UPDATE: Diet, DCM and the FDA

Dee-O-Gee BLGS
Published On: Jul 02, 2019

Are you panicked about the study investigating a link between DCM and diet? 

Admittedly the statements released by the FDA are scary.  Please know that at all Dee-O-Gee locations, we take this study and the health of your pet very seriously.  You are probably wondering what you should be feeding your dog. We have many foods at Dee-O-Gee including grain inclusive foods and raw and freeze dried options. 

If you are concerned because you are feeding a food listed by the FDA as a high risk food and want to add grains back in, we can help you do that. If there is a food you are interested in and we don't currently carry it, we are happy to look to see if we can special order it for you.  In short, we are here to be a resource to you and your pet as everyone continues to learn more about the increased cases of DCM in dogs. With that in mind, please keep in mind we do not want to replace your veterinarian when making decisions that effect the health of your pet so please check with them regarding food changes.  

There are several important things to understand in regards to this most recent update released on June 27, 2019. 

  1. Out of 77 million dogs in the United States, there have been 560 cases reported to the FDA with a possible connection between the food they are fed and DCM.  This small percentage of dogs does not diminish the seriousness of this disease for these diagnosed pets or pet owners by any means. DCM is diagnosed annually in about 0-5.1% of the population of dogs and about 0.1% of those are thought to be linked to diet. 
  2. There are breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes and Cocker Spaniels with a higher incidence of DCM normally and that is still the case with this study.  About 1/5 of the cases reported to the FDA so far in 2018-2019 were Golden Retrievers (95 out of 560).   
  3. All the foods tested so far have had adequate levels of fiber, protein, fat, moisture, taurine, cystine and methionine (the precursors of taurine synthesis in dogs). 
  4. Originally they felt that a deficiency in taurine was to blame,  but they have several dogs with normal blood taurine levels so there appears to be more at play than just taurine.  The statement below by the FDA is very important in understanding this study- it is still inconclusive ie. they have not found a link between diet and DCM. "Therefore we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by the brand or manufacturer."
  5. To put this issue into proper context, the AVMA estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the U.S.  As of April 2019, the FDA has received reports on about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet.  Tens of millions of dogs are eating these quality foods every day for years and yes, even their lives and are unaffected by DCM" 

What we recommend: 

  1. Feed more fresh food - the less processed the food the more bioavailable the ingredients and the less likely there will be nutrient deficiencies.
  2. Rotation - rotate among recipes and even brands of food
  3. Do not panic - if you have concerns about what you are feeding reach out to your veterinarian or our Pet Health Ambassadors. 

Content from this article courtesy of Jane Mittelsteadt, DVM. In addition to being a licensed veterinarian, Jane is also the owner of the Dee-O-Gee franchise locations in Bozeman, MT with her husband Eric.