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We’re sure by now you’ve seen the newest report from the FDA about their investigation into any links between DCM and grain free foods. It’s being shared like crazy on Facebook and has made both local and national news. And the news does look very scary:
There is a lot going on behind these clickbait headlines.
Back in 2014 the FDA began receiving reports of dogs contracting a heart condition, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), that is not normally seen in their breed. Initially, the only seeming connection between the cases was their food, as most of them were eating a grain free diet.
In DCM, the heart walls begin to thin and the heart enlarges. It has to work harder to pump blood around, decreasing oxygen delivered to the body or causing blood to build up in the lungs. DCM can be largely genetic; indeed, many larger breeds are known for their predisposition to DCM. DCM can be diet related; Years ago cats were coming down with the same heart condition that was traced back to a lack of taurine in their diet, an amino acid necessary for, among other things, heart health, so it was immediately suspected that the pulses/legumes and potatoes that are used in place of grains might be blocking taurine in dogs, too. DCM can also be due to other diseases and parasites, like hypothyroidism and heartworms. The only positive test for DCM is an echocardiogram, as this shows the heart and its size.
The FDA released their first report in July in 2018. Their original report caused a lot of fear and consternation among dog owners. We always want to do the best for our pets, and the thought that the decisions we make in their best interest might actually have caused harm is upsetting. The information in that first report was misinterpreted and the news spread like wildfire.
The FDA’s newest report has not done a lot to clear up the issue. We care very much about this topic, and have been following the news closely, and hope we can help break it down and see what is happening behind the numbers.
What the report tells us:
There are an estimated 77 million dogs in the US. There are 560 dogs in the FDA study – this represents 0.0007% of the population.
The dogs in the study ate both grain free and grain inclusive diets. The report lists the foods that affected dogs were eating, and while grain free recipes were at the top of the list, a lot of diets that include grain are also mentioned in the report (the chart only shows foods that had over 10 reports; foods from the Big Four – Purina, Hill’s, Pedigree, and Iams- are mentioned throughout.) These are just the diets the affected dogs were on, not that they caused these cases.
Some of the dogs were not officially diagnosed via an echocardiogram, so it is not known how many actually had DCM.
Some 200 of the dogs listed are breeds that have a genetic predisposition to DCM, so there’s no idea if it related
While most of the cases ate dry kibble, every food type was included, even raw and homemade.
It was originally thought that it might be a problem with exotic proteins, such as kangaroo, bison, or duck, that were the cause, but this newest report shows over half the dogs ate chicken and lamb.
It was originally thought that dogs with DCM would have low taurine blood levels, as that Is the usual cause of the disease, but many dogs were found to have normal levels.
The FDA themselves say there is a reporting bias in their data; because the information was shared in many breed specific groups, they received more reports including those breeds. It’s not a true random sampling good science requires.
Dogs listed in some Facebook groups as recovering from DCM after changing to a grain inclusive diet are also on medications for DCM, meaning there’s no way to be sure it was diet caused.
There have been no recalls on any diets to date.
The FDA does not recommend changing food at this point.
The report also states that “the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.”
The FDA also says: “we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer”
This is still an ongoing investigation, and the reports from the FDA are not by any means the final results. They are still collecting information and conducting studies.
While one dog dying from their diet is one dog too many, we feel the FDA released this information way too soon, without any data to back it up. The numbers are too small to get any clear idea of what is happening, and the science is badly done (most of these numbers are not a random sampling of the canine population). People and companies have jumped on this opportunity to push their own foods based on fear. Poor quality diets have a better chance of predisposing your pet to diabetes, obesity, and cancers (over 50% of dogs being overweight). We are what we eat, and our dogs are, too. There is no reason to feed our dogs low quality proteins, byproducts, and cheap, high starch fillers like corn, wheat, and rice gluten. It is impossible to make a cheap, low cost food made with wholesome, natural ingredients.
We firmly stand behind the foods we carry, and the results we have seen in our customer’s dogs over the years, and we do not agree with veterinarians recommending low quality foods. Each brand and flavor is carefully selected with a great deal of thought and research behind both the company and the food. For those who want the option, our grain inclusive diet offerings include Country Naturals, Fromm, Farmina, Wellness, Natures Logic; they do not contain potatoes, pulses, and legumes, and are made with high quality, human grade whole meats and meat meals with organ meats and no byproducts. The grains are low glycemic, so they are broken down more slowly without the spikes in blood sugar. Stop by and see what we have to offer.
Fromm feeders! Take advantage of this coupon for a free can with your next purchase of dry food.
Haven’t fed Fromm before? Stop by and find out why it’s one of our favorite foods (and get a free can when you do try it.)
Visit https://frommfamily.com/offer/F1755 for your coupon
Offer expires 7/31/2019
Beautiful gargoyle geckos!
These adorable little lizards are easy to care for and make great starter lizards. We have three colors:
Red stripped, red and orange stripped, and orange blotch.
Stop by to learn more about them, and check out our caresheet here. http://bit.ly/gargoyle_gecko
Give us a call at 847-251-6750 or drop us a line for more information!
If anyone has access to paper shreds we could use them for Adopt-A-Pet dogs and cats fostered at Wilmette Pet Center!
Do you shred your personal mail at home? Does your school or business shred documents?
You may have heard that Wilmette Pet Center does not sell puppies and kittens. Wilmette Pet Center devotes their entire cage space, staff and resources to shelter dogs and cats – effectively becoming a satellite adoption center for organizations such as Adopt-A-Pet.
Wilmette Pet Center averages 10 rescued dogs and cats weekly and paper shreds keep them safe clean, and warm!
Donated paper shreds allow us to continue to offer our support for homeless cats and dogs, and are a valuable resource that allow us to do so.
We would appreciate any shredded material that you can donate that:
- does not contain staples or other non-digestible debris
- is not newspaper, as the print comes off and dirties the cages and animals
- long single cut strands are preferred, cross-cut is acceptable.
Please pass this along to anyone you may know that can help!
Don’t throw it away!
Recycle Paper and Pets by bringing paper shreds to Wilmette Pet Center – Your Adopt-A-Pet Center!
625 Green Bay Rd., Wilmette, IL
Call 847-251-6750 for store hours and more info.
Check out the new guy!
This adorable little guy is a gargoyle gecko – a rather scary name for a sweet little lizard!
Gargoyle geckos were once considered very rare in the pet trade, but through careful husbandry and the efforts of dedicated hobbyists these small, adorable lizards are becoming more available.
And due to their ease of care and unique they are becoming incredibly popular. They make fantastic pets for both the novice and the advanced reptile keeper!
They originate from the New Caledonia islands (between Fiji and Australia), just like crested geckos – in fact, their care is identical! You can see their care sheet on our website here.
Stop by and find out why these little guys are so popular!
We have everything you need to set your new gecko up properly, from the right sized cage and most effective substrates to ways to keep their humidity and temperature just where they need – and we have the experience to help you succeed!
Check out the adorable African pygmy hedgehogs!
“The cutest things come in small packages” This certainly fits for hedgehogs! Behind those prickly defensive quills is a great little animal with a ton of personality. Hedgehogs are gaining in popularity, due to their gentle nature, ease of care, and, of course, their adorable faces!
The African Pygmy Hedgehog, the animals you see in our store and that are most commonly kept as pets, is actually a hybrid of two or three species, all from Africa. Since importing animals from Africa is not permitted, they are all captive bred. The original species are normally nocturnal, hunting the semiarid areas and dry savannahs, looking to feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, and melons.
This girl is outgoing and friendly. She doesn’t curl up and is comfortable being petted.
(See the video below)
In our home, their diet consists of pelleted hedgehog food, supplemented with fresh veggies, fruits, and proteins like cat food and live insects.
They are normally nocturnal, but can easily be switched to being awake during the daytime when we’d like to see them.
This girl is a little more shy, but with a little bit of patience and coaxing, she’ll come out; once they’re used to you, they stay uncurled and are quite sweet.
- The food is packed with nitrogen gas. This drives out the oxygen that is responsible for oxidizing fat and causing food to go rancid. This type of packaging is used in many human foods.
- They use a unique process of vacuum coating each kibble; this integrates lipids throughout the entire kibble, forming more of a protective barrier on normally , and allows them to include vitamins
- They only use GMO-free spelt and oats.
- The only preservatives are natural tocopherols, nothing artificial.