FDA Halts DCM Updates, Citing Insufficient Data on DCM Cases and Pet Foods
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will not release further updates on its investigation of a potential link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free pet foods “until there is meaningful new scientific information to share,” officials reported in late December.
The update was posted on the FDA’s website, along with a count of reports of DCM in dogs submitted to FDA as of Nov. 1, 2022, which can be found here.
“FDA has followed up on a subset of these reports, but is unable to investigate every report to verify or confirm the reported information,” FDA officials said in the statement. “While adverse event numbers can be a potential signal of an issue with an FDA-regulated product, by themselves, they do not supply sufficient data to establish a causal relationship with reported product(s).”
The agency hasn’t offered any updates on its investigation on its website since June 2019. However, during a virtual scientific forum hosted by Kansas State University (KSU) in late September 2020, FDA officials acknowledged that there is no clear evidence indicating that grain-free foods with pulse ingredients are inherently dangerous for dogs and conceded that the “complex scientific messaging” was often lost in translation in the media.
In its most recent update, the FDA encouraged more research and collaboration by academia, veterinarians, and the industry on the topic.
Researchers and veterinarians continue to look into the correlation.
In March 2022, veterinarians and scientists from BSM Partners, a pet care research and consulting firm, and the University of Missouri found “no significant correlation between the national canine DCM incidence rates in relation to grain-free pet food sales.”
“Based on the data we received from veterinary cardiologists across the United States, we did not observe a significant increase in DCM incidence rate over time, which included the recent period when grain-free pet food sales grew exponentially,” said Dr. Stephanie Clark, Ph.D., CVT, PAS, CFS, Dpl. ACAS of BSM Partners, an article co-author and a board-certified companion animal nutritionist. “The existing scientific literature indicates that nutritional factors can lead to the development of DCM, but we did not find a correlation in the DCM incidence rate to grain-free pet food sales.”