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Friday, March 18, 2022

Another DCM study (2022) shows improved cardiac parameters when changing from non-traditional diet

     Dilated cardiomyopathy is discussed on this site so often, people are often surprised when told I don’t intend to specialize in nutrition or cardiology. My interest in this topic is fueled instead by a passion for countering misinformation and providing education to the pet owning public, as well as enthusiasm for epidemiology and emerging disease science. On that note:

     “Prospective study of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs eating nontraditional or traditional diets and in dogs with subclinical cardiac abnormalities” was published 03/17/22 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, with authors representing both nutrition and cardiology. The paper is open access, meaning anyone can read it without a login, subscription, or fee.  In as few words as possible, the main findings of the paper are summarized at the end of the abstract, “Dogs with DCM or SCA [subclinical cardiac abnormalities] previously eating NTDs [non-traditional diets] had small, yet significant improvements in echocardiographic parameters after diet changes.” 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Has data revealed that DCM in dogs did not increase with grain-free sales?

     A new research paper from BSM Partners was published this month and has already started to circulate online, ostensibly addressing the question of whether DCM cases have increased over time as grain-free diets have become more popular and widely fed. As a reminder, BSM Partners is a consulting firm that formulates pet foods for various companies, including Zignature, one of the top named brands associated with the FDA’s investigation. Employees of this company were the authors behind a widely criticized, non-systematic literature review on DCM published in 2020. Their conflict of interest on this subject has also previously been discussed in an article by Dr. Brennen McKenzie, known on his blog and social media as SkeptVet, and still applies to the current paper. Undisclosed for this paper, BSM Partners also received explicit research funding from several pulse legume interest groups.

To preface, a well-conducted study such as this could provide useful information to add to the developing issue. Unfortunately, this particular study failed to collect sufficient data, and in being published despite that, paints an incomplete picture that cannot provide many meaningful conclusions. While the findings can be easily characterized to dismiss the notion that atypical DCM cases, as being investigated by the FDA, are linked to certain grain-free or legume-rich diets, the striking limitations must be given consideration.