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Some FDA Answers Regarding Investigation into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease

On July 12, 2018, FDA issued a public notification about the agency’s investigation into reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods. While it is early in the investigation, the Center for Veterinary Medicine recognizes that you may have questions. Below we have compiled answers to address some of the frequently asked questions raised by pet owners and veterinarians.

1. What potential connection is the FDA investigating?

FDA is investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain pet foods containing legumes like peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients. We began investigating after FDA‘s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received a number of reports of DCM in dogs eating these diets. DCM itself is not considered rare in dogs, but these reports are unusual because many of the reported cases occurred in breeds of dogs not typically genetically prone to the disease and were reported to have been fed the same type of diet (labeled as “grain-free”).

2. What is the FDA doing about this possible connection?

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, are investigating this potential association. We are working with board certified veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the clinical presentation of the cases. The agency has also been in contact with pet food manufacturers to discuss these reports and to help further the investigation. In addition, we are analyzing information from case reports submitted by pet owners and veterinarians. We will continue to work with all of these stakeholders to help advance our ongoing investigation.

3. What is canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)?

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle and results in an enlarged heart. As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, which can lead to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen (congestive heart failure). If caught early, heart function may improve in cases that are not linked to genetics with appropriate veterinary treatment and dietary modification.

4. Why did the FDA notify the public about the possible connection if the agency doesn’t have definitive answers?

While it is early in the investigation, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) felt a responsibility to shed light on an early signal that we have been made aware of and to solicit reports from pet owners and vets that may know of related cases. The data provided through reports will help inform the investigation.

5. How many cases have been reported to the FDA?

Prior to issuing our public notification on July 12, 2018, the FDA received sporadic reports involving 30 dogs and seven cats. In the reports we received, some of the dogs showed signs of heart disease, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing, and episodes of collapse. We are aware that the veterinary cardiology community has received more reports (approximately 150 as of 7/12/18). Since issuing the public notification, CVM has received many additional reports, but we are still in the process of reviewing them.

6. What brands of food have been included in the reports to the FDA?

There is a range of different brands and formulas included in the reports. Rather than brands, the common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients, (e.g., pea protein, pea starch, or pea fiber). Some reports we have received also seem to indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.

7. What are legumes?

Legumes are part of the Fabaceae plant family, and are the fruit or seed of these plants. Common legumes include peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. Legumes are used for both human and animal food and have become a common plant-based source of protein.

8. Does the FDA think this possible link includes diets with rice?

Rice is a grain, not a legume. The current reports do not suggest there is any link between diets with rice and DCM in dogs.

9. Are sweet potatoes and red potatoes classified as potatoes?


10. What does the FDA consider a “main ingredient”?

There is no hard and fast rule for what qualifies as a “main ingredient.” We generally consider a “main ingredient” to be listed in a food’s ingredient list before the first vitamin or mineral ingredient.

11. 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. 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.

12. How do I know if my pet’s food is one of the diets discussed in the FDA’s public notification?

We suggest reviewing the ingredient list on your pet’s food to see whether legumes and/or potatoes are listed as one of the main ingredients.

13. Should I avoid grain-free diets?

High levels of legumes or potatoes appear to be more common in diets labeled as “grain-free,” but it is not yet known how these ingredients are linked to cases of DCM. Additionally, legumes and potatoes may appear as ingredients in foods that are not labeled as “grain-free.” Changes in diet, especially for dogs with DCM, should be made in consultation with a licensed veterinarian.

14. Do I need to change my dog’s diet?

At this time, we are not advising dietary changes based solely on the information we have gathered so far. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or its diet, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian for individualized advice that takes into account your dog’s specific needs and medical history.

15. What’s the safest diet for my dog?

Different dogs have different nutritional needs based on a number of factors, so nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. The FDA recommends consulting your veterinarian for personalized advice about what to feed your dog.

16. What should I do if my dog is experiencing symptoms of DCM?

If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM or other heart conditions, including decreased energy, cough, difficulty breathing and episodes of collapse, you should contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may ask you for a thorough dietary history, including all the foods (including treats) the dog has eaten.

17. How do vets and consumers submit reports to the FDA?

CVM encourages pet owners and veterinary professionals to report cases of DCM in dogs suspected of having a link to diet by using the electronic Safety Reporting Portal or calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

18. What information does the FDA need included in the reports?

Please see “How to Report a Pet Food Complaint” for additional instructions and information.

19. How long will the FDA’s investigation take?

There is no way to know how long the investigation will take, but CVM is hopeful that as we gather more data from case reports, we will gain a better understanding of this possible connection. We will continue to convey our observations publicly as the investigation progresses.
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FDA Alert – Grain-Free Dog Food

Jul 28, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a possible link between incidents of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and extended consumption of “grain-free” dog food, after several reports from veterinarians.
Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to dog owners about a potential connection between diet (specifically a certain kind of dog food) and a disease called dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM.
The condition is one of the most common causes of heart failure in certain large dog breeds, such as Dobermans, Great Danes and Boxers, but reports received by the FDA show DCM occurring in breeds not usually prone to the disease, such as Retrievers, Whippets, even some mixed breeds.
The one common factor in the reported cases seems to be a diet high in things like potatoes, peas, lentils, legume seeds, which are often the main ingredients in dog foods labeled as “grain-free”. In the cases reported to the FDA, veterinarians indicated the dogs had been eating such foods consistently for months or years.
Several of the animals had low blood levels of the amino acid taurine. It has been shown that taurine deficiency can lead to DCM, and the FDA suspects that grain-free foods containing potatoes, peas and legumes might be causing the reduction of taurine levels in dogs.
No specific brands of dog food were listed in the FDA warning, but owners can check to see if potatoes, peas, lentils or legumes are listed as main ingredients in their pet’s food. Even better check with your veterinarian for recommendations about the best diet for your own furry friend.
So, how would you know if your dog might be suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy? Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, reduced energy – if your buddy can’t play like it used to, or chase the ball, or gets winded easily, it’s time for a visit to the doctor. If your veterinarian suspects your pet may have DCM linked to its diet, report it to the FDA.
You can read the FDA warning about the potential connection between diet and canine heart problems by visiting the agency’s website at
We all want to do what’s best for our four-footed friends, including feeding them a healthy diet. But for dogs, “grain-free” may not be the best choice, especially when we’re speaking of pets.
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Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to

Ohio Greyhound Gathering & Adoption

whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.


It’s easy to register:

Go to AmazonSmile (,

select Ohio Greyhound Gathering & Adoption

as your charity to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping.

Remember, if you want Amazon to donate to Ohio Greyhound Gathering & Adoption, you need to start each shopping session at the URL, and they will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.


amazon smile logo

Click Here for more information on how AmazonSmile works.



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It’s time to begin saving those Acme receipts for OGGA.

OGGA will earn 5% from receipts dated August 10th to December 31st from your purchases of acme store brands.
These funds will help us continue our mission of placing retired racing greyhounds in loving, responsible, forever homes.
Drop off receipts at any of our events
Mail Acme receipts to:
3116 Pinevale
Louisville, OH 44641-9111


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Nicky Middleton did his duty for hurricane pets by delivering dog food, paper towels, toilet paper, dog biscuits & shampoo to the Trailstar trailer today.


To help fill the trailer for the victims of Hurricane Irma, take donations to Trailstar, 20700 Harrisburg-Westville Road (U.S. Route 62) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday (9/10) through Friday (9/15).

special arrangements can be made for drop-offs by calling 330-821-9900.

Items needed include baby formula, baby and adult diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, soap, shampoo, pet food, non-perishable foods, children’s snack foods, gallon size or cases of bottled water. Chocolate candy, shoes and clothing will not be accepted.


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The Petit family will be hosting a fundraiser May 7th to benefit those that helped get Ginny back home.

Ramona Hartleben of JJ’s Ruff Roads was a major contributor in organizing the search.  Ramona who lives in Louisville, helped Ohio Greyhound Gathering this past summer find and return a foster greyhound after days on the run.  She is blessing to all of us that lose our animals as she has made finding them and returning them to their families her life’s work.



Ginny with her brother King.

Below is from John and Jamey Petit:

Ginny the Greyhound ran away February 15th and was not captured until Feburary 19th. When a Greyhound gets loose, we must rely on the community for help with sightings. The response was overwhelming, and with the support of our community neighborhoods, The Greyhound Adoption of Ohio, and Ramona Hartleben’s JJ’s Ruff Roads Animal Rescue, we were able to capture Ginny before something bad happened. Of course we were relieved and elated to get Ginny back,but the support from the community of Canton, Ohio and surrounding areas has really touched us and made an imprint on us forever.

John and I would like to give back to the community by creating a day of celebration and fundraising. The details are still in the works and different sponsers are being procured. We have confirmed that Nathan’s Patio Bar and Grill will host a Spaghetti Dinner for us. We will do a Reverse Raffle during dinner. We will also have a silent action that afternoon!

There will be vendors present and that list will come out as we confirm!

Klingstedt Brothers and Nance have created the coolest T-shirt; all the profit will go to the cause! We will take pre-orders and sell.

All proceeds made from this event will be split between JJ’s Ruff Roads and Greyhound Adoption of Ohio! Our goal is $10,000 so that each of them will get $5,000.

We are starting this now so that if anyone is interested in donating, there is a means to do that. We also have to raise money for application fees for the city and some event costs.

We love you Canton (and Surrounding Areas), Ramona, GAO, and all puppies!


For More Information, click here.

Date and Time

Sun, May 7, 2017

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT


Nathan’s Patio Bar and Grill

725 30th St NE

Canton, OH 44714

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The Alliance Pet Supplies Plus store donated dry and wet dog food to the Wheeling GPA kennel.

OGGA members will be taking it down to Pam, GPA Kennel Manager, so that the pups can enjoy.

Thank you to the Alliance Pet Supplies Plus store for your continued support to OGGA and the beloved greyhounds.


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Acme Cash Back 2016

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