Grain free food/DCM link? Peas and lentils...FDA investigation (thread renamed) - Page 2 - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #26 of 71 (permalink) Old 08-30-2018, 01:16 PM
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Here is an EXCELLENT update to what we know, and what we don't know about taurine induced DCM. This is an article by Linda Case, a canine (and feline) nutritionist. Really, really good information.

From here: https://thesciencedog.wordpress.com/...of-the-matter/ (but also copied below):
______________________________________________

The Heart of the Matter
In mid-July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an alert to veterinarians and pet owners regarding reports of increased incidence of a heart disease called canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This disorder is characterized by weakening of the heart muscle, which leads to a decreased ability of the heart to pump, and if untreated, to cardiac failure. The reported cases occurred in breeds that are not considered to be genetically predisposed to this disorder.

Further, a significant number of the dogs were found to have reduced levels of circulating taurine in their blood and have responded positively to taurine supplementation. It is speculated that these cases are related to the consumption of foods that negatively affect taurine status, leading to taurine-deficiency DCM. Foods containing high levels of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes were identified by the FDA as potential risk factors. These ingredients are found commonly in foods that are formulated and promoted as “grain-free.”

As these things go, there followed a lot of hype and a fair bit of hysteria in response. Let us avoid this type of reaction and instead look at the evidence – what do we currently know about the role of diet and taurine in the development of DCM in dogs and how is it that “grain-free” foods have been recently targeted as a possible dietary cause?

What is Taurine? The nutrient taurine is a unique type of amino acid, called a beta-amino sulfonic acid. It is not incorporated into proteins but rather is found primarily as a free amino acid in body tissues and circulating in the blood. Taurine has many functions, but two that are important for this discussion involve its role in normal heart function and its presence as a component of bile acids, which are needed for fat digestion. Most animals obtain adequate taurine to meet their needs by producing it endogenously (in the body) from two other amino acids, methionine and cysteine.



This means that while animals require taurine physiologically, most do not have a dietary requirement for taurine. The exception to this rule is the cat. Cats (but not dogs) always require a source of taurine in their food. If they do not have it, one of the diseases that they can develop (and possibly die from) is……you guessed it…..DCM.

Taurine-deficiency DCM is well documented in cats. We also know quite a lot about the dietary factors that contribute to this disease in that species. In contrast, dogs (usually) do not require a source of dietary taurine. However, we know that some dogs still develop taurine-deficiency DCM. Why does this happen? The history of DCM in cats can help in untangling what may be occurring in dogs.

Taurine-deficiency DCM in Cats: Looking back, I cannot avoid a sense of déjà vu. In the early 1980s veterinarians began reporting increased incidences of DCM in pet cats. By 1987, a role for dietary taurine was suspected. In a seminal study, a veterinary researcher at UC Davis reported low plasma (blood) taurine levels in 21 cats with clinical signs of DCM (1). When the cats were supplemented with taurine, all 21 completely recovered from the disease. This discovery led to a series of controlled studies that supported the existence of taurine-deficiency DCM developing in cats who were fed diets that contained sufficient concentrations of taurine.

What was going on?

It has to do with Bile Acids: Another role of taurine is the body is that it is necessary for normal bile acid function. Taurine is linked to bile acids in the liver to form bile salts. These compounds are secreted into the small intestine during digestion where they function to aid in fat digestion. Animals are very efficient at conserving the taurine that is secreted into the intestine by reabsorbing the bile salts back into the body further down the intestinal tract. This occurs through a process called “enterohepatic reutilization” and prevents a daily loss of taurine in the feces.

Herein lies the problem for cats with DCM: If anything happens during digestion that causes the degradation of the bile salt taurine or that inhibits its reabsorption into the body, more is lost in the feces. If this happens consistently, the cat will experience an increase in his or her daily need for dietary taurine. Simply put – if anything causes the cat to poop out more taurine-bile acid complexes (or their degraded by-products), the cat will be in danger of a taurine deficiency if a higher level is not provided in the diet.

This is exactly what was happening in the cats with taurine-deficiency DCM – and is possibly what we are seeing today in dogs. The difference is that we know what diet factors caused taurine deficiency in cats during the late 1980s. These factors are not yet fully understood for dogs (but we can make a few guesses).

Here is What We Know: The studies with cats found that several dietary factors influenced taurine status (2,3,4). These were the level and type of dietary protein, the amount and type of dietary fiber, and the degree of heat treatment that was used during food processing. These factors could affect taurine status in three ways:

Bile Acid Binding: Certain fibers and peptides (small protein chains) in the food can bind with bile salts the small intestine and make them unavailable for reabsorption into the body. This results in an increased daily loss of taurine in the feces and a subsequent increase in daily taurine requirement to replace that loss.
Increased Microbial Degradation: Thermal processing of protein (extrusion or canning) can lead to the production of Maillard products – complexes of sugars and amino acids and are poorly digested in the small intestine. The undigested complexes travel to the large intestine and provide an intestinal environment that favors increased numbers of taurine-degrading bacteria. An increase in these bacterial populations reduces the proportion of taurine that is available for reabsorption and reuse by the body.
Reduced Taurine Availability: Taurine is found naturally in animal-based proteins but is not found in plant-based protein sources. Therefore, providing diets that include a sufficient level of high-quality animal proteins (that are not heat damaged) should ensure adequate taurine intake. However, protein that is of low quality or that has been excessively heat-treated will be poorly digested, reducing the availability of taurine and of its precursor amino acids, cysteine and methionine. (Note: Cats produce small amounts of taurine from these precursors, while dogs can produce all of their needs from them, if adequate levels are available).
In response to new information regarding the interaction of dietary factors and taurine status in cats (and their relationship to DCM in cats), the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) increased the recommendations for dietary taurine in extruded and canned cat foods in the early 1990s. The current recommendations are 1000 mg taurine/kg (0.1 %) in dry (extruded) cat foods and 2000 mg taurine/kg (0.2 %) in canned cat foods.

So, What about Dogs? Unlike the cat, dogs that are fed diets containing adequate levels of protein should be capable of synthesizing enough taurine from the two amino acid precursors, cysteine and methionine, to meet their needs. Therefore, a requirement for dietary taurine has not been generally recognized in dogs.

Breed Predispositions: However, there is evidence – evidence that we have had for at least 15 years – that certain breeds of dogs, and possibly particular lines within breeds, exhibit a high prevalence of taurine-deficiency DCM. Genetically predisposed breeds include the American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland and English Setter (5,6). Although the exact underlying cause is not known, it appears that some breeds have either a naturally occurring higher requirement for taurine or a metabolic abnormality that affects their taurine synthesis or utilization.

Size: A second factor that affects taurine status in dogs is size. There is evidence that a large adult size and a relatively slow metabolic rate influences the rate of taurine production in the body and may subsequently lead to a dietary taurine requirement. It is theorized that increased body size in dogs is associated with an enhanced risk for developing taurine deficiency and that this risk may be exacerbated by a breed-specific genetic predisposition. For example, when compared metabolically, Newfoundlands have a significantly lower rate of taurine synthesis than Beagles (7).

There is additional evidence that large and giant breed dogs have lower rates of taurine production compared with small dogs. Ultimately, studies suggest that certain dogs possess a genetic predisposition to taurine depletion and increased susceptibility to taurine-deficiency DCM and that this susceptibility may be related to the combined factors of breed, size and metabolic rate.

What is the Role of Diet? The recent spate of cases and media attention to taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs suggests that this is a very new problem in dogs. However, it is not new. A connection between diet and DCM in dogs was first described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2001 (8). What is new is the sudden focus on certain pet food ingredients and the target that appears to have been placed upon the backs of all “grain-free” pet food brands by some bloggers and veterinarians. Not to put too fine a point on this, but the 12 cases of taurine-deficiency DCM described in the 2001 paper were collected between 1997 and 2001, years before grain-free dog foods had arrived on the pet food scene. Rather than disparage one class or type of dog food (or pet food company), it is more important to look at specific dietary factors that may be involved in DCM in dogs.

Generally speaking, these are expected to be the same as those identified for cats, including low protein levels, poorly processed or heat-damaged proteins (leading to Maillard products), and the inclusion of a high proportion of plant-based protein sources such as peas and legumes.

Over the past 15 years, reduced taurine status in dogs has also been alternately associated with feeding lamb meal and rice diets, soybean-based diets, rice bran, beet pulp, and high fiber diets (9,10,11). As with cats, there appear to be multiple dietary (and genetic) factors involved. For example, it was theorized that the perceived (not proven) association between lamb meal and taurine status was due to low levels of available amino acids present in the lamb meal, or to excessive heat damage of the protein, or to the confounding factor of the inclusion of rice bran in many lamb meal-containing foods. To date, none of these factors have been conclusively proven or disproven. Although, the most recent study showed that three types of fiber source – rice bran, cellulose, and beet pulp – all caused reduced plasma taurine levels in dogs when included in a marginally low protein diet, with beet pulp causing the most pronounced decrease (11).

Complicated? You bet. This is why it is important to avoid making unsupported claims about certain foods and brands. Taurine-deficiency DCM has been around for a while in dogs and continues to need study before making definitive conclusions about one or more specific dietary causes.

What DO we know? We know that any dietary factor that reduces the availability of taurine precursors, binds taurine bile salts in the intestine, or causes an increase in the bacteria populations that degrade taurine can reduce a dog’s ability to synthesize taurine or will increase taurine degradation and/or loss in the feces. These changes could ultimately compromise a dog’s taurine status (especially if the dog was genetically predisposed) and affect heart health. In extreme cases, as we are seeing, this can lead to taurine-deficiency DCM (see diagram below).



FDA Report: The FDA report identified foods that contain high amounts of peas, lentils, legume seeds, or potatoes to be of potential concern. The FDA also stated that the underlying cause of DCM in the reported cases is not known and that at this time, the diet-DCM relationship is only correlative (not causative). However, this has not stopped various bloggers and even some veterinarians from targeting small pet food companies and/or grain-free brands of food, and implying that these foods, and these foods alone, are causing taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs. Their reasoning is that peas and legumes are present in high amounts in foods that are formulated and marketed as grain-free. However, the truth is that many companies and brands of food include these ingredients. More importantly, there is no clear evidence showing that a particular dog food type, brand, or even ingredient is solely responsible for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs.

Rather, it is more reasonable and responsible to speculate that one or more of these ingredients, their interactions, or the effects of ingredient quality, heat treatment, and food processing may play a role. Furthermore, the underlying cause could be the protein, starch, or fiber fractions of these ingredients. As plant-source proteins, peas and lentils and legumes include varying amounts of starch (both digestible and resistant forms) and dietary fiber. These protein sources are also generally less nutritionally complete and less digestible than are high quality animal source proteins – additional factors that could influence a dog’s ability to both produce and use taurine. Potatoes, on the other hand, provide a digestible source of starch in an extruded food but also contain varying levels of resistant starch, which is not digested and behaves much like dietary fiber in the intestinal tract.

The Heart of the Matter: Because any or all of these dietary factors could be risk factors for taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs and because peas, legumes, and other ingredients identified by the FDA report have not yet been fully studied, the heart of the matter is that no conclusions can yet be made about the underlying dietary cause or causes of taurine-deficiency DCM in dogs. Given what we do know, a recommendation is to feed a food that contains sufficient levels high quality, animal-source protein, does not include plant-source proteins as its primary protein source, and does not contain high levels of dietary fiber. If you are worried about your dog’s taurine status or heart health, see your veterinarian for a complete physical examination and if needed, to measure plasma levels of taurine.

Cited Studies:

Pion PD, Kittleson MD, Rogers QR, et al. Myocardial failure in cats associated with low plasma taurine: A reversible cardiomyopathy. Science 1987; 237:764-768.
Earl KE, Smith PM. The effect of dietary taurine content on the plasma taurine concentration of the cat. British Journal of Nutrition 1991; 66:227-235.
Hickman MA, Morris JG, Rogers QR. Effect of processing on the fate of dietary taurine in cats. Journal of Nutrition 1990; 120:995-1000.
Hickman HA, Morris JG, Rogers QR. Intestinal taurine and the enterohepatic circulation of taurocholic acid in the cat. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 1992; 315:45-54.
Freeman LM, Rush JE, Brown DJ, et al. Relationship between circulating and dietary taurine concentrations in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy. Veterinary Therapeutics 2001; 370-378.
Backus RC, Ko KS, Fascetti AJ. Low plasma taurine concentration in Newfoundland dogs is associated with low plasma methionine and cysteine concentrations and low taurine synthesis. Journal of Nutrition 2006; 136:2525-2533.
Ko KS, Backus RC, Berg JR, et al. Differences in taurine synthesis rate among dogs relate to differences in their maintenance energy requirement. Journal of Nutrition 2007; 137:1171-1175.
Fascetti AJ, Reed JR, Roger QR, et al. Taurine deficiency in dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy: 12 cases (1997 – 2001). Journal of the American Animal Veterinary Association 2001; 223:1137-1141.
Delaney SJ, Kass PH, Rogers QR, Fascetti AJ. Plasma and whole blood taurine in normal dogs of varying size fed commercially prepared food. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2003; 87:235-244.
Torres CL, Backus RC, Fascetti AJ, et al. Taurine status in normal dogs fed a commercial diet associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2003; 87:359-372.
Ko KS, Fascetti AJ. Dietary beet pulp decreases taurine status in dogs fed low protein diet. Journal of Animal Science and Technology 2016; 58:29-39.
A version of this article was published in the September 2018 issue of Whole Dog Journal.
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post #27 of 71 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 02:41 PM
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Our pooch Cayenne died Nov. 12, 2017 two years after being diagnosed with DCM. I'm posting on this taurine-related topic because a few months after she died I did an updated search on DCM to find out if there were any new articles on the topic and found https://vethospital.tamu.edu/files/h...alfBooklet.pdf. Then I read the posting here today where the poster stated that taurine supplements definitely helped his Doberman. Cayenne was our third Doberman, our first diagnosed with DCM, and her eating habits had been strange ever since we got her at 8 weeks old. She was always crazy about veggies. Never met a potato peel or a carrot peel or a pea pod she didn't like. Grazed on grass. Headed straight to the garden to start feasting whenever possible. None of our other dobies were ever that obsessed with veggies, they were all more carnivores. 20/20 hindsight, I think she may have been motivated by a taurine and/or L-carnitine deficiency that caused her to be constantly craving. I also wish I'd seen this information three years ago when she was diagnosed, maybe we could have managed more time with her.
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post #28 of 71 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskdobie View Post
Our pooch Cayenne died Nov. 12, 2017 two years after being diagnosed with DCM. I'm posting on this taurine-related topic because a few months after she died I did an updated search on DCM to find out if there were any new articles on the topic and found https://vethospital.tamu.edu/files/h...alfBooklet.pdf. Then I read the posting here today where the poster stated that taurine supplements definitely helped his Doberman. Cayenne was our third Doberman, our first diagnosed with DCM, and her eating habits had been strange ever since we got her at 8 weeks old. She was always crazy about veggies. Never met a potato peel or a carrot peel or a pea pod she didn't like. Grazed on grass. Headed straight to the garden to start feasting whenever possible. None of our other dobies were ever that obsessed with veggies, they were all more carnivores. 20/20 hindsight, I think she may have been motivated by a taurine and/or L-carnitine deficiency that caused her to be constantly craving. I also wish I'd seen this information three years ago when she was diagnosed, maybe we could have managed more time with her.
First, I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Second, I wouldn't assume that there was a taurine deficiency, and you definitely can't blame yourself. In Dobermans, DCM is in all lines, and taurine supplementation is NOT proven to help with DCM or reverse the disease. Veggies are NOT an issue. Please don't blame yourself or buy into headlines...this issue is VERY complex with the stuff coming out about food, and it is different than the genetic DCM that Dobermans develop. Additionally, despite the wide coverage, we are also still looking at a very small number of dogs. That doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention and learn about it, but we also need to know that this is very complex, the vets and researchers don't know exactly what it is yet, and it's NOT a simple answer like taurine deficiency.

Here's an excellent update: It?s Not Just Grain-Free: An Update on Diet-Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy ? Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School

(copying below for easy reading, but credit to Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN published on the link above)
________________________________

You may have read my June 4 post, “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients.” This post had more than 180,000 page views in the first week and continues to get more than 2000 page views a day. So, I’m pleased that people are interested in this important issue and trying to learn about it. But I’ve also found a tremendous amount of confusion and misinformation in the past 5 months including people who doubt that this is a real issue, some who still haven’t heard about it, and people who mistakenly think it’s just grain-free diets or that it’s only related to taurine.

As a result of the continued confusion, some of my cardiologist colleagues and I wrote an article which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. This article provides a summary of our current understanding of diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), how to recognize it, and a recommended protocol for veterinarians to follow when they see dogs with DCM.

To be sure this information reaches as wide an audience as possible and to clear up confusion, I thought I’d provide some updates to address the most common misconceptions I’m hearing:

It’s not just grain-free. This does not appear to be just an issue with grain-free diets. I am calling the suspected diets, “BEG” diets – boutique companies, exotic ingredients, or grain-free diets. The apparent link between BEG diets and DCM may be due to ingredients used to replace grains in grain-free diets, such as lentils or chickpeas, but also may be due to other common ingredients commonly found in BEG diets, such as exotic meats, vegetables, and fruits. In addition, not all pet food manufacturers have the same level of nutritional expertise and quality control, and this variability could introduce potential issues with some products.
Most dogs being diagnosed with DCM do not have low taurine levels. Some owners continue to feed a BEG diet but supplement taurine thinking that this will reduce their risk for heart disease. In our hospital, we currently measure taurine in all dogs with DCM, but more than 90% of our patients with DCM in which taurine has been measured have normal levels (and the majority are eating BEG diets). Yet some of these dogs with DCM and normal taurine levels improve when their diets are changed. This suggests that there’s something else playing a role in most cases – either a deficiency of a different nutrient or even a toxicity that may be associated with BEG diets. Giving taurine is unlikely to prevent DCM unless your dog has taurine deficiency. And given the lack of quality control for dietary supplements, you can introduce new risks to your dog if you give a supplement without evidence that she needs it.
Raw diets and homemade diets are not safe alternatives. Out of concern, some owners are switching from BEG diets to a raw or home-cooked diet. However, we have diagnosed DCM in dogs eating these diets too. And raw and home-cooked diets increase your dog’s risk for many other health problems. So, forego the raw or home-cooked diets and stick with a commercial pet food made by a well-established manufacturer that contains common ingredients, including grains. If your dog requires a home-prepared diet for a medical condition or you feel strongly about feeding one, I strongly recommend you consult with a Board-Certified Veterinary NutritionistTM (acvn.org). However, because home-cooked diets are not tested for safety and nutritional adequacy like good quality commercial diets, deficiencies could still develop.
Current thoughts on DCM

Currently, it appears that there may be three separate groups of dogs with DCM (although this may change as we learn more). I am listing them in the approximate frequency that we are currently seeing them in our hospital:

Diet-associated DCM with normal taurine levels. While this form of the disease was first identified in dogs of breeds not predisposed to DCM that are eating BEG diets, it appears to also occur in dogs of typical DCM breeds that are eating a BEG diet.
Primary DCM in predisposed breeds that is unrelated to diet. This is the traditional, genetically-related DCM in typical breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Irish Wolfhound, and Great Dane.
Diet-associated DCM with taurine deficiency: This is the least common form we are seeing in our hospital. This appears to happen both in breeds predisposed to DCM and breeds that are not predisposed to DCM.
Common questions

We still have a great deal to learn about diet-associated DCM. However, I’m providing answers to some common questions I’ve been getting based on what is currently known:

What’s causing diet-associated DCM in dogs? For the vast majority of dogs, we do not yet know what is causing this disease. There are definitely some dogs with DCM that have low taurine levels, many of which will improve with taurine supplementation and change of diet. For dogs that have normal taurine levels, however, other nutritional deficiencies may be present. Some nutritional deficiencies can affect the heart’s normal function, so an insufficient amount of these nutrients (or reduced bioavailability) in the diet could cause heart disease. Diet-associated DCM could also be due to an ingredient in the food that is toxic to the heart. The FDA and many researchers are actively studying this issue so that it can be solved as quickly as possible.
My dog was diagnosed with DCM. What should I do? Ask your veterinarian to measure taurine levels and give heart medications as directed by your veterinarian. If your dog is eating a BEG diet or other unconventional diet (including vegetarian, vegan, or home-prepared diets), I recommend following the steps outlined in my previous post, including switching to a non-BEG diet. Three updates to my previous post are:
Taurine supplements: Consumer Lab is expected to release a report on independent quality control testing of taurine supplements in late 2018. Given the lack of quality control for dietary supplements (human and pet), having these results will be very useful to find good quality products for dogs that require taurine supplementation. Your veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist can help you determine an optimal dose for your dog.
Other dogs in the household: We are now recommending that other dogs in the household of dogs with DCM that are eating the same BEG diet be screened by their veterinarian since their hearts could also be affected (even if they are showing no symptoms).
Outcome: Not all dogs with DCM will improve and improvements in the echocardiogram, when they do occur, can take a long time (often more than 6 months).
If my dog is eating a BEG diet but has no symptoms, should I test for DCM or switch to a different diet? It’s unlikely that most dogs eating a BEG diet will develop DCM. However, given the fact that we don’t yet understand why BEG diets are affecting some dogs and because DCM is a life-threatening disease, I recommend you reconsider your dog’s diet until we know more. Contrary to popular belief, there are no health benefits of grain-free or exotic ingredient diets except in the rare case of food allergy. If your dog is a part of your family and you want to feed him the very best, be sure to base this important decision on more objective factors than marketing and the ingredient list (see our post). Be sure to watch for early signs of heart disease – weakness, slowing down, less able to exercise, shortness of breath, coughing, or fainting. If you notice any of these, get your dog checked out by your veterinarian who will listen for a heart murmur or abnormal heart rhythm (although not all dogs with DCM have any changes that can be heard with a stethoscope). Your veterinarian (or a veterinary cardiologist) may do additional tests, such as x-rays, blood tests, electrocardiogram, and ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram – the test of choice to diagnose DCM).Tell your veterinarian what you’re feeding your dog. You can help your veterinarian by bringing a list of everything your dog eats to every appointment. If your dog has no symptoms, additional testing is really up to you. Some owners have measured plasma and whole blood taurine levels or scheduled an echocardiogram to check their dog’s heart size and function. However, given the cost of an echocardiogram, other owners have elected to have their veterinarian do a blood test called NT-proBNP, which goes up when the heart is enlarged. While a normal value doesn’t guarantee your dog has no heart disease, a high level suggests your dog’s heart should be evaluated further.
Has diet-associated DCM been seen in cats? The association between BEG diets and heart disease has only been reported in dogs so far. However, that doesn’t mean cats are immune. If your cat is diagnosed with DCM and is eating a BEG, vegetarian, vegan, or home-prepared diet, I recommend following the same protocol as described for dogs with DCM.
Lastly, if your dog has been eating a BEG diet and has been diagnosed with DCM, please don’t feel guilty. I’ve talked to owners who feel terrible because they wanted to provide the finest care for their dog by feeding them the best diet possible. They often spent a lot of money buying an expensive boutique diet and now that same diet may be associated with their dog’s heart disease. Trying to decide what is really the best food is confusing and difficult because of the many different products available, nutrition fads, and compelling marketing. My hope is that the one bright side of this serious situation is that it will shine a light on the complexities of making safe and nutritious pet food and the importance of nutritional expertise and quality control, rather than just what is new and trendy.
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post #29 of 71 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 02:09 PM
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I love this update--it sort of give me credentialed support for stuff I've recommended and/or done with and for my dogs for many years.

It vindicates my decision (years ago) to feed my dogs diets they did well on unless there was some pressing need for a particular dog for a very specialized diet.

It justified my decision to ignoer the various people who have insisted that I am killing my dogs because I have chosen to feed diets created and made by big feed companies (like Purina, Iams, Hills, and Royal Canin)--these companies (Purina for example) not only do extensive testing and evaluating what they put in their feeds, hire nutritionists trained for this but keep colonies of dogs who eat the diets and record the results to provide excellent results for your pet and mine.

I'm not a fan of most of the computer generated diets--what looks good on paper often doesn't pan out in the dish of your dog or mine. I'd much rather know that real dogs are eating and finding palatable the diets formulated by companies like Purina.

So I've fed most of the many years I've owned purebred dogs diets manufactured by the big feed companies, Kennelration back in the 60's when they were one of the biggest anufacturers, later Iams/Eukanuba, Hills Prescription Diets, and for a long time now I've fed most of my dogs ProPlan (Purina)--all of these have served me well as does the ProPlan Focus (Sensitive Skin and Stomach--the Salmon based formula). My now 13 year old Dobe was weaned on the adult formula and still eats it. He likes it, has bright eyes, a lot of vim and vigor for an old Doberman, carries good weight without having to feed a lot of it and his coat is a miracle (but I'll tell you that I regard that more as a result of genetics than solely of what I feed) since he's a fawn with a full coat--at 13.

Does he have DCM? Yeah, he does--but he's been echo'd and Holtered regularly (yearly until he was 7 and twice a year since then) and we could see the slow deterioration in function--he's been on benazepril for years and on Vetmedin since he was 11. He gets fish oil and Vitamin E. I've had Dobes since 1959--I've had friend who were vet almost that long and long ago I knew about cardio in the Doberman--my very first dog was in CHF when he was 9--about the only thing available for treatment then was Lasix--but I was informed about the breed propensity for cardio long before most people ever heard of it.

It's pretty certain that Doberman type DCM is largely genetic (and there are studies on that). And I've actually only lost two Dobes in the very nearly 60 years of dogs to DCM--the first and a fairly recent one whose Holters gave us every reason to believe that he was going to be a sudden death dog--and he was. But the rest of the dogs who were cardio dogs to one degree or another most often died because there was something else going on--and I had the said task of taking my dog to the vet so they could go where all the good dogs go, without a lot of pain and loss of quality of life.

I hope every Dobe owner has a chance to read these two excellent reports that Meadowcat was kind enough to post.

Thanks again, Meadowcat!
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post #30 of 71 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 12:12 PM
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I wanted to bump this thread with the latest from the FDA: https://www.petfoodindustry.com/arti...ed-information

I'm continuing to follow this very closely. I know a (non-Doberman) that is one of the dogs diagnosed with non-genetic, potentially diet-related DCM. It's very interesting to me to read and do my best to understand what is potentially going on, and this is possibly going to have massive implications for the dog food industry. What I'm learning is that it's not necessarily, really, a taurine issue - supplementing these foods with taurine does not solve the issue. It's more complex than that - the formulation of the diets themselves, the combinations of ingredients without actual nutritionists on staff, the lack of feeding trials at most dog food companies - it's a very complex issue. Nutritionists and cardiologists are working to understand what it is that may be causing this.

I'm continuing to follow the developments and research on this. I think those of us that are really proactive in testing our dogs with echos and holters yearly are ahead of the game in detecting anything that comes up. For what it's worth, though, I personally decided to switch my dogs to Proplan.


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post #31 of 71 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 01:16 PM
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This thread has so much info in it...maybe we should make it a sticky, MC??
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post #32 of 71 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melbrod View Post
This thread has so much info in it...maybe we should make it a sticky, MC??
We could. Might need to be renamed...it's about more than taurine There's additional/overlapping info here: https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...a-warning.html


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post #33 of 71 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 01:11 PM
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Update from the FDA today: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary...Lk7TDP-azgP_GM

From the report:
"Between January 1, 2014, and November 30, 2018, the FDA received 300 reports of DCM (294 canine reports, 6 feline reports); 276 of these (273 canine, 3 feline) were reported after the July public notification about FDA’s investigation. Some of these reports involved more than one affected animal from the same household. While there are dog breeds (typically large and giant breeds, plus Cocker Spaniels) that are known to have a genetic predisposition to dilated cardiomyopathy, the reports to the FDA continue to span a wide range of breeds, many that do not have a known genetic predisposition. The FDA has received reports of cats with DCM, but due to the low number of reports (10 since January 2014), dogs are the primary focus of the agency’s investigation. For details about the number of reports, visit the DCM Investigation webpage.

In cases in which dogs ate a single primary diet (i.e., didn’t eat multiple food products, excluding treats), 90 percent reported feeding a grain-free food. Approximately 10 percent reported feeding a food containing grains and some of these diets were vegan or vegetarian. A large proportion of the reported diets in DCM cases – both grain-free and grain-containing – contained peas and/or lentils in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as a main ingredient (listed within the first 10 ingredients, before vitamins and minerals). The products included commercially available kibble, canned and raw foods, as well as home-cooked diets."

Continuing to follow this closely. FYI, I am going to rename this thread.
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post #34 of 71 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 03:29 PM
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I'm also leaning towards Proplan for my next dog but will also see what my breeder is feeding.

Indy was on Earthborn Holistic grainfree out of necessity for the type of protein and to control his chronic colitis. It was the only food we tried that did not give him diarrhea. His Cardiologist group now recommends against grain free. Indy did not have DCM but he did have increased arrhythmias on his last holter before he died March, 2018. He was PDK4 negative and DCM2 Positive Homozygous. His echo was normal.

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post #35 of 71 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 11:52 AM
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I have stickied this thread while the FDA investigation is ongoing.

For those on FB, the FB group "Taurine-Deficient (Nutritional) Cardiomyopathy" has so many educational files - I highly recommend it. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Taur...3711440553707/

Within the group, they chart confirmed cases of nutritional DCM (group members' dogs), and what foods they were eating. By far, Acana and Zignature have been the worst culprits, but Fromm and Taste of the Wild have several cases, and many many others have been implicated.

My dogs have been on Proplan for a couple of months now, and are doing great.
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post #36 of 71 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 04:38 PM
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For what it's worth, I've gone back to ProPlan, as well. Not really because of worrying about DCM (I rarely feed grain free food, anyway) but because so many different dogs just seem to do well on it. We are trying the Focus Salmon and Rice formula, since Leo seems to do better on fish-based foods (although that might just be my imagination).

Funny thing is, I fed Bil-Jac, Science Diet, Iams, and/or ProPlan for years and always thought I was feeding good foods, until I became a "better informed" owner. Then came the quest for the "perfect food". So much angst... I was tying myself up in knots.

They've been on ProPlan for the past couple of weeks. So far, so good.


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post #37 of 71 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 01:35 PM
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This is a more detailed report of what the FDA is actually doing in their investigation, for those interested: https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary...NUIwnWZDmIGfJg

Additionally, some of the nutritionists' recommendations are going beyond simply avoiding grain-free, to only feeding foods from companies that meet WSAVA standards - that's very few companies. Right now, that is limited to Purina Pro Plan, Eukanuba, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Iams. Use that information as you will.


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post #38 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 11:56 AM
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Updating this thread with the latest from the FDA. They have now published the names of companies with the highest number of reported cases, as well as the most reported breeds.

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinar...eN03aadm4#diet

I know this may be an unpopular opinion - I KNOW our breed has genetic DCM, and we haven't really seen reports of nutritional DCM. But if you are feeding one of the formulas that has a high report of cases of nutritional DCM... at least give some thought to this.

These companies have been contacted over and over and over again by people with sick or deceased dogs. All of them continue to say there's nothing wrong with their food. All of the refuse to change. None, to date, have hired a more qualified team of nutritionists to work on their food formulas. None have implemented or expanded feeding trials. They continue to pour money into marketing. None have offered to help with medical expenses for any of the sick dogs. Just some food for thought.

People have been VERY quick to boycott foods with a recall. Is this different? If it is, why? Dogs are dying from this, too.


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post #39 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:18 PM
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Yeah...

I have been toying with the idea of transitioning McCoy from Acana as his kibble base to Purina Pro Plan.

The problem that I have is that he does so well on his current diet. His health couldn't be better. I am thinking about giving it a trial run. My "go to" pet supply store does not carry Purina Pro Plan, but every other close by decent pet store does.

We'll see.

John
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Edit to say: He will get another full cardio work up this summer.
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post #40 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:31 PM
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I'm having a really hard time with this. I did switch from Acana and I feel good about that decision. Unlike Brandy, Newtie is a picky eater and I finally found a food that he likes in Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost. I see that listed in the dog food brands named most frequently in DCM cases though. That's the the stuff that keeps me up at night. Ugh!

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post #41 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4bike ped View Post
Yeah...

I have been toying with the idea of transitioning McCoy from Acana as his kibble base to Purina Pro Plan.

The problem that I have is that he does so well on his current diet. His health couldn't be better. I am thinking about giving it a trial run. My "go to" pet supply store does not carry Purina Pro Plan, but every other close by decent pet store does.

We'll see.

John
Portland OR

Edit to say: He will get another full cardio work up this summer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meldrew79 View Post
I'm having a really hard time with this. I did switch from Acana and I feel good about that decision. Unlike Brandy, Newtie is a picky eater and I finally found a food that he likes in Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost. I see that listed in the dog food brands named most frequently in DCM cases though. That's the the stuff that keeps me up at night. Ugh!

I totally understand, for both of you, and it's really tough. I do know of a couple of Dobermans that had echoes showing early signs of DCM that were eating Acana...they switched to Proplan, and all symptoms resolved. They've had clear echoes ever since. So...it's tough. I don't think Dobermans are immune to whatever's going on. I DO think it's complex, and I don't think it's fully understood yet. I truly, truly wish all of these companies would at least acknowledge that there's a possibility of issues with their food. That they'd start hiring qualified people to work on their formulas....part of my discomfort is the continued denials that it can't possibly be the food, the continued insistence that this is a "conspiracy" by the "bad" food companies (or worse, by veterinarians, the FDA, or all kinds of other crazy things I've heard)....or that it's "only a few dogs" - if it's YOUR dog that's died or is sick, that's pretty awful. Hundreds of dogs are affected, which would certainly be enough for a recall, if it was a situation like salmonella. They just don't yet have a definitive enough answer.

In any case, everyone makes the best decision they can for their own dog. That's all we can do. I'm just sharing the information as I get it, because I think it's worth sharing, and the more we know, the better choices we can make.


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post #42 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 04:16 PM
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For those that would like, this is the file of each report to the FDA by owners. It's fairly troubling to even skim it, seeing repeated foods over and over, and even skimming the details of the DCM diagnoses and details.

https://www.fda.gov/media/128303/dow...MwmGqHsdTt2arw


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post #43 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 04:03 PM
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Just picked up a bag of Purina Pro Plan Savor (shedded salmon and rice). I will start moving him over tonight.

We'll see.

John
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post #44 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 05:30 PM
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I just saw this article

From the article:

Between January 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM, including 119 dog deaths and five cat fatalities. Of those reports, 222 of them came between Dec. 1, 2018, and the end of April, the agency said.
Here is the list of 16 pet food brands and the number of reported DCM cases that the FDA suspects are related to each brand:

Acana: 67
Zignature: 64
Taste of the Wild: 53
4Health: 32
Earthborn Holistic: 32
Blue Buffalo: 31
Nature's Domain: 29
Fromm: 24
Merrick: 16
California Natural: 15
Natural Balance: 15
Orijen: 12
Nature's Variety: 11
NutriSource: 10
Nutro: 10
Rachael Ray Nutrish: 10



She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.
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post #45 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNfisher View Post
I just saw this article

From the article:

Between January 2014 and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM, including 119 dog deaths and five cat fatalities. Of those reports, 222 of them came between Dec. 1, 2018, and the end of April, the agency said.
Here is the list of 16 pet food brands and the number of reported DCM cases that the FDA suspects are related to each brand:

Acana: 67
Zignature: 64
Taste of the Wild: 53
4Health: 32
Earthborn Holistic: 32
Blue Buffalo: 31
Nature's Domain: 29
Fromm: 24
Merrick: 16
California Natural: 15
Natural Balance: 15
Orijen: 12
Nature's Variety: 11
NutriSource: 10
Nutro: 10
Rachael Ray Nutrish: 10
There are definitely more, they just haven't been reported to the FDA necessarily. The Facebook group is pretty enlightening. They've been collecting reports from members that have confirmed cases from cardiologists all over the country...they have over 500 dogs diagnosed with over 100 deaths. All confirmed via echo by cardiologist. Their statistics in the group track pretty closely with the food reports of the FDA, but are more detailed and encompass more brands.


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post #46 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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would love to feed ProPlan however my boy is very high on the food intolerance for white fish. This includes fish meal, herring, tuna, sardines. If someone can point me in a direction of food that does not contain this I would look. Currently feeding Fromm Salmon ALA Veg and doing great.
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post #47 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 08:43 PM
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Article from FDA website, updated June 27, 2019

FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinar...cardiomyopathy

It breaks down numbers of cases associated with different food brands, different meat proteins, vegetable proteins, breeds--specifically warns that Golden Retrievers may be genetically pre-disposed to taurine deficiency.
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post #48 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobegal View Post
would love to feed ProPlan however my boy is very high on the food intolerance for white fish. This includes fish meal, herring, tuna, sardines. If someone can point me in a direction of food that does not contain this I would look. Currently feeding Fromm Salmon ALA Veg and doing great.
Salmon a la Veg has Herring Meal and fish broth in it. His intolerances may not be as extensive as you think? (https://frommfamily.com/products/dog...almon-a-la-veg)

If nothing else, at least that formula is grain-inclusive. I'm not sure what to recommend - I've not looked carefully at all the formulas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melbrod View Post
Article from FDA website, updated June 27, 2019

FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinar...cardiomyopathy

It breaks down numbers of cases associated with different food brands, different meat proteins, vegetable proteins, breeds--specifically warns that Golden Retrievers may be genetically pre-disposed to taurine deficiency.
Same link I posted above


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post #49 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 08:01 AM
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Just yesterday our local news has began posting daily reports regarding the potential connections of dog food and DCM.......they end their report with a request that ......all owners and vets are being requested to report all dog deaths related to DCM. Have any of you seen this yet as you are watching the daily news on TV?
So maybe this is the beginning of a more extensive research in the area of dog foods/DCM.
Hope so.......

Hoss

Last edited by LadyDi; 06-29-2019 at 08:03 AM.
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post #50 of 71 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyDi View Post
Just yesterday our local news has began posting daily reports regarding the potential connections of dog food and DCM.......they end their report with a request that ......all owners and vets are being requested to report all dog deaths related to DCM. Have any of you seen this yet as you are watching the daily news on TV?
So maybe this is the beginning of a more extensive research in the area of dog foods/DCM.
Hope so.......
We've had local news reports around here.

I think what I find so interesting on the "pushback" from people is that if this were 500+ dogs diagnosed with a deadly condition (which it is, at this point) from some dog food like Beneful, people on social media would be absolutely clamouring for recalls and ready to boycott the company. But I'm hearing a lot of "this is statistically insignificant" and similar types of responses, and I think it's because these reports are coming from "good" companies, and it's really hard for us to want to be outraged and feel that same sense of anger. To want a recall. To be angry at those companies for doing nothing. But 500+ dogs sick and 100+ dogs dead is too many, IMO, even if we don't yet know the exact reason why.
dobebug and LadyDi like this.


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Richter & Sypha
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What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
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