Has industry funding affected the FDA’s investigation of canine heart disease and grain-free dog food?

According to the FDA, the document shared by Freeman was created by Tufts Veterinary Staff for use by vets at Tufts University.

“The FDA has never required that cases of DCM reported to the agency be limited to certain types of diet,” A spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration wrote in an email. “We welcome all DCM reports suspected of being linked to food, regardless of diet type.”

Freeman has a long history of receiving funding from pet food companies including Nestle Purina Petcare, Hills Pet Nutrition, and Mars Petcare. This is common in the field of animal nutrition, with a large portion of funding for studies on pet food and nutrition coming from large pet food companies.

According to PubMed.gov, Freeman has produced scientific work funded by Hill’s and Mars since 2002 and Purina since 2004. Over the past 20 years, she has been an author on studies funded by these pet food companies about 30 times. In recent years, Freeman has included a More detailed statement of conflict of interest Among those we saw in her previous studies, which states: “In the past three years, Dr. Freeman has received research funding from, sponsored lectures and/or provided professional services to Aratana Therapeutics, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Nestlé Purina PetCare, P&G Pet Care (now Mars), and Royal Canin. “

In response to questions about payments from Mars, Hills, Purina, and DCM issues that she submitted to the FDA early in the investigation, Freeman stated the following through Tufts University media relations: its about it. I respect the scientific process and hope that continued developments in research will help clarify the relationship between diet and DCM.”

Two other veterinary cardiologists — Darcy Adin of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and Joshua Stern of the University of California, Davis College of Veterinary Medicine — also collaborated with the Food and Drug Administration. In the FDA update on the investigationnamed the three agency, saying:FDA vets work with Drs. Lisa Freeman of Tufts University, Joshua Stern of the University of California at Davis, and Darcy Adin of the University of Florida to learn more about their research findings and the cases they encountered.”

Emails obtained from a public records request indicate that contact between the DCM and grain-free dog food was first suggested in 2017. In March 2018, Jennifer Jones, the US Food and Drug Administration’s veterinary medical officer tasked with the investigation, received a letter An email from a veterinarian asking to “discuss our findings on dilated cardiomyopathy and nutritional relationships in Our clinic over the past year.”

The emails show that the following month, Freeman, Adin and Stern discussed their clinical observations surrounding grain-free dog foods and DCM in a call with the FDA, after which Jones asked them to email their spreadsheets of their case data.

Adin has participated in studies that have received funding from Purina since 2018, and since 2017, from Morris Animal Foundation, the nonprofit animal health charity founded by Mark Morris, Sr., who created the company’s first line of dog foods that would become Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Adin commented through University of Florida Public Relations that she has never received direct funding from Morris Animal Foundation or Purina, but she was lead author and co-author on studies of unrelated heart disease, degenerative mitral valve disease, funded by Morris Animal Foundation. .

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