reports that the researchers who initially reported DCM concerns not only focused on grain-free foods but novel protein sources (animal protein other than chicken) used in pet foods, yet “…chicken was the most common protein identified by the FDA – 113 times.” in the DCM cases reported, and not novel protein sources.

She also notes that the FDA investigation has been biased towards Golden Retrievers and that the FDA created an additional bias towards grain-free diets in their press release of July 12, 2018.

Dr. Dodds recommends the FDA review previous studies that have addressed specific diets and a potential connection to DCM. That seems logical, and one must question why it has not been done or has been ignored.

Dr. Dodds than reminds us that many people stopped feeding their dogs feeding grain “…to prevent leaky gut syndrome, to help curb food sensitivities or intolerances to a particular grain, to maintain optimal weight in your dog, etc.” The grains used in pet food do cause problems for some pets. I encourage you to read Dr. Dodds article.

Update on grain-free diets and DCM cases in dog

This article by Nancy Kerns was published on the blog of The Whole Dog Journal on July 9th at – https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/update-on-grain-free-diets-and-dcm-cases-in-dogs/

Kerns and The Whole Dog Journal have been offering an independent review of dog food since their inception and are a source I value when researching pet food. Kerns is also concerned about how DCM and how is it being reported is causing misconceptions about what we know and don’t know. She is also not comfortable with how the FDA is handling this situation, stating: “It’s a bit puzzling, then, why the agency named the brands of foods that were reportedly fed to some of the 560 dogs whose DCM cases they are investigating (and even more puzzling: why they didn’t include the varieties of foods that were implicated, just the company names). Naming the companies suggests that those companies were responsible for the dogs’ illnesses, even as the agency denied this as an explicit causation. We’re not usually conspiracy theorists, but this move undoubtedly gave a boost to these companies’ competitors.” She later goes on to note that some of the companies unfairly implicated also manufacture foods that do not contain any of the ingredients potentially linked to DCM, stating “In the case of these companies, naming only the brand and not the varieties implicated in the reports was a disservice to the companies and consumers alike.”

I share Kern’s concern. I think it is also important to note that so far all of the foods tested have been within specifications. The suggestion that any company did something on purpose to cause DCM is laughable. It does, however, and in my opinion, that the pet food industry needs far tighter regulation that is independent of the pet food companies, which is not the case today.

Kerns concludes with her recommendations, which are very similar to our as noted in my last post. [ FMI –  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-7JUL19 ]

I encourage you to read Kerns article as it provides an additional perspective to this complex issue.

Articles in Industry Trade Journals

In an article on PetfoodInsdutry.com dated July 8th they state: “No causation found between dog food ingredients and DCM – While the FDA has found correlations between certain grain-free dog foods and DCM, they have found no causality. Thousands of dogs have eaten the same diets as the dogs stricken with DCM without becoming ill. FDA lab analysis of grain-free versus conventional dog foods revealed little difference in levels of minerals, amino acids, taurine, protein or other nutrients.” [ Emphasis added ]

Jen Goetz wrote an article for Pet Business entitled Why The FDA’s Latest Statement On Grain-Free Foods Is Dangerous, stating: “Publishing the names of 16 pet food brands that have been anecdotally connected with cases of DCM, without significant weight behind those claims, is misleading to the general public and could undermine a general understanding of the disease itself.” [ Emphasis added ]

Many of the stories in the mass media have used headlines for this story that also implies the companies named have done something wrong when there is nothing to substantiate those claims. The increases in DCM in dogs is a complex issue, but because complicated does not fit into a 2-minute or less sound bite, the general public is not getting the whole story.

Anyone that knows me is very aware that I am not a defender of the pet food industry but often criticize the pet companies as a whole for lack of consumer transparency. However, in this case, I agree with all of those that have stated that naming individual companies was premature and inappropriate.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

FDA Update on Heart Disease in Dogs & What Should You Do? – http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-7JUL19

Shared Blog Post – FDA Updates on Heart Disease in Dogs – Hemopet – Dr. Jean Doddshttps://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2019/04/12/shared-blog-post-fda-updates-on-heart-disease-in-dogs-hemopet-dr-jean-dodds/

UPDATE! – Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs – WDJ Blog Post –  https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/08/06/update-pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs-wdj-blog-post/

UPDATE! – Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs –  https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/07/27/update-pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs/

Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs –  https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/07/22/pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs/

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Petshttp://bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MShttp://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

Web Sites

FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathyhttps://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

Tuffy’s Pet Foods (NutriSource/PureVita/Natural Planet) – A Message Regarding DCM Concernshttps://nutrisourcepetfoods.com/images/content/Tuffy’s%20DCM%20Statement%20(7-1-19).pdf

Fromm Response to Updated FDA DCM Complaint Reportinghttps://frommfamily.com/connect/fda-dcm-20190701/

Zignature Statement in Response to FDA Findingshttps://www.zignature.com/statement-on-dcm/

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©17-Jul-19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Podcast – Pets in the News No. 3

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from June 1st, 2019, Kate and Don discuss recent information about pets published on the internet. Stories and articles they address are:

 

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

©01JUN19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – FDA Updates on Heart Disease in Dogs – Hemopet – Dr. Jean Dodds

On July 23rd I first updated you on a report by the FDA discussing a potential connection between grain-free pet foods and canine heart disease. Today while attending a webinar presented by Dr. Jean Dodds I learned of new information on this topic release by the FDA. This information indicates that “Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.”

In her analysis of this new information from the FDA, Dr. Dodds notes “The framing of a possible connection between grain-free diets and DCM in dogs was premature and set off alarm bells across the veterinary and dog world communities.” I encourage you to read her complete blog article at https://www.hemopet.org/fda-updates-heart-disease-dogs/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog

( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Podcast – Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MShttp://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

UPDATE! – Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs – WDJ Blog Post – < https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/08/06/update-pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs-wdj-blog-post/ >

UPDATE! – Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs – < https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/07/27/update-pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs/ >

Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs – < https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/07/22/pet-nutrition-grain-free-foods-and-fda-reports-of-increased-heart-disease-in-dogs/ >

Pet Nutrition – Grain-Free Foods and FDA Reports of Increased Heart Disease in Dogs

Updated on 23JUL18

On July 12th the US Food and Drug Administration published a report online entitled FDA Investigating Potential Connection Between Diet and Cases of Canine Heart Disease. You can read the entire report by < clicking here >.

Since the FDA report was released, the mass media has been jumping all over this story causing concern for many pet parents. We believe this is unfortunate as the FDA report is anything but conclusive, nor is it backed by hard evidence.

So what should you do if you want to do the best for your dog?

  • Read the remainder of this article and get the “rest of the story.”
  • Know that there are many dog foods available that do not contain the ingredients that the FDA is concerned about, certain legumes and potatoes.
  • Do not be in a panic to immediately change what you are feeding, however, if you stop by we would be glad to introduce you to other dog food options that do not contain those ingredients.
  • Rotate your dog’s diet through several different protein sources and even brands of foods. Not sure how to do that, ask us. We have been recommending dietary rotation for many years. FMIhttp://bit.ly/DietRotation
  • Never stop reading the ingredient list on your pet’s food nor presume that all pet food companies are equal and are primarily concerned with your pet’s health.
  • Subscribe to our email newsletter, Don’s Words, Woofs and Meows blog, and “Like” and follow the Green Acres Kennel Shop Facebook page. We will be updating this story as we get more information in all three areas.

At Green Acres Kennel Shop we are committed to offering the best products for your pet’s nutritional needs. We do not add a pet food to our offerings without doing a great deal of research on the specific brand of food including the company behind it. No matter how popular a brand is, if we are not convinced that it offers sound nutrition, we will not sell it. If you have followed which brands we have carried over the years you know, we do not hesitate to drop a brand when necessary. We offer a wide variety of dog and cat foods from many brands in many formats; dry food (kibble), wet food (canned), freeze-dried raw, and frozen raw. Many do not include potatoes or peas. We will be watching this situation closely and providing updates through our email newsletter, Don’s Words, Woofs and Meows blog, and on our Facebook page.

The key concern addressed in the FDA report is that veterinarians have observed an increase of dogs presenting with canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). While certain breeds are genetically predisposed to DCM ( Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, Doberman Pinschers, and American and English Cocker Spaniels ), some of the recent cases of DCM have occurred in breeds where DCM is atypical ( Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog and Miniature Schnauzers, as well as mixed breeds ). The FDA report does not indicate the total number of DCM cases reported.

The FDA report than goes on to strongly suggest that the rise in DCM may be due to the increased use of grain-free foods, specifically those containing high levels of certain legumes or potatoes. The report states “…but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of DCM.” Perhaps it is just poor wording, but this statement appears to say that the increase in DCM is directly related to legumes and potatoes, yet there is no evidence that this is the case. While there may be a correlation, there is no evidence of causation, at least yet.

There has been an increase in the percentage of pet parents requesting and feeding grain-free diets in the past several years. There has also been an increase in tick-borne diseases and the use of powerful chemicals to control ticks. I am not suggesting there is a link to DCM and the chemicals we use for ticks; I am just pointing out that there are potentially many other changes in our dog’s lives and environment that may correlate to the increase in DCM. If evidence is discovered, that proves the increase in DCM is caused by the composition of our dog’s food that would also suggest a serious deficiency in the regulations for the testing of pet foods.

The pet food industry is watching this situation closely and does want to understand it and make changes if the ingredients used in grain-free foods are indeed the cause. On July 19th on Petfood Industry.com, Tim Wall shared this quote from Greg Aldrich, PhD, Kansas State University pet food program coordinator, president of consultancy Pet Food and Ingredient Technology Inc.; “We may be jumping to some conclusions and over zealous speculation about what really underlies the challenge with DCM as it relates to what the FDA statement has been. There are probably more questions than there are answers at this stage of the game.”

The FDA was a bit more clear in an interview with Petfood Industry.com where Anne Norris, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine health communications specialist stated; “The FDA is still investigating individual ingredients under the legume, pulse or potato “umbrella. So, I would suggest not taking intuitive leaps beyond what is explicitly stated in our public notice right now… It is still early in the investigation and right now we’re simply notifying the public, practitioners, and manufacturers that we are observing a signal that warrants further study, The common thread seems to be legumes and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. Currently, it’s a correlative link, not a causative one. We’re hoping that after receiving data from pet owners and veterinarians, we will have more data to further inform our investigation.”

 

Key points in the FDA report.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. These reports are unusual because DCM is occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease.”
  • Canine DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. The underlying cause of DCM is not truly known, but is thought to have a genetic component. Breeds that are typically more frequently affected by DCM include large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Doberman Pinschers. It is less common in small and medium breed dogs, except American and English Cocker Spaniels. However, the cases that have been reported to the FDA have included Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, a Shih Tzu, a Bulldog and Miniature Schnauzers, as well as mixed breeds.”
  • Diets in cases reported to the FDA frequently list potatoes or multiple legumes such as peas, lentils, other “pulses” (seeds of legumes), and their protein, starch and fiber derivatives early in the ingredient list, indicating that they are main ingredients. Early reports from the veterinary cardiology community indicate that the dogs consistently ate these foods as their primary source of nutrition for time periods ranging from months to years. High levels of legumes or potatoes appear to be more common in diets labeled as “grain-free,” but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of DCM. Changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinarian.” [ Emphasis added ]

Responses from Pet Food Manufacturers

Tuffy’s (manufacturer of NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet )

Tuffy’s Pet Foods is aware of this FDA notification and as a responsible leader in the super-premium pet food industry we are wholly supportive of any study that improves pet health and safety. Tuffy’s has not been notified of any of its products being involved in this FDA notification and is conducting basic research into this matter.

Tuffy’s, maker of NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet pet foods offers a wide variety of solution based, nutrient focused diets that include our proprietary Good 4 Life system which supports gut health, skin and coat, odor control and brain function for optimum health and well-being. The Good 4 Life system is ideal for rotational feeding and allows for smooth transitions to any of our foods. Pet owners can learn more about the solutions we provide by visiting www.nutrisourcepetfoods.com

The FDA continues to recommend that changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinary professional.

Tuffy’s has a toll free number listed at the bottom or an email address, also listed if you would like to discuss this issue with us.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

< *Recommended to Read First >


*What do you feed your dog?
http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

*Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – My story with Gus – http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

*Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? – http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

*Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense – http://bit.ly/DietRotation

*Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016.  – http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

*Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton – http://bit.ly/RuinedByExcess-BookReview

*Book Review – Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultze – http://bit.ly/NatNutritionCats-BookReview

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/


Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 –
http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?  – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

Pet Nutrition – New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutritionhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/19/pet-nutrition-new-zealand-dog-diet-study-a-wake-up-call-for-dog-nutrition/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Shared Blog Post – FDA on a Witch Hunt Against Commercial Pet Food? A Little Spritz of This Makes Pet Food Far Saferhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/28/shared-blog-post-fda-on-a-witch-hunt-against-commercial-pet-food-a-little-spritz-of-this-makes-pet-food-far-safer/

Pet Nutrition – From Dr. Karen Becker – A Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Is Not Healthy For Your Dog or Cathttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/27/pet-nutrition-from-dr-karen-becker-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-is-not-healthy-for-your-dog-or-cat/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

 < *Recommended You Listen to First >

*What do you feed your pets? – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourPets-Podcast

*Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – http://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

*Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harrington – http://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

 

 

©22-Jul-18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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