A new study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) highlights ingredients in dog food that may be associated with canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
According to the report published on August 5, the researchers compared traditional canine food with that which the FDA associates with DCM, examining more than 800 ingredients. Food that is believed to be related to cardiomyopathy is often labeled “cereal-free” and usually contains certain ingredients, including peas and potatoes, used to replace other ingredients such as rice or corn.
Canine dilated cardiomyopathy is a fatal disease of the heart muscle of the dog, which results in hypertrophy of the heart. Ultimately, this can lead to heart failure and death. The disease has been widely regarded as a genetic predisposition in some breeds, including Dobermanns, German mastiffs, boxers, and cocker spaniels, the Guardian reports. However, the latest research indicates that non-hereditary forms of CMD can occur in dogs and are often the result of several factors such as underlying medical conditions and diet.
Peas at the top of the list of suspect ingredients
“I see this as part of the puzzle,” Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University, tells NBC News. This study helps us reduce the targets to be examined so that we can focus on the most likely causes and get a response more quickly, and thus prevent other dogs from being affected.”
Lisa Freeman and her colleagues used an approach called “foodomics” to compare biochemical compounds that differ between traditional canine food and that that could be related to DCM. After a detailed analysis, the research team discovered that peas are at the top of the list of ingredients related to components that could cause cardiomyopathy. Read also Why do we have dogs?
However, the FDA is not yet considering banning peas in dog food. According to the agency, given that “legumes and pulses have been used in pet food for many years, [there is] no evidence that they are inherently dangerous.”
“Until we know the exact cause, we want to be careful with all the ingredients that the FDA is investigating,” says Dr. Freeman. Because the problem is more a question of quantity. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine “states that legume-based ingredients are used in many ‘cereal free diets in greater proportions than in most cereal-containing formulas.”