Study Finds No Link Between Grain-Free Diets and DCM in Dogs

This article is reprinted from Pets Plus Magazine because we think they worded it well:

A new study failed to find a definitive relationship between grain-free and legume-rich diets and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

A group of veterinarians, veterinary cardiologists and animal nutritionists from BSM Partners, a pet care research and consulting firm, examined more than 150 studies for the analysis.

“Additionally, the FDA’s reported cases of DCM include incomplete information, making it impossible to draw any sound conclusions from this data,” according to a press release from BSM.

The peer-reviewed article, which appears in the Journal of Animal Science, is an exhaustive literature review regarding the causes of DCM, and the first research resulting from BSM Partners’ long-term DCM research effort.

“We wanted to gain the best understanding of this issue, so we examined the results of more than 150 studies, which taken together did not support a link between grain-free and legume-rich diets, and DCM,” said Dr. Sydney McCauley, an animal nutritionist and the article’s lead author. “What the science does make clear is that DCM is largely an inherited disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year issued an update on its investigation into reports of DCM in pets eating certain commercial foods. The FDA included a list of “Dog Food Brands Named Most Frequently to DCM Cases Reported to FDA,” including many favorites of independent pet stores.

The new article details published research highlighting a number of other factors that could contribute to the presence of DCM. These include nutrient deficiencies, myocarditis, chronic tachycardia and hypothyroid disease.

“We believe that further research is needed in order to reach sound conclusions with respect to the relationship between diet and DCM,” said Dr. Eva Oxford, a veterinary cardiologist and an article coauthor. “This is why BSM Partners has initiated multiple original research projects that will shed additional light on this topic.”

BSM researchers also stated that while the FDA has referenced many reported cases of DCM in dogs eating grain-free or legume-rich diets, the majority of these cases contained incomplete information.

“For example, integral data such as the dog’s complete diet history, age, or the presence of concurrent conditions were often missing,” according to the press release. “Additionally, some of the reported cases were of dog breeds with a known genetic predisposition to DCM, which further confounds the claim of a dietary role.
Original link to the Pets Plus Magazine article here

Please see Green Dog’s previous posts on this matter, explaining the ins and outs of this issue, simple things you can do to support your dog’s health if you choose to feed any kibble diet:

Attention Kibble Feeders: New Health Problem Reported.
Note: This was the article we posted when the first news of the alleged link between grain free foods and heart disease. It has since been proven that there is no link between grain free foods and cardiomyopathy. That being said, we still feel this article has valuable and important information about processed foods such as kibble, and how they are in fact still compromised nutritionally when it comes to the fragile amino acids that dogs and cats rely on for a healthy body. Educate yourself about how some companies “cheat” when it comes to proteins, and easy and inexpensive ways to amend your pet’s diet to ensure they’re getting these amino acids and other nutrients that will support their health and longevity.

When Vets Tell you To Switch From Grain Free Kibble To Grains
You may have heard something online or from your vet about the issue of dogs eating grain free foods sometimes showing low levels of taurine in their bloodwork. Since then, we’ve had a number of customers that come saying their vet told them to switch to a food containing grains. One local vet in our area sent out an email about heart disease, urging their customers to use foods containing grain, and also advocating for the use of  “Meat By-Products” in pet foods, and we’d like to address both of these topics to help you learn more and make educated decisions. One thing that we feel is important to point out is that some of the diets with grain in them do contain harmful ingredients. Not all grain is bad, of course – we carry a few foods with grain that we like, but there are a few ingredients in other products that we’d never allow in the store. Read why.