DCM Report: Incidence Rate Shows No Correlation to Grain-Free Growth

Veterinarians and scientists from BSM Partners, the largest pet care research and consulting firm, and the University of Missouri, published an analysis of a retrospective survey that evaluated the annual incidence of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) diagnosed by veterinary cardiologists across the United States, along with previously unknown information regarding the growth of grain-free pet food store sales.

The peer-reviewed article, which appears in Frontiers in Animal Science, includes data that did not indicate a significant increase nationally in DCM incidence over time, from 2000 to 2019, while grain-free pet food store sales grew 500 percent between 2011 and 2019. Researchers also found no significant correlation between the national DCM incidence rate in relation to the grain-free pet food sales.

Researchers received information on more than 68,000 total canine cardiology cases from veterinary cardiology referral hospitals, diagnosed between 2000 and 2019. The average incidence rate of DCM, amongst these referral cases seen in participating hospitals during the survey period, was 3.9 percent (range 2.53-5.65 percent). They also analyzed data regarding grain-free pet food store sales provided by the Nielsen Company, which showed a 500 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2019.

“Based on the data we received from veterinary cardiologists across the United States, we did not observe a significant increase in DCM incidence rate over time, which included the recent period when grain-free pet food sales grew exponentially,” said Dr. Stephanie Clark, PhD, CVT, PAS, CFS, Dpl. ACAS of BSM Partners, an article co-author and a board-certified companion animal nutritionist. “The existing scientific literature indicates that nutritional factors can lead to the development of DCM, but we did not find a correlation in the DCM incidence rate to grain-free pet food sales.”

Dr. Stacey Leach DVM, DACVIM, an article co-author, and Chief of Cardiology and Associate Teaching Professor of Cardiology at the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Health Center, noted the following: “This work is unique because we only examined cases of canine DCM diagnosed by veterinary cardiologists and is a significant addition to our understanding of DCM.”

BSM Partners is the largest full-service pet care research, consulting and strategy-to-shelf product innovation firm. BSM Partners’ research professionals collaborate with hundreds of clients ranging from the largest companies to the smallest upstart companies to formulate, review and advise on the development of hundreds of new products each year, including grain-free and grain-inclusive dog foods, treats, and supplements.

Read the journal article here.

Source: Pet Age

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