DEAR READERS: Biomin, a company that provides products to support the animal-feed industry, has identified poisons called mycotoxins in moldy crops around the world, including corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, rye, peanuts, cotton seed, sugar beets and sugar cane. The U.S. stands out as a major source of these toxins, being found in livestock feed and pet foods.
Companion animals are in double jeopardy, being fed animal parts potentially contaminated by these cumulative toxins (along with glyphosate and other agrichemical residues). Some of these substances can cause cancer, liver damage and other serious health problems. Triple jeopardy arises for companion animals from bacterial endotoxins, especially from the remains of slaughtered animals condemned for human consumption. When both endotoxins and mycotoxins are found in an animal food, the synergy of the two increases the risk of each.
From a post on Biomin.net, mainly about the risk to livestock:
“Mycotoxins and endotoxins can also have an impact on the intestinal barrier function, and so increase the risk of endotoxin uptake into the bloodstream. ... Both mycotoxins and endotoxins can trigger inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects (through reducing response or directly affecting immune cells), and both toxin types can affect, and be exacerbated by, liver damage.”
So I advise cat and dog owners to read the labels on their animals’ manufactured foods and avoid those containing any of the above ingredients. Look for the Organic Certification label. And to find some of the safer pet foods -- if you do not make your own from quality, human-grade ingredients -- visit truthaboutpetfood.com and support their continued efforts to make pet food safe and wholesome.
DEAR DR. FOX: I enjoy reading your column every week. Can cats, as well as dogs, benefit from local honey for wounds and allergies? -- K.S., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR K.S.: Local honey, or better still, bee pollen, may help cats with certain allergies to local grasses and other plant pollens.
Put a pinch in the food daily and work up to a half-teaspoon for a 10-pound cat during the pollen season, which in some areas can be year-round. Caution is called for with diabetic animals. Also, ask your veterinarian to determine what kind of allergy the cat may be suffering from, since skin and respiratory problems alike are often caused by certain food ingredients such as fish and rice.
As for wounds: In an earlier column, a reader told of her veterinarian using honey to facilitate wound healing in a cat.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)