By Debbie Phillips-Donaldson on February 14, 2019

FDA needs pet food producers to report on any changes in ingredients, processing or formulation.

In its ongoing investigation into atypical cases of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) possibly related to grain-free pet food ingredients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking the industry for information related to changes in ingredients, processing or formulation.

David Edwards, Ph.D., an officer with FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM)’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance, presented an updated on the agency’s DCM investigation during the American Feed Industry Association’s 12th Annual Pet Food Conference, held February 12 in conjunction with the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

What FDA needs from pet food industry

Specifically, Edwards said, CVM needs information from pet food producers relative to the timeframe when most of the new cases of DCM were reported over the past few years, but mainly during 2018. He asked for input on changes in ingredients used, sourcing of ingredients, processing or formulation.

He also asked that pet food companies, academic programs and organizations such as the Pet Food Institute continue their own investigations on any potential issues with formulas and ingredients possibly related to this DCM situation.

Wide range of dogs reported among DCM cases

Through November 30, 2018, CVM had recorded 290 cases of DCM involving 325 dogs (plus a few cats) and 74 pet deaths, Edwards reported. The cases occurred from 2014 through 2018, but most were in 2018. He also presented demographic information showing a wide range of affected pets. For example, the most frequently reported dog breed was Golden Retrievers, with 61 dogs affected, while another 27 were mixed-breed and 25 were Labrador Retrievers. Other breeds with numbers in the double digits included Great Danes at 16 and Australian Shepherds at 11; Edwards listed 15 other breeds with three to nine dogs affected each.

Related to the variety of breeds affected, the dogs’ weight ranged from 8 to 212 pounds, with a mean of 68 pounds. They ranged in age from 0.42 to 16 years, with a mean of 6.5 years; 59 percent were male, 41 percent female.

Among the cats affected, ages ranged from 0.4 to 12 years; the mean was 5.5 years old. Their weight ranged from 7 to 13 pounds, with a mean of 11 pounds. The cats were 60 percent male, 40 percent female.

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