Should You Believe the Science?

As promised, we continue to research the “grain-free debate.” Below is a recent Facebook post quoted directly from Mercy Veterinarian Clinic. More and more veterinarian clinics across the country continue to update their stance on grain-free diets as startling facts emerge daily.

Facebook Post From Mercy Vet Clinic

August 9th, 2019



“Last year, cardiologists around the country started observing unexpected cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dog breeds that historically had not been known to develop this serious condition. Not all cases were alike, but most dogs improved upon dietary change and taurine supplementation. The most frequent commonality between cases were the presence of legumes in the kibble.

Once the word got out, a team of investigators and the FDA started looking into this issue, and in December, the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine (JAVMA), a highly reputable publication, issued an op-ed implicating B.E.G. diets (boutique, exotic and grain free) and lack of taurine as most likely culprits.


The article has been downloaded thousands of times, and many worried pet owners and veterinarians are struggling to choose and recommend safe formulations. Often the knee jerk response is to go back to poor quality, grain laden kibbles. Here at Mercy Vet, we have looked for answers and have spoken to our cardiologists to try to come up with a common sense response. Then we found out that the original article in JAVMA was not peer reviewed, was extremely flawed and was written by 3 researchers working for the big manufacturers that heavily rely on grains, a huge conflict of interest that had been undisclosed.

We are just short of calling this all a big fraud, and the real lesson we have learned is that we cannot trust anyone! The pet food industry, the manufacturers, AAFCO (who requires no feeding trials) even the FDA which is refusing to release critical information about their research. As veterinarians, the AVMA has advised us to not promote raw foods – based on research provided by the very same vet who wrote this December article.

Our cardiologists tell us there is something underlying these new cases, so here’s the advice you’ve been waiting for:

-Avoid using food from the same company all the time; varying type of food prevents excesses and deficiencies from occurring

-Use fresh foods, frozen, freeze dried -Supplement your dog’s diet with fresh ingredients; discuss specific supplements with your vet as dogs are individuals and certain disease patterns affect their needs -Keep track of weight. If underfed, the dog may not be getting some critical amino acids methionine and cysteine – from which the dog synthesizes taurine.

Visit your vet annually, or if there are signs of illness or changes in energy level, appetite, or engagement.” Sources: (Mercy Vet Facebook Media Page, Journal of Veterinary medical Association)

Click Here for the Journal of Veterinary medical Association “JAVMA” in which Mercy Vet is referencing above. We have quoted some of this information below which we received directly from the FDA:

“Product Testing”

“Before the July 2018 DCM update, FDA/Vet-LIRN had tested multiple products for minerals and metals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine) and amino acids including taurine, cysteine, and methionine. That product testing did not reveal any abnormalities.

Since the July 2018 DCM update, Vet-LIRN tested both products labeled as “grain-free” and those containing grain for the following:

*protein, fat, moisture

*crude fiber, total dietary fiber, soluble fiber, in soluble fiber

* total starch, resistant starch

*cystine, methionine, and taurine

The average percent protein, fat, total taurine, total cystine, total methionine, total methionine-cystine, and resistant starch content on a dry matter basis (in other words, after removing all moisture content) were similar for both grain-free labeled and grain-containing products. For more details, please see the Vet-LIRN DCM Update HERE.

Additional food testing is in progress.

Be sure to scroll down to the “Summary Acknowledgments Section” of the JAVMA link. Here you will find information regarding the Veterinarian authors of the original DCM report as described above by Mercy Vet Clinic in the above bold text. Much like Mercy Vet Clinic, we also find it interesting that these three authors have received “Research Support” from companies such as Nestle Purina, Royal Canin and have also conducted “Sponsored Talks” for companies such as Hills Pet Nutrition, AKA., Science Diet.

We continue to believe in and stand behind all of our food brands, consisting of both grain-free and grain inclusive. Please check back for updates.