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aimee
Participant

Hi Dr. Mike,
Here are some of my thoughts.

While the jury is still out on the mechanism of non-taurine diet related DCM, its existence is established. As you know, in science, conclusions are made on available data and as new data comes in previous conclusions may need to be modified or even abandoned. I’ve found that this process can appear confusing to people.

As I understand it, the first recognized cases, in retrospect, likely had two contributing factors to their disease: taurine and non-taurine. At the time those cases first surfaced, it made sense to tap taurine as the first place to look. However, as more cases came to light it was recognized that this go round would not have a simple explanation and so a pivot occurred.

The acronym BEG was coined early based on patterns observed. I think that while labels can help, they also can harm by limiting focus. FDA identified ingredient patterns, but diets without those ingredients have resulted in cases too. Market share data revealed that companies with very little market share had a very large percentage of cases, while companies who hold a large market share did not have cases despite offering grain free options. It begs the question why?

IMO pet food politics complicates the situation. In the article you linked I would have liked to have seen the authors report what percent of sales of the big three are grain free, and what percent of the grain free market share they hold. I say this because it seems there is an ongoing mistrust of the research done by veterinary cardiologists and nutritionists because the big three have sponsored conferences they have spoken at or foundations they received grants from etc. This to me never made much sense since those companies make, I suspect, a significant portion of the grain free market. It would be shooting themselves in the foot! As outlined in the article, the pea industry however has IMO directly influenced the FDA leading to them going silent.

Like you I’ve come across folks who are fretting over the mere presence of peas/legumes/potatoes in pet food, and I think it is not warranted. I’ve found that veterinarians are giving guidelines such as the one from UC Davis to limit to no more than 2 legume ingredients in a grain inclusive diet whose inclusions are below all meat and grain ingredients. I find that reasonable.