A new article was published by the Journal of Animal Science on June 15, 2020. This was a peer review of the articles and studies surrounding DCM (Dilated CardioMyopathy) in dogs and how their diet is related to the disease. While the occasionally updated FDA article states that there have been no conclusive findings just yet, this new article goes a bit more in depth looking at the cause of DCM, observing the studies used, the results found, and suggesting better, more thorough testing.
The following is the conclusion of their findings:
“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” 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% and 1.3% 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.
DCM is a multifactorial medical condition with many proven etiologies and potential causes contributing to the development of the disease. Therefore, prospective studies investigating, not only diet, but also infection, metabolism, and genetic involvement, must be conducted. In hopes of better understanding a potential correlation with diets to DCM, more objective data need to be collected and analyzed, without sampling bias and confounding factors. While determining the cause of recently reported cases of cardiac disease is of the utmost importance, based on this review of the current literature, there is no definitive relationship these implicated diet characteristics and DCM.”
All information from Review of Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy in the Wake of Diet Associated Concerns, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 98, Issue 6, published June 15, 2020.