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The Elephant in the Pet Food: Endotoxins

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  1. Regina

    Susan, you mentioned at the beginning of your post that this was one of the most concerning thing you’ve heard about pet foods, and their safety.

    I honestly could not read the entire article. I got to a certain point, and just could not stomach any more of the story.

    This is just one more reason folks should stop buying those crappy products with “by-products” in them.

    Feed your pets real food, that has been handled respectfully, and you will avoid the nastiness mentioned in this article.

    I usually don’t appreciate people commenting if they haven’t read the whole article, but, I just could not finish it. But still wanted to make a comment. I apologize for breaking my own rule about reading the whole item before commenting.

    Thank you Susan for keeping us informed

    1. Batzion

      I want to add that, for those who don’t know, the CDC is NOT part of the U.S. government. It is a private corporation.

  2. Yvonne McGehee

    This is a great informative article Susan, thank you very much.

  3. lili

    Wow, what an article. The synergy of toxins and propylene glycol is frightening. I am very careful in what I feed my pets. However, when my dog had hip surgery, I cautiously decided to switch him to a high-end kibble from raw for the convalescent period. Of course, prophylactic antibiotics were given. A few weeks after his surgery he developed all of the symptoms of endotoxemia. A very sick dog and expensive hospital stay ensued, a diagnosis of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, and more antibiotics. By this time he was eating chicken and rice. A few days after the antibiotics ended, he started getting sick again. More antibiotics, and I put him back on raw, because he was holding out for it. A few days after the antibiotics ended, he started getting sick again.

    This time, I consulted Dr. Google. I bought Florastor, which is not your usual probiotic. It contains a kind of large celled yeast called saccharamyces boulardii. Used by people with c. difficile and diarrhea from antibiotics. It really did the trick. Instantly outnumbered the bad guys in his gut.

    I have also given this to my cat who got sick a few weeks after antibiotics (chin acne) with symptoms consistent with endotoxemia. I gave him a small amount of Florator, about three times in one day, and he immediately got better, after days of no appetite, lethargy, severe abdominal pain.

    Here, specifically about endotoxins, a study says about saccharamyces boulardii:

    “S. boulardii secretes enzymatic proteins, including a protease that degrades Clostridium difficile toxins and a phosphatase that inactivates endotoxins such as the lipopolysaccharide produced by E. coli. ”

    Saccharomyces Boulardii as a Probiotic for Children

    Marcia L. Buck, Pharm.D., FCCP

    Pediatr Pharm. 2009;15(7)

    I keep Florastor on hand, it’s expensive, but cheaper at Costco over the counter. I have given it to people with sick pets with similar symptoms, and problem solved. I think every pet owner should have it in their medicine cabinet. It will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars, and could save your pet’s life.

    1. Jane Eagle

      Thanks for this. I have fostered dozens of dogs, and for a few years, all the dogs who came from my local pound brought clostridium with them…which caused my 4 to get sick, and hundreds to treat everyone. Since I reported to the pound, and switched to raw, we have not had another outbreak; but everyone gets probiotics every day. I have put Florastor on my shopping list.

    2. Jo

      lili, what daily dose of Florastor would you give to a cat as a preventative? Are we talking something like 1/4 capsule a day? I actually have it on hand, but have not yet given it. Txs!

      And thanks to Susan for another outstanding, informative article.

      1. lili

        I wouldn’t use it as a daily supplement. It’s meant to be kept on hand in your medicine cabinet, in case it is needed, like activated charcoal, or hydrogen peroxide. It is meant to be used temporarily, for a few days, or a course of antibiotics. It does not stay in the gut to populate it permanently. Everyday use could have unintended consequences; I believe there have been cases of fungemia in people who decided to use it on a daily basis. It is a yeast, after all, a useful relative of baker’s yeast. Very good for e coli, c. difficile, and endotoxins. Not so good as a regular treatment for autism, arthritis or diabetes.

    3. Kathleen

      Great job with the probiotics and being your pet’s doctor!

      I read that you used a kibble for the recovery period. I wanted to chime in just in case you are not already aware of raw freeze-dried dog food or even raw air-dried (no water required). I never knew such things existed until a few months ago. Until then I was just feeding a high-end kibble with both cooked and raw foods added. The raw freeze-dried or air-dried would have been perfect for your dog’s recovery period. I literally threw out the kibble and I’m rotating several brands: Primal, Northwest Naturals, K9 Natural, Stella & Chewy’s, TruDog, Vital Essentials, and ZiwiPeak. Are you including raw green tripe in your dog’s diet? I understand there are lots of probiotics in it. I’m using raw freeze-dried.

      1. lili

        You know, bringing up green tripe is interesting. I’ve always described it to people as “yogurt for dogs”, with all the digestive enzymes and proteins. And to anyone reading this, it has to be raw or freeze dried, not canned or cooked.
        Ugh! Can you imagine cooking green tripe in your house?

        Many of the freeze dried foods look really good, but I’m not made of money. I think I priced out ZiwiPeak, just for curiosity’s sake, and I figured it would cost $5/day cdn for my 17lb dachshund.

        I just feed primarily a modified Prey Model raw, and Honest Kitchen base mix once a week, and table food.

        If my dog had a serious surgery again with antibiotics, I would cook for him for a couple of weeks.

  4. Dianne

    It is shocking how many high level positions in the US government are filled by people who used to have high level positions in Monsanto or represented them as lawyers. I believe it goes the other way as well, but I don’t know for sure. The biggest impact of that is upon human health. Profits before health and safety, right?

  5. Tracey A

    Susan do you have any plans to raise money to do more food testing? The only way to stop this is to hit these companies in the pocketbook by showing the food is contaminated. Purina is already changing formulas (on the bag) and increasing advertising about how healthy their products are so you know they are taking a hit. Keep up the outstanding work!

  6. Jane Eagle

    Endotoxins cause “inflammation”…I wonder if this also connects to arthritis, for which dogs (and humans) are given anti-inflammatories.

  7. Jane Cline

    Susan, I would like to know if canned salmon is alright to add to my mixture as the protein as it contains salt. I see that it is recommended but didn’t know if the salt would be bad for my dogs. I do use the canned sardines which they love. No salt added to them.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I think it would depend on the product – how much salt is in it/added. I would suggest asking your vet – with giving him/her the sodium content of the salmon.

      1. Jane Cline

        When you are recommending salmon are you speaking of fresh and cooking it rather than canned?

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          In the post – I was just providing food examples that provide Omega-3, I wasn’t really referring to either (fresh or canned). I wanted to provide consumers with a way to food supplement the Omega-3. I don’t know if canned or fresh (cooked) would provide more Omega-3, but either way you would be purchasing human grade which is a higher quality than pet grade. The sodium you mentioned would be a concern if the level is high (and if the pet food you are supplementing has higher levels of sodium). I think it would be safer to use a sodium free source.

          1. Jane Cline

            Thank you.

          2. Sage

            Jane and Debi

            I currently have Trader Joe’s No Salt Added Alaskan Pink Salmon in a 6 oz can. It has 60 mg of naturally occurring sodium per 2 oz. and the ONLY ingredient is boneless Salmon – no water, oil or salt. If you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s Market there are several other brands available at most grocery stores that are packed with no added salt or oil. I add Omega 3 oil squeezed from (human) capsules to the supplements mix for the Raw Chicken formula that I make.

            If you don’t use all of the contents from a capsule you can keep the snipped capsule in the refrigerator for the next day. Also good to refrigerate the Omega oil bottle after opening.

      2. Debi Cohen

        Susan and all, I use canned salmon in my raw food recipes but I have always soaked the salmon in some filtered water for about 1/2 an hour before I add it to the recipe, don’t know if it ruins the omega’s in it but I give them separate omega 3 and 6 capsules also, hope this can help someone.

      3. Debi Cohen

        Susan and everyone, forgot to include why I soak the salmon, to reduce the sodium content in the canned product.

  8. barbara m.

    Re: Omega 3 oil: You can purchase Nordic Naturals Omega 3 for pets, at the health food store or online. It comes in different sizes for different sized animals. We buy the one for cats and small dogs. It comes as a liquid that you can add to the food, is unflavored. The fish are caught off the coast of Peru, from sustainable operations.

  9. Maica

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve been a fan for years and am so grateful for your informative newsletter & site and use your product information to determine the cat food I purchase for our babies. In researching treats, recently I found this facebook account which I wonder if you are aware of. https://www.facebook.com/Animal-Parents-Against-Pet-Treats-and-Food-Made-in-China-235390426550583/timeline/ Even if you already are, perhaps other readers would benefit from this other knowledgable source. I hope you don’t mind that I shared it in this comment, I feel that anything we can do to put this information out there for other pet parents is worthwhile. thanks for all you do. Best.

  10. Jane Democracy

    I just wanted to make readers aware that even human grade meat can be contaminated with bacteria. In the case of Salmonella in chicken depending on what type of chicken (whole, ground, MDM) you buy there can be up to 85% of samples testing positive. And don’t think that buying organic saves you from this nor does selecting products from smaller establishments (these can actually have increased percent positives).
    Also just to make another point. The trucks used to transport meals are not dump trucks in the construction sense. They are the same types of trucks used to transport all human grade peas, rice, lentils, wheat, barley, oats etc. and they all “dump” their product out of a release door on the bottom into an open grate or trough to an auger which then takes it to a silo. I just want people to be aware of what they are demanding when they want “human grade” for pets.

  11. Terri Janson

    I use Organic Hemp oil for the omegas and Coconut Oil/Olive oil and Red Palm Oils in my homemade dog food.

  12. Ellie

    This is why many people want meats for themselves and for their animals that come from grass fed, free range animals. When you consider what livestock is being fed plus what is being injected into them it is sickening just to think of what the food industry wants us to put in our bodies.
    It wasn’t that long ago that Americans ate fresh meat from animals that grazed in large fields full of fresh grass but the mass production people bought out many of those farms and ranches and turned livestock into just another assembly line that they locked in barns, pumped full of hormones, steroids, antibiotics and other ineluctable substances while feeding them the lowest quality “feed” possible. What they have done to poultry is truly a sin but beef is just as mistreated.
    You can go to various websites to track down a place in your area that has fresh meats available. There are still some farms in every region that have managed to stay in business – though just barely in some cases. As awareness grows about how our food is being adulterated more people are turning to these farms for decent food for humans and pets. You can get less expensive cuts of meat for your dogs or cats. If you find a good distributor it is less expensive than some of the “better” pet foods.
    My personal pets have not suffered any illnesses from the time they come here and are put on a raw or lightly cooked diet. Once they are well they stay well. My little girl that I got as a pup is now 5 years old and has never been sick. A good diet really shows up as they reach middle or advanced age and still have clean teeth, nice healthy skin and coat and no arthritis or other diseases that are usually diet related.

  13. Chris

    Willl have to return for a more complete read later, but for now–GREAT JOB SUSAN!

    For those wanting to take a deeper dive into the world of how some of us mitigate/manage ongoing endotoxin exposure when it can’t be avoided, suggest you learn from the Chronic Lyme Disease community (but do read with discretion, and be mindful that there are some differences between pets and people–the safety of onions, chocolate, and grapes come to mind as examples). Search terms could include herx (short slang for Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction) or “die off” (as the spirochetes that cause Lyme (or the ones that cause syphillis–how this was first discovered/described) die off, they poison the patient which then activates the immune system, inducing inflammatory responses). The patient community and ILADS, the Lyme-Literate Drs (NOT the IDSA, whose meeting in San Diego was protested against last week…again…) deal with endotoxins on an everyday basis. If I get a chance I’ll check to see if there are any veterinarians who are ILADS members who could serve as a good source of pet-specific info on the subject. In the meantime, an article to start with: http://tiredoflyme.com/endotoxins-and-lyme-disease.html

    Thanks so much for the heads-up and call for action, Susan! I have no doubt this will also have at least some impact on the food being sold for human consumption as well. Important info for pets and people!

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