DCM and 'Grain Free Foods' and FDA Warning - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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DCM and 'Grain Free Foods' and FDA Warning

This came up on my news feed, so I decided to read it. Roxie, my 6yo Doberman is allergic to wheat, so I feed her other grains. I also know that DCM can be a problem for Dobermans in particular....

https://www.americanveterinarian.com...-heart-disease

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 08:35 PM
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I was never interested in jumping on the grain-free bandwagon, but do exclude soy, wheat and corn.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 09:23 PM
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This is a better written article from which the OP original link was generated from... A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients ? Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School

To me its really hard to pick on some of the "exotic plant" based food sources that are used when you really look at the practice of food rendering which usually makes up the bulk of the protein source of most dog foods.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 09:44 PM
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It's rather interesting how fast the FDA jumped on the grain free food issue compared to how they responded the melamine poisoning in 2006/2007 or the continued issues with imported chicken jerky. It would be interesting to see who's money is behind that study and who's greasing the palms at the FDA.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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My oldest Doberman, Roxie, had pancreatitis from trying to eat goose poop at the lake. Since that time, I've always been pretty aware of what she eats as she has ingested many things she should not have when she was a puppy. I have heard that certain high fat dog foods for dogs (won't name the popular brand) will cause a lot of pancreatitis.

I'm sure FDA got a lot of heat about the melamine poisoning of dogs. There are a lot of mistakes that FDA makes, but they are supposed to protect consumers. (I'm a pharmacist and studied clinical drug trials recently.)

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-17-2018, 12:17 PM
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There was a discussion about this issue a short while ago here on DT:

https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...1-taurine.html

In the thread I linked, one of my comments has a link to a presentation that is public on Facebook by a veterinary cardiologist to the Doberman Club of Dallas. She does briefly discuss this issue.

Basically, the theory is that the heavy legume/pea content that is used in most grain-free foods is somehow affecting the way dogs are able to absorb taurine, thus causing taurine deficiency induced DCM (which is reversible depending on stage, if I understand correctly). They've found this as DCM has been popping up in a bunch of breeds not traditionally diagnosed with DCM, and the common link has been a grain-free diet.

The investigation is still in the early stage. Many cardiologists are recommending dogs be switched to more traditional, grain inclusive diets (or, some approve of appropriately formulated raw diets), providing your dog tolerates grains well (and most dogs do).

Personally, my dogs do just fine on grain. After doing a lot more research into dog nutrition from actual canine nutritionists (rather than self-proclaimed internet experts), I learned so much more about dog food and dog nutrition, and made some different choices about dog food.

This blog has some good posts on nutrition - she is a board certified veterinary nutritionist: https://weethnutrition.wordpress.com/
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 05:46 PM
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Just lost my best friend last week to DCM. His parents were free of heart problems.Currently looking for another friend. I did feed a salmon kibble from a designer food mfg. Not again !
He was almost 6 yrs old.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 06:15 PM
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Just lost my best friend last week to DCM. His parents were free of heart problems.Currently looking for another friend. I did feed a salmon kibble from a designer food mfg. Not again !
He was almost 6 yrs old.
First, I am so sorry for your loss.

Second, I think it would be very premature to say it was the food. Although I am concerned about this, everything I've read and from what I've discussed with our cardiologists locally, they've been seeing this issue in breeds not typically prone to DCM. Does that mean it couldn't be the cause in a Doberman? No. However, in the dogs that have been identified with this type of DCM, it's been reversible, which is NOT the case with the type of DCM that Dobermans have. So, yes, I do think it's something we should pay attention to, and something to follow, but I wouldn't assume, at all, that it was the cause of your dog's DCM. DCM can pop up in ANY Doberman line, no matter whether the parents are (currently) clear or not. The best breeders can do is look at pedigrees, do their best to breed complimentary pedigrees with low rates of DCM, and do yearly testing. There are no guarantees in this breed.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 07:16 AM
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Very interesting reading here ! And - Ken is more confused than ever !

Some questions here -

1. Is there really a set standard for what a dog - cat should have in there diet ( balanced ) diet ? Like what they say a human should have in there diet ? It's my understanding that there is not - yet As in any livestock - it would be different in breed - as what they should have - right or wrong ?


2, I like the part in MC's link about - the protein source - where they would use cheaper ingredients to get it = Soy Haul Pellets = made from the hauls of soybeans - Beet Pulp Pellets = left over from the processing of beets - Chicken By Product meal = left over chicken parts - yes - this includes feathers , DDG's = Dried Distillers Grain = The left over corn - ground - for the production of Ethanol - This is cheaper than using the real stuff !

3. Is the rise in DMC related in other dogs really a rise ? Has it always been there ? But now - the Vets are testing for it and know what to look for now ? Just asking

4. We have worked with livestock here on the farm for many years - used different feeds - there Nutritionist's all had a different idea on what to feed and the amounts to feed - In farming - it's all about rate of gain = lb's gained vs grain feed - and to get this - it takes a balanced diet - it also has to do with health - as what we are taking about here in your dogs - cats .

5. Going back to #1. Until there is a set standard - across the board for all dog food product's - then I think we will still be at the mercy of the company's selling there food - as in there's is the best and only type to feed .

… Ken
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 09:01 AM
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Very interesting reading here ! And - Ken is more confused than ever !

Some questions here -

1. Is there really a set standard for what a dog - cat should have in there diet ( balanced ) diet ? Like what they say a human should have in there diet ? It's my understanding that there is not - yet As in any livestock - it would be different in breed - as what they should have - right or wrong ?


2, I like the part in MC's link about - the protein source - where they would use cheaper ingredients to get it = Soy Haul Pellets = made from the hauls of soybeans - Beet Pulp Pellets = left over from the processing of beets - Chicken By Product meal = left over chicken parts - yes - this includes feathers , DDG's = Dried Distillers Grain = The left over corn - ground - for the production of Ethanol - This is cheaper than using the real stuff !

3. Is the rise in DMC related in other dogs really a rise ? Has it always been there ? But now - the Vets are testing for it and know what to look for now ? Just asking

4. We have worked with livestock here on the farm for many years - used different feeds - there Nutritionist's all had a different idea on what to feed and the amounts to feed - In farming - it's all about rate of gain = lb's gained vs grain feed - and to get this - it takes a balanced diet - it also has to do with health - as what we are taking about here in your dogs - cats .

5. Going back to #1. Until there is a set standard - across the board for all dog food product's - then I think we will still be at the mercy of the company's selling there food - as in there's is the best and only type to feed .

… Ken
Ken, I highly recommend this book: Dog Food Logic, by Linda Case She's a canine nutritionist (has a master's degree in canine and feline nutrition. It's a short, easy to understand book, and it explains what dogs do need as the basics in their diet.

There are standards, which is what AAFCO has set as the standard diet - when you see on dog food bags "this meets the AAFCO standard" (I'm not getting the exact wording correct, but you know what statement I mean?). HOWEVER - this could mean a couple of things - some dog foods are formulated by scientists (to meet the standards and needs of a dogs), go through lab analysis, and then *further* tested through feeding trials. Many foods are simply formulated and tested by lab analysis - most do not do feeding trials with animals anymore (as in, smaller "boutique" companies), so they don't see how they perform in actual dogs over time. The scoffed at Purina, for example, is a company that has done feeding trials - Proplan is a food that's been tested and analyzed in ways that some of the smaller food companies just haven't been.

Cats are obligate carnivores, unlike dogs - their dietary needs are totally different.

I can't answer about the rise in DCM other than that I've spoken to our own cardiologist here, and she's following the research going on. There does seem to be a rise in identified cases, in breeds that do NOT traditionally get diagnosed, and it's enough that the FDA has opened a case and are tracking the situation, cardiologists are studying the situation and trying to figure out the cause, etc. They've not said that it's definitely the food, just that so far, food seems to be the common link between the dogs identified - no common ancestry between the dogs, etc.

It's something I'm following. I don't think we need to panic, but given what I've learned about nutrition from the actual experts (veterinary nutritionists, other canine nutritionists), and because we have a breed prone to DCM, I've chosen personally not make sure my dogs are not on grain-free diets. They do just fine on grains, so they are on good food that they do well on, but doesn't include peas or legumes.

Don't know if that's helpful, but there you go.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 10:04 AM
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All I know MC is it's about time you got out of bed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew you would reply and waited and waited and waited ! So I gave up ! lol So what did I do to pass the time ??? I made a big bowl of Spaghetti Salad ! That took 1 red - 1 orange and 1 hula pepper - all cut up ! + 1 red onion + 1 cucumber - + 1 Zucchini + boiling a box of Spaghetti ! Mixed all up and added a bottle of Zesty Italian dressing ! Now I have to go clean up before I can rely back to yeah !

Back after bit

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 10:38 AM
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Thanks MC for your reply - always good to read your stuff ! But - I think I really need to read the book first before I can draw a opinion -

Remember back years ago - they said eating egg's was bad for yeah - killed the egg market - then they cam back out and said - now after different studies they are good for yeah - lol

I know - it's not the same thing - yet - it needs more study to narrow it down - sometimes - the most obvious turn's out to be a non factor .

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post

There are standards, which is what AAFCO has set as the standard diet - when you see on dog food bags "this meets the AAFCO standard" (I'm not getting the exact wording correct, but you know what statement I mean?). HOWEVER - this could mean a couple of things - some dog foods are formulated by scientists (to meet the standards and needs of a dogs), go through lab analysis, and then *further* tested through feeding trials. Many foods are simply formulated and tested by lab analysis - most do not do feeding trials with animals anymore (as in, smaller "boutique" companies), so they don't see how they perform in actual dogs over time. The scoffed at Purina, for example, is a company that has done feeding trials - Proplan is a food that's been tested and analyzed in ways that some of the smaller food companies just haven't been.
There are actually three ways a food can be labeled for nutritional adequacy. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/readinglabels#Adequacy The first two are the most common.

1. “___________ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for ___________.”

2. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ______________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for _____________.”

3. “_____________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for ___________ and is comparable to a product which has been substantiated using AAFCO feeding tests”

This is some information from AAFCO on how to read pet food labels. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/readinglabels


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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 01:39 PM
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There are actually three ways a food can be labeled for nutritional adequacy. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/readinglabels#Adequacy The first two are the most common.

1. “___________ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for ___________.”

2. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ______________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for _____________.”

3. “_____________ provides complete and balanced nutrition for ___________ and is comparable to a product which has been substantiated using AAFCO feeding tests”

This is some information from AAFCO on how to read pet food labels. https://talkspetfood.aafco.org/readinglabels
Thanks, Rosemary! I didn't have time to look that up

I do encourage you to know which of those your dog's food is. It's generally not easily understood by reading labels.


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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 02:10 PM
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I've been feeding grain free for years with no issues. I do however supplement what I feed with fresh foods such as berries, bananas, yogurt, cottage cheese, veggies, and eggs everyday. My Harvard is currently 10 1/2 and his mother lived to 11.
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 05:41 PM
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What Fitzmar said. ^^^^. I feed a grain free 5 star kibble, with pretty much the identical added food that Fitz mentioned plus a few more. I also add fish oil and Vitamin E.

McCoy had a full Cardio work up at a little over 3 yo by a very well respected canine cardiologist. His results were golden. I will have him tested again (Echocariagram, 24 hour Holter moniter. and I'll toss in a full blood panel for good measure.

John
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 08:25 AM
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Question here - lol Is the No grain vs grain - like the GMO vs Non GMO in people food ?

Just some --- " Food " for thought
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 09:26 AM
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I'm pretty much a "feed what your dog does well on, and what you feel comfortable feeding" person. I don't get bent out of shape by what people recommend online, nor by what other people feed, try to keep myself educated by trustworthy people, hope not to be too influenced by food "trends" while still keeping abreast of good information. It's tough! We want to do what's best for our best friends. We all make the best decisions we can and I'm certainly not going to tell anyone else what to do...I personally won't feed something like Kibble's n Bits, but, that said, there are plenty of dogs who live long lives on stuff like that, and do just fine. Truly, I do think people get a bit too worked up about pet food, NOT worked up enough about keeping their dogs at a healthy weight, getting a reasonable amount of exercise, etc.

Like I said, I personally feel this is something that bears watching. There's not any conclusive info yet. My dogs do fine on grain inclusive food, so that's what I feed, out of an abundance of caution. It's an interesting topic.


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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 04:10 PM
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For those on Facebook, there's a discussion on the Fromm page where Fromm has answered some questions about their food (both grain free and not). They supplement their foods with additional taurine, while many companies do not. It's interesting reading, some good questions asked (among the usual FB clutter).

Check it out if you're interested: https://www.facebook.com/frommfamily...type=3&theater
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzmar Dobermans View Post
I've been feeding grain free for years with no issues. I do however supplement what I feed with fresh foods such as berries, bananas, yogurt, cottage cheese, veggies, and eggs everyday. My Harvard is currently 10 1/2 and his mother lived to 11.
Eggs, cooked or raw?. What food do you feed?. Thanks, Susan

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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-01-2018, 01:38 PM
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Eggs, cooked or raw?. What food do you feed?. Thanks, Susan

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I feed Annamaet Aqualuk - which is a fish based grain free, and have been feeding it for probably 8ish years now. My Jezebel has copper storage disease and it has the lowest amount of copper you can find outside of the RX kibbles for liver disease (you do have to contact the manufacturer for the copper amount). I do cook my eggs till the whites are not runny, they get plain yogurt in the am, and cottage cheese at night..... fruit in the morning (usually berries) and veggies at night. Jezebel gets 4 eggs a day, the other two each get one. I also give fish oil, and have done coconut oil.... but switched back to fish oil.
My husband is also known to give them all kinds of crap - haha. They like caesar salad and anything left over from breakfast or dinner.

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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
For those on Facebook, there's a discussion on the Fromm page where Fromm has answered some questions about their food (both grain free and not). They supplement their foods with additional taurine, while many companies do not. It's interesting reading, some good questions asked (among the usual FB clutter).

Check it out if you're interested: https://www.facebook.com/frommfamily...type=3&theater
Just catching up on this thread. Thanks for this link MC. I missed this. Anyway, I have a lengthy discussion with Baron's cardiologist on this subject on our last visit. Baron has been on grain free since we got him. Yes, he has DCM but the grain did not cause him to have DCM. In Dobermans it is genetics! His cardiologist suggested we switch just as a precaution but he feels the main concern in the vet community is that they are seeing more and more DCM in breeds that are not prone to getting DCM and that is why they are looking into the grain free food thing.
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-02-2018, 10:31 AM
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Here is the FDA warning: http://https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/newsevents/cvmupdates/ucm613305.htm.

A few observations:
  • The alert is about “pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients”
    • It is not directly about “grain-free” kibble, although most grain-free kibbles have one or more of these items as a main ingredient, and for whatever reason, the media has latched onto “grain-free” in most of their headlines.
    • To be prudent, check the ingredient list on your dog’s food; don’t assume something based on whether it has grains or not. It’s not directly about the presence or absence of grains.
  • Not all dogs fed with one or more of these as a main ingredient are affected.
    • There are many, many dogs who have been and are being fed this way. Only about 180 of these maybe-diet-based DCM cases were reported to the FDA as of August 10, 2018.
    • Therefore, there are many, many stories of dogs doing well on grain-free diets where these ingredients are common.
    • But even one case of diet-based DCM (if it turns out diet is a fctor in these) is too many. And diet may be a factor (again, inclusion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients).
  • Dogs of various breeds are affected.
    • It is possible that a Doberman can be affected by whatever this is, too. But this breed is sadly greatly affected by DCM caused by hereditary factors. And that far, far overshadows the few that might be affected by whatever this is.
    • Still again, one is too many. I don’t think this should be ignored by any breed. Even though DCM in a Doberman is almost always (if not always) caused by genetics, it is possible very, very, VERY few cases are / were not.

My take: if your dog has no issue with grains, finding a good food without the potentially problematic ingredients is relatively easy. It may be worth switching until this is all sorted out. And if your dog needs grain-free, researching choices and whether the potentially problematic ingredients are listed early on the label is a good idea. You can also ask about taurine levels in the food since low levels were found in the blood of many of the dogs affected.

Last edited by danacc; 09-02-2018 at 10:39 AM.
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 02:22 PM
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So very interesting. I never understand why something things are more important to the FDA than others. It must be a money thing. I definitely say just watch your own dogs and make sure they are living their best lives.
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 12:26 PM
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Bumping this thread...

I personally know of a non-Doberman that just got diagnosed with extremely low taurine levels. He was fed a properly balanced raw diet (owner is a very long time raw feeder and it was definitely appropriate). It was found because they found a heart murmur, did the taurine testing, found the very low taurine levels. He has been switched to kibble and supplemented with taurine and is doing well.

So...very, very interesting.


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