“I thought I was doing the right thing.” We’ve heard this frequently from customers over the past while, ever since the US Food and Drug Administration released their report about a possible link between some dog foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). It’s clear that no one, including the scientific community, is sure what is going on, and the frenzy on social media that has ensued has only served to further confuse and trouble concerned dog owners.
First of all, let’s look at what DCM is. From Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, Fourth Edition: “Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart chambers enlarge and the walls of the ventricles become thin. The heart muscle weakens and begins to fail.”
There’s a lot more to know about the possible causes, symptoms, and treatment of DCM. PetMD.com has a good article.
Those of us in the pet industry, from retailers to distributors to manufacturers, are greatly concerned about the DCM issue. Sure, we are in business to make a living, but the vast majority of us choose to be involved with the pet business because we too own and love pets. We would like to have definitive answers as much as anyone else, but it’s clear that certainty will evade us for some time yet. In the meantime, we are doing as much as we can, with the health of our pets being our focus. In Canada, the industry is represented by an organization called the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and they recently released a statement about the DCM issue.
So, what should you do? Most importantly, don’t panic. As detailed in the FDA report, the incidence of DCM is extremely low. Be careful about your information sources. There is a lot circulating on the internet, some of it informed, but much of it based on misinformation and hyperbole. Do some searching, and this will quickly become evident. Keep a balanced approach and be sure to read beyond the headlines.
Be watchful and alert to your own dog’s health. This should be something we do every day anyway. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian.
If you believe you should change your dog’s diet as a precautionary measure, don’t hesitate to talk to us about alternatives. There are many choices available. As always, we are committed to helping you make the best choice for you and your pet.