FDA Investigates Pet Food link to DCM


The FDA has published a report investigating the link between DCM and grain-free diets. While this report should be taken seriously, it has failed to show causation. Here is what we do know about DCM:

What is DCM?

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscles.

Signs of DCM from VCA Hospitals;

“Signs may be sudden or progressive in onset. Annual checkups with your veterinarian may lead to a diagnosis of heart problems before clinical signs are present (this is the best time to diagnose a problem). Signs can include:

  • rapid breathing when resting or sleeping (more than 30-35 breaths per minute)

  • increased effort associated with breathing

  • restless sleeping; moving around a lot and changing positions

  • coughing or gagging

  • weakness

  • reduced ability to exercise

  • collapse or fainting

  • decreased appetite

  • weight loss

  • distended belly

  • depressed attitude or quiet and not interactive

  • sudden death”

If you notice signs of DCM contact your veterinarian before changing your pets’ diet.

What causes DCM?

There are genetic components as certain breeds are at a higher risk of developing DCM. Research has shown a link between taurine deficiency and DCM. This research is ongoing and has yet to prove cause and effect.  If you suspect your pet is not getting enough taurine, Dr. Karen Shaw Becker recommends adding a can of sardines once a week.

Should I change my pet food?

The FDA has not released any information showing the data on the rise of DCM in pets eating a grain diet. Therefore, determining the correlation or causation of this disease is still being researched. If you have any concerns with the food your pet is eating, we recommend contacting your veterinarian as each pets’ needs are different.


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Laura Finley