DEAR DR. FOX: My collie, Jake, has developed a skin problem. In his butt area, he has brown, sticky fluid oozing from his skin around his rear thigh, and the whole area is inflamed. My vet is stumped with this condition, as he has never seen it before. He's been a vet for over 30 years.
The vet asked if I changed Jake's diet. I did add Alpo Meal Helper moist packets of food to his dry food. Could this have caused this problem? I did not feed Jake this product every day -- probably twice a week. I added one packet to his dinner. I'm going to say that this problem began a little over a week later after being fed the Meal Helper. Nothing appeared immediately.
At first I thought this was just another skin infection as Jake has had many skin infections in his life. This latest problem has been going off and on for about six weeks.
I didn't make a connection between the food and the skin infection, but after I stopped feeding it to him, he is now recovering. -- L.C., Middletown, New Jersey
DEAR L.C.: I looked up the ingredients of what you suspect may have caused the acute skin reaction in your dog, and there are many ingredients that could possibly cause nutrigenic disease. Proof is difficult, but since your dog is now recovering after he stopped being fed the product in question, some ingredient or combination thereof might have been affecting your dog. It's possible that other dogs, depending on their breed, how much was fed, for how long and so forth, had adverse reactions, which readers can share with me.
After reading the ingredient list of this product, I have to ask: How did this semi-moist, preservative- and artificial coloring-laced meal "helper" ever get into the market? Who or what is it "helping" beyond its makers and sellers? The product is laced with preservatives to prevent high moisture content-related spoilage, including corn syrup and the preservative ethoxyquin, which caused a storm several years ago because of its probable carcinogenicity. Most pet food manufacturers stopped putting it in their products -- even though it is still put in condemned "meat byproducts" and tallow (animal fat) to stop spoilage. Other ingredients have been variously identified as potential endocrine and metabolic disruptors and associated with obesity, diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergic skin and ear conditions and even liver disease and cancer in certain breeds.
"Meat byproducts" could mean anything from rendered roadkill to euthanized horses and other animals as well as the condemned parts of animals arriving diseased, debilitated, dying and dead at the slaughtering and processing facility. Claiming that the product meets "nutritional levels for maintenance of adult dogs" implies that it could be the main food for dogs on a regular basis.
This product is made by Purina, which now owns Alpo. I consulted with Purina several years ago on food imprinting and preference in dogs and met some good nutritional scientists. Why none of them blew the whistle on this Meal Helper product, I'll never know.
FROM PET FOODS TO HUMAN FOODS: ROUNDUP DETECTED IN EVERYDAY FOODS
Recently, I cited a research study by the Alliance for Natural Health USA that reported finding the potentially carcinogenic herbicide glyphosate in common cat and dog foods, to which Monsanto objected. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. These same researchers have found traces of glyphosate in popular breakfast foods -- oatmeal, bagels and wheat cereal -- that they attribute to farmers using this herbicide on conventional cereal crops as a desiccant shortly before harvest. Glyphosate was also found in eggs and dairy creamer. This is a clear indication of "bioaccumulation" -- the herbicide in the animals' food building up in animals' tissues. The researchers assert that this process of tissue accumulation most assuredly occurs in humans who are part of the same contaminated food chain. This report can be accessed at anh-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ANHUSA-glyphosate-breakfast-study-FINAL.pdf.
Be sure to look for organic certification and non-GMO- verified produce for better safety and nutritional quality.
(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.)