by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy
Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764
Volume 7, No. 5                                             July 2009

In this issue:
1. News Bites
2. Is There a Link between Omega-3’s and Hyperthyroidism?
3. Dangerous Levels of Fluoride in Pet Food

1. News Bites

Flea Collar Dangers—Just Say No! All flea collars are ineffective, and many contain toxic chemicals. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit in a California Superior Court against 16 retailers and manufacturers of chemical flea collars (including Hartz, Zodiac, and Bio-Spot) claiming failure to warn consumers that they were being exposed to toxic chemicals. The group is urging federal regulators to remove the products from the market. NRDC conducted tests that found two chemicals in the pet collars left residue sufficient to pose the risk of cancer and neurological damage to children—as much as 1,000 times higher than levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Pet owners have complained that dogs and cats wearing collars containing the ingredients had stopped eating or drinking and showed symptoms including vomiting, twitching and diarrhea.

NRDC conducted tests on nine dogs and five cats, as many or more than studies used by the EPA to determine exposure to pesticides from flea collars. It found unacceptably high lingering residues on most dogs and all cats for TCVP, and unacceptably high propoxur residue levels on all dogs. The residues were higher than those allowed for children in contact with the pets. NRDC did not address the potential harm to the animal wearing the collar 24 hours a day, but especially given cats’ sensitivity to many chemicals as well as herbs, it is a given that cats should never, ever have a flea collar put on them.

2. Is There a Link between Omega-3s and Hyperthyroidism?

A reader recently expressed concern about Omega-3s and their potential association with high iodine levels and hyperthyroid disease in cats. While poor quality oils (especially those from farmed salmon) can contain iodine, we don’t believe this is a problem for properly produced and purified fish oils. Here’s why:

Iodine is stored in the body in the thyroid gland. Products that use fish, fish meal, or fish oils derived from processing or pressing the whole fish will contain some iodine. Cod liver oil is pressed from fish livers after they are removed from the fish, and is not a significant source of iodine. The best fish oils are also molecularly distilled, which further removes virtually all solids and other impurities. The purest Omega-3 fish oils contain, at most, a tiny trace of iodine. Good quality, fresh Omega-3 oils (such as pharmaceutical-grade products from Nordic Naturals) are not the problem when it comes to iodine.dry cat food

Most of the iodine consumed by pet cats comes from commercial cat foods, primarily due to the mineral pre-mixes used in these foods. Minerals, including iodine, are often included in great excess. Iodine is difficult and expensive to test for, so it’s cheaper and easier for pet food makers and suppliers to add way more than necessary to make sure the food is not deficient. They don’t care if too much gets into cat food. One study of adult and growth dog and cat foods found 10-100 times the recommended amount for many minerals. There are few maximum limits set (12 for dog food, 4 for cat food). Iodine has a maximum limit for dog food, but no similar maximum in cat food. This approach makes the food cheap, but it can cause a host of physical problems for our cats.

You may recall that a study out of Purdue University found an association between certain flavors and types of cat food and hyperthyroidism pointed out that pop-top cans (most of which  contain BPA in their linings), giblets (by-products), and fish had the highest associations. Again, the fish going into these products are whole feeder fish, damaged or spoiled fish, or fish parts (heads, tails, internal organs) not wanted for human consumption. Iodine levels in fish meal made from these products is likely to be quite high. Fish oil derived from similar sources could be similarly contaminated, which is why we stress choosing a distilled, pharmaceutical grade fish oil for your cat (we exclusively recommend Nordic Naturals).

Further studies have also suggested a link between fire-retardant chemicals and feline hyperthyroidism. It has also been discovered that cheap pet food ingredients–particuarly fish and by-products–are the most likely to be contaminated with these chemicals. This could account for the Purdue findings, but it could also be creating a “double-whammy” for our cats in terms of exposure to these toxins.

We hope this clarifies the issue and reassures you that pure, properly processed fish and cod liver oils contain (at most) trace levels or zero iodine, and certainly are not implicated in any situation of iodine overdose. The fact remains that Omega-3’s are deficient in virtually every pet food, raw food, and even homemade food for pets, simply because of the way livestock are raised in North America. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential component of your cat’s diet, and must be supplemented for optimal levels to be reached. (Cllck here to read our article on Omega-3s for more information.)

Audios on Pet Nutrition from Dr. Jean and author Jan Rasmusen–on sale now! Choose mp3 or CD format!

If you’re a CatsWalk reader, we know you want to keep your cat as healthy as possible, using holistic principles to prevent or cure disease. To help you in your goal, our own Dr. Jean Hofve, who is one of the top pet food experts in the country, teamed up with Scared Poopless author Jan Rasmusen to give you the straight talk about dog and cat nutrition:

  • Audio #1: Truth, Lies & Pet Food (about selecting the safest commercial foods)
  • Audio #2: Diet, Disease and Longevity (how to feed dogs and cats with health problems)
  • Audio #3: From Mere Survival to Glowing Health (how to feed for optimum health)

These recordings are on sale right now for just $12 for each hour-long recording, or $28.70 for all three. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn pet nutrition from real experts from the comfort of your home or car. Note: We will send you a link to the recordings instantly. For CDs rather than links, add $3.70 more and we’ll mail them.

Click here to learn more about our pet nutrition recordings and how to order.

3. Dangerous Levels of Fluoride in Pet Food

According to a recent press release by the Environmental Working Group, excessive amounts of fluoride were found in 8 major national brands of dog and puppy food. The foods contained fluoride at levels between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum legal dose in drinking water. These amounts were also higher than those associated with bone cancer in young boys in a 2006 study by Harvard scientists (Bassin 2006). Scientists have not studied the safety of high doses of fluoride for dogs, and fluoride is not listed as a necessary ingredient in pet food under the nutrient standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

According to the report, fluoride occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, rocks, and soil, and in some water supplies. But two-thirds of Americans — and their pets and livestock — are exposed to the chemical via tap water that is artificially fluoridated in an effort to prevent tooth decay (CDC 2006). The fluorine atom is also common in many drugs, such as Prozac, and other substances such as freon and teflon. High levels of drug and other residues have been found in groundwater, which may be directly consumed by livestock. Read more….

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