Perspective on FDA Report on Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Greetings fellow animal lovers! We share your concern about Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) as recently featured in the media. Our local group of Independent Natural Pet Food Retailers (INPFR) in New Mexico ventured into the pet food industry based on our genuine love for pets. The same caring philosophy applies to the high integrity pet food manufacturers we represent. Their commitment to formulating pet diets and sourcing quality ingredients results in a variety of healthful pet food products. To this day, we all continue to have a vested interest in the well-being of your pets.
As you may know, on June 27, 2019, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement regarding DCM that has caused considerable confusion among dog (and cat) parents. We hope this document will help clarify the situation.
What is DCM? How common is it?
Are there known causes?
DCM is a serious, but uncommon heart condition that occurs in a genetically predisposed set of dog breeds, as well as dogs deficient in the amino acid Taurine. Over the last five years, an unknown percentage of the reported DCM cases do not specifically fit these usual DCM parameters. This type of scattered data reporting has inhibited DCM investigations. For example, approximately 10% of reported dogs have heart disease, and approximately 8% of those cases are myocardial disease, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, according to Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, in an article on pethealthnetwork.com. In essence, dogs with a variety of heart issues have been lumped together in the 500 reported cases since 2014, making it difficult to differentiate between genetic DCM and this suspected newer version.
It is important to note that a great deal of other, more common diseases in dogs occur in significantly higher rates than DCM. Up to 60,000 dogs are afflicted with bloat annually and experience a 30% mortality rate. Serious allergies, morbid obesity, diabetes and kidney disease affect thousands to millions of pets annually. And nearly half of dogs reaching age 10 will succumb to cancer. Many pet advocates feel these common and deadly diseases deserve much more consideration, research and preventive measures.
Do grain free diets cause DCM?
According to the FDA, less than 1% out of 77 million dogs have developed DCM since 2014, meaning that 99% of dogs are consuming all types of pet food, including grain free, without any link to DCM. In fact, the FDA report states “It’s important to note that the heart-related reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain-containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.” (Q#17 REF1)
Should I change from a grain free to a grain inclusive diet?
We recognize and understand how important your companion animals are to you and your family. Ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to change diets (from grain free), and we will support your decision. Our collective group of stores offer a wide variety of grain free as well as grain inclusive pet foods which are professionally formulated and manufactured utilizing universally accepted pet food manufacturing techniques as well as Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. Our experienced in-store pet industry professionals can help select a food that will work well for your beloved pets.
In addition, our retail pet food experts would be happy to help you implement a healthy rotational diet plan as well as incorporate some high protein toppings or treats that are rich in Taurine and its precursors. These types of dietary upgrades are highly recommended by one of our esteemed pet industry mentors. Board certified veterinary nutritionist Justin Shmalberg suggests these may be helpful in both reducing DCM risks and improving overall pet health. In conjunction with regular veterinary care, we all share the genuine intention of keeping your furry family happy and healthy for years to come.
In closing, our retail group is completely dedicated to the health and well-being of your companion animals. Thankfully, researchers are now studying DCM at a deeper level than ever before. As more information becomes available, you can be sure that your Independent Natural Pet Food Retailers will continue to learn more and help guide you in a beneficial direction.
Thank you for your time, we look forward to working with you and your pets.
Your Independent Pet Food Retailers of New Mexico Chad Autry, Bath Brush and Beyond
Jeff Smith and Lisa McKitrick, Boofy’s Best for Pets
Patrick and Samantha Sanchez, Jack and Rascal’s
Norm Shrout and Ken Wormser, Long Leash On Life
Susana Vasquez, Pet Food Gone Wild
Arie Deller, Arie’s Dogland LLC
Laura Moore, Critters and Me
Lisa Boegl, Eldorado Country Pet
Laurie Wilson, Teca Tu
Kelley Webb, The Wild Birdhouse & Pet Supplies