The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

Dead Farmed Salmon Recycled Into Pet Food

DEAR READERS: Off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, are floating pens: home to millions of farmed salmon. In early September, several million of those pen-raised fish unexpectedly died. The number of dead fish was reported as anywhere from 2 million to 8 million, and the reported causes for the die-off ranged from algae blooms to too-warm water.

The fishing company in question, Northern Harvest Sea Farms, said that 2.6 million salmon carcasses will be sent to another company to be processed into cat food and other animal feed. (, Oct. 11)

Pet food safety advocate Susan Thixton posted this comment on her website,

“The FDA openly allows diseased animal material to be disposed of into pet food. As recent as April 30, 2019, the FDA stated: ‘We do not believe that the use of diseased animals or animals that died otherwise than by slaughter to make animal food poses a safety concern and we intend to continue to exercise enforcement discretion where appropriate.’

“‘Enforcement discretion’ is the FDA’s way of saying ‘illegal waste disposal into pet food without disclosure to pet owners.’ Should you wish to tell the FDA how you feel about the illegal waste the agency allows in pet food, please email them at”

Thanks to for forwarding me this story.

DEAR DR. FOX: I have been using Seresto collars for my 51-pound springer spaniel for the past two years, and he has developed cancer all of a sudden.

Chipper will be 12 in November, and he was fine until I started with these collars. He developed bone cancer starting in the jawbone close to the collar.

This is the first time I’m hearing of this connection, as I read your article. Thank you for the info. -- M.S., Trenton, New Jersey

DEAR M.S.: You are now witness to the sad reality of the high incidence of various cancers in dogs.

Cancer is a multifactor disease in most instances, involving a combination of genetics and, often, environmental factors. My approach is to avoid potential carcinogenic sources from the environment, which include the long-term use of insecticides on both food crops and our animal companions.

The ingredients in the Seresto collar could have played a role, but this is difficult to prove beyond circumstantial probability. High levels of fluoride and pesticides in some pet foods and drinking water could also be contributing factors.

The best you can do is to make life as comfortable as possible for your dog. Feed him a high-protein, high-fat, low-starch diet with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements, including one daily teaspoon of fish oil, powdered turmeric and ginger mixed into his food. Also give him a tablespoon of blueberries, grated carrots or broccoli, 500 mg of vitamin C, and 200 mcg of selenium. At bedtime, give him 6 mg of melatonin, a potent antioxidant.

There are many holistic and nutraceutical ways of addressing animal patients with various cancers, along with surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

To find a holistic veterinary practitioner in your area, visit


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising people not to purchase pig ear treats for their dogs: Since 2015, at least 127 people in 33 states have been infected with salmonella from these pig parts.

These parts come from Argentina and Brazil. Pig parts from China are blocked because of the current crisis of Asiatic swine fever, which has decimated the domestic pig population in several Asian countries.

(Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

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