Hundreds of thousands of pounds of pet food have been recalled for contamination with aflatoxin. Such recalls have been responsible for hundreds, and maybe thousands of pet deaths – and you may be wondering why such recalls keep happening. The truth is that recalls for contaminants like aflatoxin contamination are preventable. When pets become ill or die it is very frustrating for pet parents and anyone in the pet industry. Illness from aflatoxin is called aflatoxicosis. It can be hard to diagnose since signs associated
Since 2018, Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) has been a hot topic in the pet food industry, the veterinary community, the press and among pet owners. Although some veterinarians hypothesized there may be a potential association, there has never been a proven direct link (i.e., cause and effect) to grain-free foods (both over the counter or therapeutic) causing DCM in dogs including the FDA investigation.
The benefit and necessity of grain-free pet food have come under scrutiny in recent years due to an FDA investigation due to a potential association with a canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). As a result of this potential association, many have been told there is no scientific evidence to support the use of grain-free foods in canines and felines, or that these foods do not provide any benefit over grain-inclusive foods. For the most part, grain-free refers
Recent reports discussing the potential relationship between grain-free pet foods and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) have given pet owners and veterinarians alike a cause for concern. Pet owners and the veterinary community have been led to believe that some pet foods – particularly grain-free pet foods – are causing heart disease in dogs. However, the data buried within the FDA report tells a different story, one that is complex, without evidence showing a causative relationship between grain-free diets and heart disease.
Background & History of DCM Investigation In June of 2018 a blog titled “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients” was published on the Tuft’s University blog ‘Petfoodology’. This blog was followed by a commentary article in JAVMA causing increased media and public attention. It’s important to note that neither of these papers were peer reviewed, and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) disseminated it as gospel. This is unfortunate considering 80% of veterinarians believe
In June of 2018, Lisa Freeman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist from Tufts University published a blog titled “A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients.” This blog warned pet owners and veterinarians that ‘BEG’ (boutique, exotic, grain free) diets were causing heart disease in dogs. This left professionals and the public scrambling for more information, which was further fueled by media frenzy. As a result, the FDA launched an investigation which was complicated
In 2018 a blog from a veterinary nutritionist sparked a controversy between ‘BEG’ diets and heart disease in dogs. For the past two years, despite an FDA investigation, scarce and vague scientific data has created major issues for pet owners and the pet industry. For clarity, ‘BEG’ diets are known as Boutique, Exotic protein or Grain Free. A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Science titled, “Review of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in the wake of diet-associated concerns” that appeared
How many times have you heard a veterinarian or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) preach that those who are not veterinarians should not be giving nutritional advice? Probably more than a few times. Interesting, maybe the AVMA should take their own advice before distributing an unvalidated, unscientific internet blog. Or, maybe they should rise to meet their own ethics pillars when disseminating information which is unable to withstand basic scientific scrutiny. In short, this is a scientific body distributing subpar work
Transparency rarely exists in the pet industry. Despite what marketing tells us. So how do we fix it? There are a lot of products and companies that make health claims and clean sourcing which aim to provide a certain level of comfort to the consumer. However, most companies are not willing or able to prove it. Simple email requests for documentation of processes and testing from me, as a retailer, often go unanswered. The lack of response is sometimes from companies
AVMA says, “Study: Raw dog food often contains drug-resistant bacteria” (Link) On April 21, 2020, the AVMA emailed a link to an original article published on April 20, 2020, by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) examining the presence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens within raw meat-based diets (RMBD) for dogs. Within this article, the CIDRAP cites three separate abstracts of studies – not peer-reviewed papers. Two of which actually have no direct link to the feeding of RMBDs
Since the controversy surrounding grain-free food and the potential association to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs, the marketing departments of nearly every pet food company have been working overtime. While each company has tried to create the illusion that they are transparent, independent and ‘ahead’ of the problem - two main campaigns exist amongst most of them (with a few valid exceptions) that tell a different story. One of the familiar marketing campaigns advises that they have offered grain inclusive products
While in school I was taught that half of what I was learning would be proven wrong – the problem is that we did not, and still don’t know what half is wrong. Even so, the more education I receive and the more brilliant scientists and researchers I meet from around the world, the more I realize we know very little about the world we live in and the sciences that drive it. It’s up to us to keep asking
Summary Recent reports discussing the potential relationship between grain free pet foods and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) have given pet owners and veterinarians alike cause for concern. Little research and data are available surrounding this potential relationship, and some within the industry have failed to recognize a greater problem. DCM is just one of many concerns pet owners have to face, along with cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and allergies to name a few. For owners and veterinarians concerned about grain-inclusive or grain-free,
The beginning of pet food as we know it began in the year 1860 with the invention of the “dog biscuit” in England. A gentleman by the name of James Spratt made this biscuit from vegetables, beef blood, wheat, and beetroot. These biscuits became incredibly popular, and by 1890 the commercial pet food industry had made it to the United States with other companies making their own version of the dog biscuit. In 1907 the Milk Bone was born in New
Author’s note: As I began to write this article, I realized that the best way to approach this topic would be to include a discussion on the health impact of probiotics and microbiota as part of a series. Throughout the past 3 months, several peer-reviewed articles indicated how critical the microbiota and micro-biome are to canine behavior, health and performance, each warranting its own discussion. The following article discusses why canines should regularly receive probiotic supplementation to support their unique