Taurine & Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

As you've likely heard, there has been a lot of controversy and confusion about the correlation between grain-free pet foods and DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) over the past few years,  It is an incredibly complex topic and there is certainly no consensus of opinion; however, the original FDA study, has been deemed 'debunked' by most veterinarians and nutritionists.  The study is mostly considered flawed, being based on too small of a sample and unscientific criteria ... even the FDA has since claimed that they are unsure if there is a connection between DCM and grain-free foods.


There are some take-aways though, based on the opinions of the vast majority of integrative veterinarians:

   - Taurine is an Essential Amino Acid (a building block of protein).  

   - Taurine is necessary for healthy functions in the heart, eyes and brain, among other benefits.  A deficiency can lead to heart disease like DCM and vision problems.  Some breeds are genetically predisposed to this condition.

   - Taurine is found naturally in meat, fish, raw milk and eggs.  There are especially high levels of Taurine in organ meats, and it is most concentrated in heart muscle.

   - Grains contain ZERO Taurine.  

   - Taurine is vital, yet very volatile.  It is easily destroyed by heat and processing.  If a food contains too low of a meat content or it is unbalanced, there will be a deficiency.  If a food is over-processed, Taurine must be added in a synthetic form (just read your ingredient panels).

   - It is not a matter of whether a food is grain-free or not -- it's a matter of whether the food contains enough meat.  Replacing the 'binders' in grain-inclusive foods for the typical grain-free 'binders' (potato, legumes, etc) does not mean that there is adequate Taurine.

   - Dogs and cats fed a species-appropriate diet (high meat, low carb) rarely suffer from DCM.  Low grain, but equally important, low potato, legume, etc,  is important.

   - Ensuring variety (rotating different proteins and added organ meats) is crucial.

   - The less processed the diet is (raw, gently cooked, freeze-dried, dehydrated is  best), the more natural Taurine you will provide.

   - At Metro Pet Market, we pride ourselves on ensuring our foods are species- appropriate, meaning a high meat content as required by our furry carnivore family members.  We still recommend a variety of foods and treats for maximum health benefits.


To learn more, check out some of the following information:

 (video starts at ~5:30 minutes)

There is a great post on Facebook with Dr. Karen Becker called 'Popular Grain-Free Pet Foods Are Causing Heart Disease:

One of our pet food brands, Carna4, has written a great article:

Many of our pet food brands have more information on their websites, and they are accessible to answer questions about Taurine levels in their foods.