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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dr Dodds article:



"What We Would Like to See
First, we would like the FDA to review previous studies into the connection between DCM and specific diets. We want the agency to enlist the help of the researchers who have conducted these studies.

Here are five:

Sean J. Delaney and his team found, “The lowest whole blood concentrations were seen in dogs fed lamb or lamb meal and rice diets. Plasma methionine and cysteine concentrations were lower in dogs fed diets with animal meals or turkey, and whole grain rice, rice bran or barley.”

Kwang Suk Ko and Andrea Fascetti, “Rather than rice, dietary beet pulp showed the most significant effect in lowering plasma and whole taurine concentrations, in part, by decreasing the protein digestibility (sulfur amino acid bioavailability), by enhancing fecal excretion of bile acids and possibly, by enhancing degradation of taurine by the gut microflora in dogs.”

Robert Backus, “The difference in taurine status between Newfoundlands and Beagles appears explained by differences in de novo taurine synthesis. On the bases of metabolic body weight and liver weight, the Newfoundlands had less than half of the taurine synthesis rates of Beagles.” All dogs were fed the same lamb and rice food.

Sherry Sanderson, “Results revealed that dogs fed protein-restricted diets can develop decreased taurine concentrations; therefore, protein-restricted diets should be supplemented with taurine. Dietary methionine and cystine concentrations at or above AAFCO recommended minimum requirements did not prevent decreased taurine concentrations. The possibility exists that AAFCO recommended minimum requirements are not adequate for dogs consuming protein-restricted diets. Our results also revealed that, similar to cats, dogs can develop DCM secondary to taurine deficiency, and taurine supplementation can result in substantial improvement in cardiac function.”
Secondly, we believe taurine measurement reference ranges should be revisited, reevaluated and possibly revised. AAFCO may need to change its minimum requirements for methionine, cystine and possibly taurine as well.
Finally, we would like to see a more wholistic approach to the role of the interaction of foods in the gut, gut microbiome, and relevant genetic disposition(s).

Clearly, DCM is more complicated than meets the eye.

Hemopet Suggestions

Remember, the FDA did not offer any conclusions, simply findings and rather vague suggestions.
If you’ve stopped feeding grains to your companion dog, think back to the many reasons why you stopped. It could be to prevent leaky gut syndrome, to help curb food sensitivities or intolerances to a particular grain, to maintain optimal weight in your dog, etc.
If you are concerned, have your veterinarian take a blood sample to measure the methionine, cysteine and taurine levels in both whole blood and plasma, and send it to a diagnostic laboratory experienced with the appropriate reference ranges for circulating taurine. If the levels are lower than normal for dogs, please discuss the appropriate next steps with your veterinarian. As well, please send the information on your dog, including the food you are feeding, breed, health, age and weight to the FDA no matter what the results are. You and your dog would potentially be helping millions of other dogs."

The Veterinary Laboratory investigation:

This is the FDA spreadsheet of collected data:

As I understand it, they are collecting data and looking for correlations. These aren't studies which show that peas reduce taurine which is a factor in DCM.

From Questions & Answers: FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Investigation into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease

"Does the FDA know what it is about these foods that may be connected to canine DCM?
At this time, it is not clear what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs. There are multiple possible causes of DCM. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of DCM, but it is not the only cause of DCM. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients or how dogs process them, main ingredient sourcing, processing, amount used, or other factors could be involved.""


"Although the FDA first received a few sporadic reports of DCM as early as 2014, the vast majority of the reports were submitted after the agency notified the public about the potential DCM/diet issue in July 2018."


I didn't specifically select grain free foods for my boys. It's just getting harder to find foods with grain. I was ready to jump ship asap but after trying to find some proof and not succeeding yet, I'm probably going to continue with the grain free and with the meat protein and grains added as a topper (aka leftovers) that I have always done. I'll also continue to look for grain inclusive foods, since that's what was fed to all my previous poodles.

I will be watching for more evidence, and seeing if there's anything corresponding in human DCM studies.

19 Posts
Thanks, that was a great summary.

After doing a bunch of digging around, I too am staying on the grain free and adding leftovers as a regular portion as before. For me, it came down to having to be completely gluten-free (not allowed in my house at all as I'm very sensitive to cross-contamination), and sooo many of the decent grained foods contain barley, even if they were free of wheat.

I hope they are able to isolate the primary issues soon.
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