Companion animals - news
At Remarkable Vets our pet feeding policy is based on 3 fundamental principles
- the scientific proof that a food is good for your pet
- the ethical production of that food
- the carbon pawprint cost in getting the food to the bowl.
Combined with this is affordability and palatability
No single food gets a 5-star rating for all these features but being informed is key to your decision-making. Please read below for information on an issue which is getting considerable attention across the globe
The situation as at July 2019
In the last 6 months there has been a groundswell of comment worldwide on the potential link between feeding grain-free foods and a condition called DCM.
DCM is Dilated Cardiomyopathy. This is where the heart enlarges and becomes inefficient to the point of failing. In some cases this will result in death.
We have known for a long time that some breeds are predisposed to this condition. Mainly giant breeds such as Great Danes, Bernese Mt Dogs and Dobermans. Cocker Spaniels are a smaller breed that is genetically predisposed. We've also known for some years that a dietary deficiency in taurine (an amino acid) can predispose some dogs, notably Golden Retrievers, to developing DCM.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA began to investigate a link between feeding grain - free foods and DCM in the middle of 2018.
As at May 2019 there had been 525 cases reported in dogs. 90% of these cases had been fed almost entirely grain-free food and 93% of all diets of affected dogs had high contents of legumes (peas and/or lentils).
It does not appear to be a lack of taurine in these foods that is responsible. Indeed, if there is a causative link, and that is yet to be statistically proven, then the reason will likely be complex.
The investigation is in its early stages. We don’t feel that these numbers yet reflect positive evidence and remain open minded as to the interpretation.
Our position statement on feeding grain-free foods and the condition DCM
As at July 2019 there is an FDA investigation in place to determine if there is a link between the feeding of grain-free foods and an increased incidence of the heart disease 'DCM' in dogs.
We believe the link is tenuous but in the interests of our pets and upholding scientific rigour it deserves recognition.
Given that the investigation is ongoing and will be thorough - it involves a number of eminent cardiologists and nutritionists around the world - we feel caution is the best policy.
In light of this we are making some interim recommendations. These will almost certainly change as more information comes to light but for now we advise:
- Giant Breeds, Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels on predominantly dry food diets should, in the interim, avoid being exclusively fed commercially prepared grain-free diets. A transition, again, in the interim, should be made to scientifically formulated, trialled and proven products such as Hills, Royal Canin and Eukanuba.
- For all other dogs on predominantly dry diets we recommend that no more than 50% of their diet is grain-free product. For absolute confidence on this topic then transitioning to 100% is recommended.
If you have any questions please call our staff at either of our clinics at Arrowtown 03-4421411 or Queenstown 03-4092001