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Pet food ingredient or medical treatment? The Probiotic Industry can’t have it both ways. Food is not medicine and medicine is not food!


March 2015

Nel Liquorman, Health & Nutrition Editor


The bigger question is should probiotics be either one? The FDA needs to make a decision. They consider this good bacteria to be GRAS (generally regarded as safe), but probiotics has continued to be controversial. At present, it appears that probiotics are being used as nutraceuticals, pet food ingredients, supplements, and apparently as medical treatment by veterinarians.


According to Wikipedia “Nutraceutical” (a portmanteau) uses the words nutrition and pharmaceutical and was coined in 1989 and the term is applied to products that range from isolated nutrients and dietary supplements to herbal products, which covers just about everything we ingest.


Increasingly, humans take probiotics and also give them to our carnivorous pets. Probiotics may in fact be of some value to dogs and cats because they no longer have access to the stomach and intestinal contents of their prey.


FDA is to act on Updated Standards For Labeling Of Pet Food #0910/ag09 and there’s also the Veterinary Feed Directive, which will require that the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in animal feed and water be under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.


Here’s the problem with probiotics:

Probiotics are bacteria grown in a laboratory, but FDA says the industry does not have to tell us the source of the bacteria that they use. We say NOT SO FAST! Every consumer has the right to know the sources, especially that of food or medicine. If any product used for medicinal purposes is untested by the FDA, then the label should state “Untested by the FDA”.


Even though prescription drugs are medical treatments, the fact that they are tested and regulated by the FDA does not mean that they don’t do harm, as evidenced by all the warnings on so many prescription drugs, and over the counter (OTC) drugs. Probiotics and Nutraceuticals are not tested by the FDA. If they are allowed to be used as a veterinary medical treatment for a sick puppy as in the following example, shouldn’t they be FDA tested? Let’s not forget that Probiotics, as medical treatments, proved to have a down side for twenty-four patients who died in the Netherlands in 2008.{1}


This email and photo from a reader alerted us to the fact that probiotics were prescribed as a treatment for her sick puppy.


“Nel, I just came across your article on pet Probiotics while searching for information on Advita. My puppy ate something (an old and sharp acorn was found in some vomit) that caused a good amount of bloody vomit and something that looked more like tissue than mucus. I took her to the vet and they watched her for the day, checked her rectum and said it was bloody and raw at the anus but fine further up. I was not able to talk to the vet but just got to speak with the tech and the printed out info. They sent her home with Advita and directions to add it to boiled chicken and white rice for 5 days.


I’m going to include a photos of the rag I used to clean up because it shows the ‘mucus’ or whatever it is! The vet and techs would NOT look at the rag. They threw it away and ‘took my word for it’.


“Do you know anything about Advita for canines? Thanks in advance, Diane Tavegia


Here is my response to her: "…It appears that the vet may be trying to treat with probiotics, and it will likely be a short term use, and is entirely different from feeding probiotics with every meal when it is contained in the dog food formula. Most dogs will start to get runny stools, but maybe that is what the vet wants the dog to do, to clear out his system so he can determine when the bleeding stops. I honestly do not know."


However, it is unlikely that all vets know that chicken has become problematic. Processors have washed chickens with all kinds of things that make the chicken inspectors sick (as evidenced by the lawsuits in the biggest chicken producing state), and now it appears that all the chicken brands that I have first-hand knowledge about, are tumbling chicken in a mixture of half Green Tea Extract and half Rosemary Extract. This is disturbing given what we’ve already uncovered about probiotics and rosemary below.


Over the past many months, people whom I personally know (as far away from Florida as Oregon) have complained about not being able to eat chicken or meat without getting sick. Most of the people are on medications, and I believe that the Extracts are interfering with the medications. I am taking this issue up with the chicken farmers, pig farmers, and cattle ranchers. They will be the ones hurt the most if everyone suddenly stops eating meat. In addition, I stumbled into a website (allergy experts) who state "maybe ticks are biting people and causing changes in immune systems, so that people are becoming allergic to meat".{2}


Recently, my publisher told me that her puppies got sick after she fed them round steak. I suspect it was tumbled in extracts. The only meat that I consider safe is whole loins that are vacuum packed, and more than likely that is all they would do to avoid the extra cost of processing.


They are saying “maybe” so they have no case. I do not believe that people are suddenly becoming allergic to meat, but I do believe that  Green Tea Extract and Rosemary Extract  absorbed by the meats are retained through the cooking process and that is why people are having trouble after eating meat or chicken. So, it is certainly a possibility that your puppy could have bad results from eating the chicken.


Be sure to read the labels. Despite efforts to get pet foods maker to stop the use of Rosemary Extract as a preservative, some still use it, and it will likely be the last ingredient of the list.


Since you can't be sure what is going on with your puppy, you may want a second veterinary opinion. Sorry that all I can do is point out problems with our current meat supply and what may or may not be a problem with pet food.


The bond between pets and owners are priceless. Let’s continue to keep them safe by reading labels, researching product ingredients, and questioning medical treatments, because it is pressure from consumers that proves to make a difference in the safety of both food and medicine!


{1} Probiotics; Food or Drugs?     ~     {2} Tick Bite, Meat Allergy EST 2002 © 1503


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