Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grain mites contaminated dry foods

Before I get going with what’s on my mind today, I felt it was about time and important that I make one thing perfectly clear:
While reading all my comments about the all bad pet food industry, we have to make sure that every pet owner understands: There is good news too. In that there still are high quality pet foods out there and available to us. They don’t use “bad” ingredients and also don’t save under the motto “no matter what it takes to make money”. Companies who care as much about our pets as we do. And there are plenty of them. It just takes some time on your part to find them. As you know my policy here on this blog is not to actually name any brands. But you also know where else you can find me, so that would be a good starting point. And one more hint: Start with companies not listed on Wall Street.
Today’s pet section in my newspaper featured a question to Dr. Fox and asked by an Indianapolis owner of a 5 year old Yorkie. To make it short, here is the sequence of events:
Annual check up at the vet, routine stool sample reveals hook worms, Yorkie gets 3 days of de-worming medication, re-testing shows, not effect, 5 more days of the same medication, still no results, microscopic analysis at the vet’s office brings to light that bug-like creatures live in the stool, vet says hasn’t seen something like that in his 30 years of practicing, samples are sent to an independent lab, results are in after 2 days, dog is infested with grain mites, however, lucky enough does not show any symptoms of illness, vet assumes the mites are coming from the dry food, pet owner contacts pet food manufacturer, they decline any involvement with the case but reimburse her for the food she has left over, woman goes on the Internet, finds out about “mite dust”, also locates the brands associated with having the problem of the dust in their food, learns that there is no treatment for grain mites, vet and independent lab confirm the no treatment available fact, woman learns further that there have been dogs getting seriously ill because of the mites, symptoms include bloody diarrhea and weight loss, apparently some dogs even died because of it, woman finds it suspicious that always the same brands are being fed when a dog gets infested with the mites, her question is “Why are vets not aware of the problem? Especially since it can be assumed that the manufacturers involved are aware of the problem and many others too as web traffic and amount of inquiries clearly indicate.”
Dr. Fox answers by providing his knowledge about the parasites. Says, he assumes the mites have been dead since they can’t parasitize internally. Also thinks they are harmless since the dog shows no signs of illness. However, he warns, they could create problems because of their protein production, which then could lead to intestinal inflammation and diarrhea. Because of the substantial number of mites, he is also wondering about the age of the pet food when it was fed. He finally concludes with some statements about questionable hygiene not just at the pet food manufacturer’s plants but also at the ingredient sources. And ends up with the genius idea that the best solution is for pet owners to buy their own ingredients and make their own food. End of the story.
Come on Dr., we know you can do way better than that. That is not the answer. Thanks for the education on the mites. But we have to be able to trust our pet food. And you only partially answered the question. May I repeat: “Why are vets not aware of the problem?” I assume it was an oversight on your part. Though, somehow I can’t help it to wonder if it has something to do with something what is bugging me for a long time. There is no way it has to do with the fact that the majority of the prescription foods prescribed by some vets are coming from exactly the same sources as the problem foods, right? I wouldn’t think so, ‘cause in my opinion and most of my fellow pet owners agree, our vet is a trustworthy and reliable factor in my pet’s life and your word is our bible. Without limitations we take what he says for granted and written in stone. I don’t even understand how such doubts can cross my mind. But it started when some while ago I told a vet that I’m involved with my own pet food business, that I believe in the benefits of raw food and could make raw diets available to his patients. He sort of shrugged me off telling me that he simply does not believe feeding raw is a good idea. I am a grown up man and I appreciate his personal opinion. I can take “No” for an answer, so I won’t bother him again. However, this was not the time when the aforementioned doubts came to my mind. It happened a couple months later while I was waiting at his office once again. On that day I overheard another patient asking the receptionist for the number of the local raw food store. The doctor had given it to her and she lost it. I guess I must have misunderstood something...

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