DEAR READERS: Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, recently designated a possible carcinogen, is absorbed by genetically modified crops that have been engineered to be resistant to the weed killer. Most corn, soy, sugar beet, cotton and canola produced in the United States are genetically modified, as is much imported rice. My concerns about this herbicide getting into the food chain for both humans and animals have been recently confirmed.
Research scientist Dr. Anthony Samsel of Deerfield, New Hampshire, has shared some of his findings prior to his scientific report being published. Using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), the Environmental Protection Agency-accepted method of analysis, he found levels of glyphosate ranging from 0.022 to 0.30 milligrams per kilogram in cat and dog foods. Brands evaluated include Purina, Friskies, Iams, 9 Lives, Kibbles 'n Bits and Rachael Ray.
According to Dr. Samsel, the pet food industry "adds NaNO2 (sodium nitrite) to some pet foods as a preservative. This is very common, and, in the presence of glyphosate, is deadly. Glyphosate reacts continuously over time with NO2 and produces N-Nitrosoglyphosate, which is a nasty carcinogen, along with phosphonic acids AMPA and MAMPA. Another scary scenario is nitrite (NO2) formation from nitric oxide (NO), which reacts with glyphosate, resulting in N-Nitrosoglyphosate. This is another reason why this stuff needs to be immediately pulled from the market."
The peer-reviewed research article by Drs. Samsel and Seneff, "Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases IV: Cancer and Related Pathologies," which includes these findings, will be published this month in a special issue of The Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry. Samsel launched a GoFundMe site with the GMO Free News to help raise money for research: gofundme.com/xrp4h9g.
As per my review of GMOs in pet foods posted on my website, DrFoxVet.net, several health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and skin and organ problems, may arise as a consequence of GMOs being included in the animals' food.
DEAR DR. FOX: My friend has multiple cats and, therefore, lots of cat toys. We were at her house, and my daughter picked up a wand with a long cord and a squeaky mouse on the end. I guess it is a common cat toy, but not having cats, we've never seen one before. She started playing with it, and our 7-year-old Yorkie, Cooper, went crazy! We bought one for our house immediately, and he plays with it several times a day. We chide ourselves for not realizing sooner that we were going against his natural instincts in trying to get him to play with us in "normal" ways. We'd always had Labradors before our Yorkie, so we bought him tiny tennis balls and tried to get him to fetch. No deal. He'd chase it, but never bring it back.
Once we introduced the cat toy, we quickly realized that his instinct is to chase rodents, and a toy that promotes that is going to be the trick. We run around the house trailing this "rat" on a string, and he chases us with passion bordering on obsession. It is some serious exercise for us all. We fling the squeaky toy under the furniture so he can burrow for it, and eventually we let him pounce on the rat and chew it for a minute or two so he feels successful.
This toy has been so much fun for us and our little dog; we can't believe we didn't discover it sooner. We've always wanted to engage with him on a physical level but didn't know how. Cooper is a great lap dog, but we all wanted to play with him. My daughter says he looks happier and healthier ever since we got his toy.
I hope this inspires other terrier owners to explore different types of toys; we wasted seven years by skipping the cat aisle at the pet store. -- R.C., Washington, D.C.
DEAR R.C.: Thanks for reminding all dog caregivers that different dogs need different toys, and as a result, so many poor dogs are bored and lack playful stimulation for their minds and bodies. Be sure the toys are nontoxic and not likely to break and be swallowed, causing internal injury. Yorkies are little hunters indeed, and a mouselike squeaky toy could be a trigger for great fun for them.
DEAR DR. FOX: We have three dogs and one cat. The dogs sleep as long as we do, but the cat used to wake up at about 6 a.m., walk on my body and lay on my chest, purring. If I closed the bedroom door, he scratched the door and meowed until I let him in. We had an old kennel from the dogs, and I recently put the cat's tepee-type bed in it with an old blanket he likes, along with some food and water. I put him in there, and he sleeps all night. He likes it so much he goes in his "house" way before we go to bed. We now have a happy cat and happy owners. -- T.T., Silver Spring, Maryland
DEAR T.T.: Thanks for sharing your solution! This may not work for all cats, but many readers with early-rising cats may find your solution an effective remedy. Be sure to play with your cat before bed.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 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.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)