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FDA Investigates Potential Connection to Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs

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  1. LILI

    They may only have to do something about this because these crappy ingredients cause death sooner, through heart failure, rather than later, through organ failure or cancer, like many other garbage ingredients do. Can’t have people being able to draw a direct line between food and illness. Slow poisoning that can’t be definitively traced is what the FDA and pet food companies are comfortable with.

  2. T Allen

    Of course it would have been better to get it approved first but that takes years and people wanted less grains so they had to move quickly to keep their market share. As we all know, it’s only about the money.

  3. Linda Horn

    Low taurine levels were linked to DCM in cats years ago, so it may be a similar mechanism at work in dogs. Obviously, plant proteins do not have the same amino acid profile as animal proteins, so it would be nice to know just how much of the protein in the suspect dog feed is animal-derived versus plant-derived. Any clues as to whether the FDA will investigate any further? I know it took research funded by a non-profit organization to find the original link between low taurine levels and DCM in cats.

    1. Catherine

      What I found interesting is that the majority of the reported cases had normal blood levels of taurine, meaning there is likely a different cause in this case (although like you said with the different amino acid profile of legumes and potatoes that just might not be thorough enough to rule out that it is in fact a taurine issue). So interesting the short history of pet food and how we learn so much through trial and error instead of research. Ugh.

  4. Chris

    I’ll check labels for peas in the future and adjust the diet. This somewhat reminds me of the time I figured out the soy free kibble I was feeding was causing problems with my spayed older female lab/sharpei mix. She couldn’t control her urine while sleeping so would jump up from a soaked bed confused. The vet would probably prescribe proin which has some nasty side effects. I tried soy supplements and switched foods and the problem went away on its own.

  5. Peter

    So many manufacturers are no dependent upon peas/pea proteins… as you work to ensure consumer awareness of this issue, it will be interesting to see how it impacts the industry.

  6. Peg

    The lack of taurine in the diet is a large part of the problem in my opinion.
    Vegetable/pea proteins and vegetable legume proteins have no taurine
    Cooking the crap out of everything destroys the nutrients also
    Taurine is an essential amino acid that is cardio protective and protects the eyes as well. Taurine added to canned food is destroyed by the manufacturing process

    I supplement my cats’ raw diet with taurine
    My friend supplements her dog’s canned “cooked” diet with taurine added to his food

    We get our taurine from Alnutrin

  7. Diane Harrell

    Why is the concern only for dogs eating this ingredient…what about our cats, ferrets, etc?

  8. Jamie Turner

    Hi Susan, we made the switch to Open Farm after purchasing the list a few months ago. The ingredients do contain peas though, do you have any insight on this? We want to make sure we’re giving our boys the healthiest option we can. Thank you!

  9. Susan Taylor

    The report on peas, potatoes, and lentils linked to causing DCM, does not specify if it is green peas or chick peas. Does it matter? I have added peas and carrots to my dogs diets for an extra filler, because my Boxer seems to not get full, but I have not done that in a while, I turned to broccoli, so I just wanted to know just to be safe as to not do that anymore. I use Dr. Tim’s Metabolite kibble mixed with The Farmers Dog Turkey recipe.. Good choice or not? Appreciate your advice, as I really do rely on your recommendations. Thank You.

  10. Ms. B Dawson

    A couple of things crossed my mind as I read this. Let me preface my comments with this – I haven’t yet read the FDA advisory itself.

    There is a vague statement that the affected dogs “frequently” ate foods containing the suspected ingredients and no mention of what brands. At this time food seems to be the common thread but not a slam dunk.

    What is the total number of dogs involved? The only numbers I saw were the four specifically mentioned atypical breeds with taurine deficiency. The number of dogs affected and under study is important to determine the level of concern. If it’s 100 dogs, that’s not many given the amount of food with these ingredients. If it’s thousands, that’s different.

    If the numbers are in fact small, I have to ask the reason FDA has singled out this health threat when they have moved at a glacial pace on other’s that have affected thousands of pets over years. Could it be an attempt to open up opportunities for companies who believe ground yellow corn or corn gluten meal are acceptable ingredients? Think about what the consumer reaction will be to this. Many will reflexively abandon food with these ingredients and look for other options. How many will follow the FDA recommendation to change their dog’s diet in consultation with their vet? We all know what brands are going to be recommended!

    The other thing that bothers me is the taurine deficiency. Taurine is a heat sensitive AA and doesn’t survive well in the extrusion process. Consequently pet food – dog and cat – is supplemented with taurine to assure proper levels. I would assume if one brand predominated, FDA would have looked for taurine deficiencies in that brand and issued a more selective alert/recall. This suggests to me that other things were going on with these particular dogs.

    I agree that FDA allowed unapproved ingredients on the market, one more failure on their part. Or is it? My suspicion is they take the “give them enough rope to hang themselves” tact, sit back and then wait for opportunities such as this. It is a very cost efficient way of doing things when you are an underfunded organization. The testing is done on the public at large and Congress sees disgruntled voters. FDA then gets to complain about lack of funding and away we go….

    1. Claire

      Well stated B Dawson and I was about to post similar comments but you already made my point!

    2. Nancy

      Ditto! You wrote my thoughts exactly!

  11. Terri Christenson janson

    I have started adding taurine to my dogs home cooked and kibble supplement diet recently after my group suggested it. 1 tsp per 50 pound dog.

  12. Lori Guthrie

    Another idea is one thing that is rarely discussed or thought about – how many of these dogs were or are walked primarily with a collar versus a harness. It is proven that when a dog pulls even a little bit it causes stress on their trachea as well as compromise their breathing which in turn can cause stress on their heart. It also reduces the oxygen levels to their eyes –

  13. Memory Armstrong

    Have any of these dogs been tested for Chagas Disease. Chagas can be asymptomatic, so the dog may not show other signs of Chagas. This disease affects the heart and a death from Chagas looks like DCM. It is spread by coming into contact with the droppings of the Kissing Bug which is prevalent throughout the South.

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