While the public remains in the dark, many begin to question the authenticity of the report
Since the FDA issued an alert on a potential increase of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs linked to grain-free foods, it has led to a mixture of confusion and concern among dog owners and even vets.
But is there enough evidence to warrant the panic?
The FDA only called out 16 brands of grain-free food, which seems surprising considering the sheer number of grain-free options on the market today. One would expect a lot more offenders if ingredients were the issue.
Even more disturbing is the appearance of a conflict of interest. The three vets cited in the FDA investigation all have financial ties to at least one of the major traditional dog food brands who are losing market share to grain-free producers.
Additionally, an article in The Truth About Pet Food alleges that the FDA gave updated information on the DCM situation to the Pet Food Institute, a trade association representing some of the big legacy dog food brands (although this association also has members that produce grain-free food). Distributing information to the association in advance of a general announcement calls into question the unbiased nature of the investigation.
Of the 51 dogs diagnosed with DCM, according to the research conducted by one of the three vets, less than half were on grain-free diets.
While DCM has garnered the public’s attention because of the microscope the media has shined on it, DCM is a very rare condition. In fact, it affects only 0.0007 percent of all dogs. Compare this to periodontal disease that is seen in 78 percent of dogs or obesity, which affects 54 percent.
If there were a rise in DCM due to grain-free pet food, one would expect other countries to see an increase as well and ultimately the decision to launch their own investigations. Thus far, that has not happened.
DCM is a complicated disease, and the recent increase in diagnoses could be due to several factors. To boil it down to grain-free diets oversimplifies the issue. In fact, a January 2019 article in the Journal of Animal Science discuses how these knowledge gaps must be addressed before a direct link between grain-free diets and DCM can be stated.