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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wheat gluten update

For an update on what wheat gluten is and why we import most of it, please click here.
Thank you, catmanager, for this very important info.

Now this....

Hills, a reputable pet food company that makes Science Diet and veterinary precription diets, has recalled its feline m/d kibble
The feline m/d is made with wheat gluten, from the same source as that found in Menu Foods' recalled products. Once again, this wheat is grown in China. What are we growing in the Prairie provinces and down in the US? Figs? Can we not procure our wheat from our own farmers? At least this way we'd know that banned rodenticides will not be found on the crops.
When Menu Foods recalled some of their foods, I thought to myself: While I know that the prescription foods I recommend have the science to back them up, the sources of their ingredients are as unknown to me as the mysteries of a black hole.
Now we find out that Menu Foods, whose pet food I can say is probably not of the best quality, has something in common with a very high-quality, highly-reputable prescription diet: they both get their wheat from the same source in China. Wow, now that makes me feel great.
I empathize with every owner's concerns. Now here's the lesson: know what you feed your pets and sources of their ingredients. Call customer service if you have any questions regarding your pet food. I'm sure they'll be trained to answer questions pertaining to their ingredients, especially after these recalls. If they can't answer you properly or don't know, switch foods.

Chinese or North American wheat? Toxicology testing will give you the answer.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Not a fungus

Nope. Not a fungus, although quite a pretty electron micrograph below, wouldn't you say? Everyone knows it already: the compound found in the pet food is called aminopterin. It is a rodenticide that is not approved for use in Canada or the US. Aminopterin has a similar mode of action as methotrexate, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug. The typical rodenticides (at least those known to vets) inhibit vitamin K synthesis, important in blood clotting. This is why veterinary patients can hemorrhage after ingesting this type of rodenticide.
Rodenticides causing kidney failure (acute tubular necrosis, more specifically) was hitherto (who am I? Poe?) unknown to me.

Aminopterin, not a fungus.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pet food recall: Update

Aspergillus: could this be the illness-causing culprit in the recalled pet food?

After speaking with a close friend of mine who is an ACVP-certified veterinary pathologist, he has confirmed that pathologists across the continent have been describing similar, if not identical, findings in tissue samples from patients having died of the suspected "tainted" pet food.
Acute tubular degeneration and necrosis, with numerous intratubular birefringent crystals. The exact nature of the crystals is not clear (whether they are oxalate or not). Those finding are not specific and the etiology remains unknown at this time, but Aspergillus-associated oxalate nephrosis has been suggested based on the presence of crystals. There
are a few possible causes for oxalate nehprosis. Toxicologists have been analyzing the foods, but nothing significant has been found yet.

Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) toxicity typically causes acute tubular necrosis with the presence of oxalate crystals, however, there is no evidence at this time to claim that antifreeze is the culprit.
Aspergillus is a fungal organism that is ubiquitous, and was found to be the source of serious problems in human patients having undergone surgery in both a New Brunswick and Quebec hospitals in 2002.
It not uncommon to diagnose veterinary patients with infections caused by Aspergillus organisms. Typically, they are respiratory in nature, but can also cause other serious illness such as osteomyelitis (bone infections).

These are calcium oxalate crystals which can be found in the urine and tissues of veterinary patients (human, too) with ethylene glycol toxicity. They can be more elongated and obelisk-shaped, called the monohydrate form.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pet food recall

If your cat or dog becomes sick in the next few days, look no further than the bag of pet food in your kitchen. Retailers across North America are pulling bags of pet food from their shelves after several cases of renal failure in cats and dogs were linked to these foods.
This is quite scary. So far, the exact source of illness is unknown. I was relieved to see that the foods I feed my kitties are not on the recall list.
To boot, the company making the food is based in Ontario. In the spotlight once again, this will surely get tourists wanting to visit Ontario.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Cesar's Way

Likely millions have read the bestseller "Cesar's Way," authored by a man born in Mexico, who now runs a very successful canine behavioural rehabilitation center in California. It was shelved for a few months and having little interest (for now) in the last book I was reading, I just picked it up.
Wow, is all I have to say. I concede I have just started it and therefore should not even be offering an iota of an opinion, but I KNOW that I am going to like it and, most importantly, agree with his views on dog behaviour, its roots, and its treatment.
In the foreword, the president of the International Association of Canine Professionals (?), Martin Deeley, writes, "Dogs are dogs, and we need to respect them as dogs. We do them a huge disservice by treating them like humans and thus create many of the bad behaviors we see today." This is exactly what I have been talking about and thinking since I've started practice. Note my ire in one of my previous posts: a Dachshund in a dress walking down a runway? Give me a break.
The author of the book, Cesar Millan, has had decades of experience with dogs and appears to know and understand basic canine behaviour, something the general population has forgotten. We are trying to mold dog behaviour to suit our lifestyles - against thousands of years of evolutionary constraints! This cannot be accomplished.
While I finish reading the book, please remember this: dogs ARE dogs. Enough with the doggie dresses and strollers.

The dog in the first photo belongs in a stroller as much as this one does.