August 11, 2020

Journal of Animal Science DCM Review Finds More Research Needed to Draw Definitive Conclusion on Potential Diet Links

The Journal of Animal Science in July issued a clarification regarding the authors of “Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns,” which initially ran in its June 2020 issue.

In summarizing the scope of this review, the authors, who are associated with BSM Partners in Bentonville, AR and The Heart Vet in Ithaca, NY wrote in the abstract: “This literature review describes clinical presentations of DCM, common sequelae, treatment and preventative measures, histopathologic features and a discussion of the varied etiological origins of the disease. In addition, current literature limitations are addressed, in order to ascertain multiple variables leading to the development of DCM.”

The publication wrote in a July corrigendum: “In response to reader inquiries we are adding the following statement for clarity: BSM Partners provides nutritional advice for pet food companies of all sizes, including both those that produce grain-free, pulse-rich pet foods and those that produce grain-inclusive, pulse-free pet foods.”

They concluded that at present, there is still not enough research to draw a definitive conclusion:

“Recently, a correlation between diets with specific characteristics, such as, but not limited to, containing legumes, grain-free, novel protein sources and ingredients and smaller manufactured brands to DCM has come under scrutiny by academic researchers and the FDA. The use of the acronym ‘BEG’ [boutique manufacturers, exotic proteins and grain-free diets] and its association with DCM are without merit because there is no definitive evidence in the literature. At this time, information distributed to the veterinary community and the general public has been abbreviated synopses of case studies, with multiple variables and treatments, incomplete medical information and conflicting medical data and opinions from veterinary nutrition influencers. Also, in past literature, sampling bias, overrepresentation of subgroups and confounding variables in the data weaken this hypothesis. Additionally, based on current literature, the incidence of DCM in the overall dog population is estimated to be between 0.5 percent and 1.3 percent in the United States. However, the FDA case numbers (560 dogs) are well below the estimated prevalence. Therefore, it is impossible to draw any definitive conclusions, in these cases, linking specific diets or specific ingredients to DCM.”

Click here to read the review.


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