FDA buries major 2020 update on diet-associated DCM

*More reporting coming soon* The Canine Review has learned that the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has released its first major update on diet-associated DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy, a progressive heart disease) in dogs and cats since its June 2019 bombshell announcement in which the regulator took the unprecedented step of singling out 16 brands of dog food most frequently linked to DCM cases.

The new findings were released at a virtual forum hosted by Kansas State University late last month, on September 29. Members of the news media were not notified, no announcement was issued on any government website, and the research presented by FDA at last month’s virtual forum was also not published to any .gov website.

TCR will have much more reporting in the hours and days ahead as we query those who participated in the KSU forum, industry, FDA officials, veterinarians with knowledge of FDA-CVM’s work on diet-associated DCM, etc. Please contact emily@thecaninereview.com if you have information to contribute to our reporting.

The FDA’s decision not to publish this report or any kind of press release on its own website is curious, yet FDA CVM chief Dr. Steven Solomon appears to spell out the agency’s thinking in his opening remarks at the September DCM forum. Veterinary student Caitlin Holly offers incisive analysis:

“In the opening remarks to the forum, FDA’s Dr. Steven Solomon says “We have tried to be careful in our messaging, and we recognize going forward not to speak on this topic publicly unless we are clarifying information or have something substantive to share. As I have said on numerous occasions, we are not looking to put out any additional information until we have more scientific certainty. … Although CVM’s investigation must be driven by science and our public health mission, we are acutely aware that promoting transparency and public awareness may not be kind to everyone’s bottom line. I empathize with those of you who have experienced adverse consequences in your businesses, and with those of you in the veterinary community who have had your own challenges in sharing your scientific findings and trying to determine what type of diets to recommend to your clients and their pets.”

“What’s important for pet owners to know,” says Holly, “is that these findings continue to support that there is a link between certain diets and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy.”

FDA: “As of July 2020, we have received more than 1100 reports of DCM in dogs..”

Caitlin Holly, Doc Of All Trades: “FDA Quietly Issues 2020 Update on diet-associated DCM at Kansas State Forum” [https://www.docofalltrades.net/2020/10/fda-quietly-issues-2020-update-on-diet.html]

FDA report: https://www.ksvdl.org/resources/documents/dcm-forum/FDA_KSU-Science-Forum-slides_09-29-2020.pdf