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When Will It Stop?

Excerpted from Susan Thixton, Truth About Pet Food, Consumer Pet Advocate

It’s Very Real, and Very Deadly

Another dog has died, this time a 3 year old dog.

Yesterday (3/13/19) a 3 year old dog died of diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). This dog (and another dog in the same household also diagnosed with diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM) was fed Merrick Grain Free Kibble.

Another ‘Complete and Balance’ dog food destroyed a family.

How many dogs have to die before FDA takes action?

We don’t know. FDA has issued two statements to pet owners; one in July 2018 and another in February 2019.

Of concern: the FDA has chosen to work ONLY with Big Pet Feed through their trade association Pet Food Institute on the DCM investigation. FDA has refused our requests to involve pet owners in the investigation. FDA has also refused the request of another pet food trade association that represents human grade pet food manufacturers to help aid in the investigation. Instead, FDA is choosing only to partner with feed grade pet food manufacturers (the very same companies whose pet foods have been linked to DCM sick or dead dogs).

What can you do to protect your pet?

Veterinarians are tending to instruct pet owners to stay clear of “boutique” (small brands) pet foods and attempting to lead pet owners back to grain based pet foods manufactured by Big Pet Feed. This ‘advice’ is BAD for multiple reasons.

Merrick Pet Food – which was fed to the dog mentioned above – is owned by Purina. Purina or Merrick is NOT a “boutique” brand.

FDA refuses to allow “boutique” brands (human grade ingredient brands) to participate in the investigation of the diet-related DCM issue.

Grains are prone to mycotoxins (molds). Grains used in pet foods (feed grade) are not held to the same safety standards as those used in human food. The pet (feed) industry receives the worst of the worst grains. When grains are contaminated with mycotoxins, they CAN cause serious health risks in pets.

Just this week I spoke with a truck driver who used to deliver grain to pet food manufacturing (to one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the world). He shared he was instructed to – “frequently” – deliver loads of rat infested grain (dead rats). When the load was delivered, pet food manufacturing employees would add wire grating over the pits where the grain was dumped (the ‘pits’ lead to augers which move the grain to bins). He witnessed “hundreds of dead rats” being pulled from the pile of grain slowly emptying into the pit. He stated often “the smell of rat urine in a load was overwhelming.” This man is no longer delivering grain to pet food manufacturing facilities, he is very ill – on disability – he believes is directly linked to the products he transported everyday to pet food manufacturing plants.

Most pet owners (and veterinarians) aren’t aware that most pet ‘foods’ are not food at all – they are feed. Most pet owners (and veterinarians) aren’t aware that the ‘Complete and Balanced’ claim stated on all pet food labels isn’t a factual claim. Most have no clue to the lack of regulations or the allowed violations of regulations in pet food.

Those of us that do know can encourage other pet owners (and our veterinarians) to try adding some fresh food to their diet – and with respect to the current DCM issue, fresh foods that include amino acids (Dogs use the amino acids Cystine and Methionine to produce taurine. DCM in dogs has been linked to taurine deficiency. However not all dogs that are taurine deficient have been diagnosed with DCM.)
Because EVERYTHING is different with feed grade pet foods/feed grade ingredients, adding some fresh ‘food’ (real food not feed) to your pet’s diet daily is a great and simple thing to do. Not everyone can afford to provide their pet with minimally processed food as the sole diet, but we all can add some.

My sympathies to the many families who lost their beloved dog (or cat) due to diet-related taurine deficiency induced DCM. You have been betrayed by a pet food label claim and a lax regulatory system. I am very sorry for your loss.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate