Pet Food Recalls, Canine Nutrition, Ingredients Analysis
CANNED TUNA & SEIZURES
Before feeding your cat or dog “tuna in water”, check labels for soybeans (disguised as vegetable broth) which can cause seizures.
May 2010 | TheDogPress.com
Nel Liquorman, Investigative Reporter
Although rarely fatal, a seizure is frightening for both the pet and owner and sadly, the animal may suffer subsequent seizures if the vet is unable to diagnose the initial cause
Like most cat owners, from time to time I slipped a little canned tuna fish into their diets. Star-Kist always had the least amount of magnesium, so it was my choice, and I always got the chunk light in water.
An avid label reader, I knew that the brand contained tuna, water, and salt. Then I got two feral cats and decided that high quality cat food would be what I would feed them. So for more than 2 years I stuck to my plan.
Then my big feral tom cat got a urinary infection due to going long periods of time before using a new corn litter. In an effort to increase his water intake, I decided to give him tuna in water. I also gave the tasty treat to all three of my cats.
The very first night, trouble surfaced. One of my cats is eleven and has slept right against me ever since I had blessed her with the two five-week old feral kittens. She woke me up in the middle of the night making strange movements. By the time I got the light on, she was laying still but looked dazed. Assuming that she just had a strange dream, I quickly dismissed it.
A couple of days later, I gave them another can of the Starkist tuna in water. Within a two hours one of my cats was having a seizure. While talking to my vet’s office, I realized that the seizure and the emergency had passed but I decided to look for anything that could have brought on the seizure. I ruled out any environmental toxin, because I do not use chemicals (or any flea treatments) so it had to be something she ingested. There was nothing that she could get to but some dry cat food.
Then I remembered the Starkist tuna in water. I had a can on hand, so I checked the label. On the front of the can it stated plainly CHUNK LIGHT TUNA IN WATER, as it always had. I turned it around and read the ingredients: tuna, water, vegetable broth, salt and it also stated:
Contains: Fish, Soybeans
I was furious when I realized that the source of the newly added vegetable broth was soybeans. I did the research, and yes it can and did cause my cat to have seizures.
But, I went further, learning that the once respected Starkist company no longer has a USA owner but is now a Korean company. Not only does this explain the addition of cheap soybean protein products, but it contributes to a loss of jobs in America. With only headquarters and a distributing group here, Starkist has only 54 employees in the states and we do not know how many are Americans. The real Starkist company no longer exists, well at least not for this consumer.
About a month later, I decided to feed the cats some Fancy Feast “Ocean Fish”, which I had not fed for several months. Within an hour of eating this food, my eleven year old cat was laying on the floor looking like road kill. I just assumed she was really relaxed but when she stood up, I realized that her back legs were barely holding her up.
It seemed evident that she had once again ingested something that was toxic to her. I retrieved the can from the garbage and read the ingredients. The third one was vegetable oil. If this sounds harmless enough, go to the store (or online) and read the ingredients label on vegetable oil. While it may have once been a healthy blend, most are now only soy oil! Remember, if it is toxic to pets, the product may not be good for us humans either.
I will never again feed my cats anything without re-reading the label. But until there are government regulations to eliminate soybean products and other unsuitable ingredients from cat and dog foods, I know that feeding pets can never be worry free.
Many pets are treated for unexplained seizures. It would be expensive and hard to trace it back to a particular ingredient in the pet food. If the veterinary treatment stops the seizure, the pet just remains on what may be unnecessary medication for the rest of its life.
Seizures in pets can usually be attributed to toxins. If you can rule out any environmental toxins, accidental exposure to a chemical, or treatment with a flea product, that means the toxin was probably ingested. You need to find out more about the ingredients in your pets food. Eliminating foods with questionable or suspect ingredients may save the life of your pet.