Pet food safety advocate and author Susan Thixton's truthaboutpetfood.com has published her official list of pet foods for 2019 that she says are safe enough to feed her own pets and, by extension, anyone else's. The pet foods on the list were chosen after detailed information about the foods was provided and the quality of ingredients was verified. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a contributor to the website.)
The list features 19 dog foods and 12 cat foods and includes cooked-style and raw-style foods, as well as dehydrated or freeze-dried foods. There is also a brand of kibble. Most of the foods on the list are sold in the United States, while two are sold in Canada.
Because the website is funded by consumers, the complete list is only available by purchase. Go to truthaboutpetfood.com for more details.
DEAR DR.FOX: I am reaching out to you in the hopes of finding some answers about my dogs' recent illnesses and subsequent deaths.
One day this past September, our healthy dachshund/pug mix, Jaxsin, became suddenly ill. After two weeks of tests, hospitalizations, etc., he was diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). We made the decision to euthanize him after we saw he was not improving, and he appeared to be suffering.
Then recently, our very happy, healthy dachshund mix, Stella, began vomiting what appeared to be bile and having bloody stools. This started in the evening, but she seemed fine otherwise. The following morning, she got sick again, so we made an appointment with the vet later that day.
Prior to her appointment, I was sitting next to her and noticed she was very cold to the touch and barely responsive. We ended up rushing her to the vet. They took her blood, which was like molasses, and put her on IV fluids. She later had a seizure and her heart stopped.
Her blood work indicated that her liver was in bad shape. The vet said she had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), but that there may have been something underlying going on with her liver. She died so quickly, we didn't have time to further assess what was going on with her.
After determining that our dog didn't get into any poisons or chemicals, we asked the vet if Stella's HGE could be connected to the immune-mediated hemolytic anemia that our first dog, Jaxsin, died from, and she said no. We should add that Stella did have a smoked bone from the farmers market; the X-ray showed pieces of bone in her belly. Still, the vet said that was not the cause of her failed liver and possibly not the cause of the HGE.
The diagnosis of HGE was given because she had a bloody gut, but the liver failure is a concern. Is there something we are missing?
To lose two dogs so close together -- both of them were fine one minute and dead the next. We are just searching for answers and really want to protect our other dogs. The veterinarians don't know the reasons either of these diseases happened. We would appreciate any insights from you. -- T.S., Alton, Illinois
DEAR T.S.: My condolences over the tragic loss of your two dogs, which must have been devastating for you.
In my opinion, the immune-mediated hemolytic anemia could well have been triggered by an adverse vaccine reaction. Was there recent revaccination, and if so, what was it for?
Your other dog may well have been poisoned by the smoked bone. It could have been contaminated by bacteria that released toxins damaging the liver and gut, which tried to block the toxins from entering her system but failed. A very sad situation for which you are not to blame.
I advise against purchasing all smoked and dried animal bones and other body parts like pig ears and feet because of this kind of risk.
T.S. REPLIES: Thank you for your quick response, as well as your condolences. He hadn't been recently revaccinated prior to his death, but he did get flea and tick medicine called Sentinel.
DEAR T.S.: The Sentinel could have been the trigger for the acute anemia. Veterinarian Dr. Wendy Brooks writes:
"Depending on which study you read, 60 to 75 percent of IMHA cases do not have apparent causes. In some cases, though, there is an underlying problem: something that triggered the reaction. A drug can induce a reaction that stimulates the immune system and ultimately mimics some sort of red blood cell membrane protein. Not only will the immune system seek the drug, but it will seek proteins that closely resemble the drug and innocent red blood cells will be consequently destroyed. Drugs are not the only such stimuli; cancers can stimulate exactly the same reaction (especially hemangiosarcoma)." (Taken from: veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951868.)
So your veterinarian should report this possible adverse drug reaction to the FDA and the manufacturer.
WANT A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP? LET THE DOG ON THE BED, STUDY SAYS
Women who allow a dog to sleep on their bed are more likely to sleep soundly than women who allow a cat on the bed or sleep with a human partner, researchers say.
A recent study concluded that "dogs have an innate ability to comfort us and help us sleep soundly without disturbing us."
(New Orleans' WGNO-TV, Nov. 27.)
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