25 September 2012

Pet Supplements and Gluten

On a few lists I participate in recently some people have started this view that with various supplements, you can not use their human counterparts and have the same effect.
One of the most recent topics was on probiotics. The argument was that since pets (particularly dogs) have a different ph, that the supplements for humans won't survive to be broken down where they should be broken down.

I went to human products for Met and continued to do so for Thane for the primary reason that most pet supplements are very inferior and/ or filled with a lot more additives. Along the lines of probiotics, I watched problems that probiotics benefit for Met get much worse when I listened to the rubbish that only pet probiotics should be used.

Since the entrance of Thane, I have used very few pet based supplements. When queried recently about gluten status, not one of them even tests for gluten! I found this appalling with just how many animals are gluten sensitive. Perhaps if vets considered this first when they are presented with an itchy dog things might be different, but as it stands now animal supplement manufacturers are falling short of their responsibility in quality control for the well being of animals. I find this a travesty. Until manufacturers open their eyes and do the right thing, I will ALWAYS look to the human supplement industry when my animals need supplements.

Just because one doesn't believe their animal has an issue with gluten, does not mean it is not causing irreparable harm to their systems. There are people who believe that gluten free diets have their consequences- for sure they can when the manufacturers choose to use soy in the products instead. Soy is a hormone disruptor- most notably for thyroid and adrenal function.

Dogs and Cats though are carnivores! None of that junk should be going into their systems to begin with. They don't need grains They don't need plant matter, but many enjoy what is found in intestinal matter (tripe) It should be easy to provide gluten free products with these parameters. Of course the reality is, even gluten free products are not necessarily glutin free. Gluten free means zero gluten, not this gamet the FDA drums up to allow labeling as gluten free- but you already heard me vent about that one grin

19 September 2012

Gluten Free Foods- Are They Really That?

Though Thane is back in harness working wonderfully for the most part which is a miracle to me every day we head out after all the years of struggling for treatment that we have endured, sadly there are issues and always will be issues for him as a result of what I deem to be utter incompetence. I won't go into that here.

What I do want to delve into is a subject that hits home and nearly got Thane treated for mange and rodenticide poisoning instead of what he really had- severe gluten intolerance most likely caused by years of untreated hypothyroidism (which I fought for years to get) The basis of this is that after years of hypothyroidism untreated the immune system was attacking the thyroid. The gluten protein is very similar in structure and as a result due to such prolonged lack of treatment, it too became part of the immune system attack on his body. I try to look at it just as facts rather than on what it really was- a preventable situation. It's just easier to look at the science of it than at the reality of why it is present at all for Thane.

What I have learned as I began researching was that Gluten Free foods and supplements may not really be TRULY Gluten Free. Some may really be so, but many as we have learned the hard way, fall short of the bill.

The FDA's guideline for Gluten Free labeling is 20ppm. For those with mild gluten intolerance or who are just removing gluten from their diet for health benefits, this standard may be OK, but it definitely falls short of protecting many with severe gluten intolerance. Many companies go further than the standard requirement and test to 5ppm, but even that may not be enough for some individuals with severe gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

There is another aspect attached to Gluten Free labeling, especially notable in pet foods- that of actual honesty and integrity in labelling and production of gluten free foods. This may occur because of actual false labelling or due to cross contamination where gluten free foods are prepared in the same facilities and equipment as gluten foods or workers are accidentally cross contaminating gluten free foods due to not understanding how easily contamination can occur and/ or their own habits of cleanliness in food preparation.

Taking this one step further, many with gluten intolerance also must not use anything for topical/ cosmetic purposes that is not gluten free. For instance shampoo which can easily get in ones mouth should be gluten free, any lotions, powders, topical flea treatments, the list gets pretty long

For Thane, one of the biggest issues we encounter is supplements and medications. During and following Lyme, Thane required a boatload of supplements to go along with the medication protocol he was on. They are the reason that he beat Lyme, but many also unfortunately were not gluten free. Of course I realized this connection for him after I pulled all supplements and put him on processed food that just happened to be grain and gluten free (which he doesn't do really well on overall) and then later stumbled upon a subject on an MCS list of gluten in supplements- ding the bell went off. Off I went to evaluate everything he had been on. Anything that did NOT say gluten free was added to my list of *don't consider that again* Though most were no longer necessary supplements and/ or were listed as gluten free, some were not and those that were, it's anyone's guess if they are really as gluten free as an individual like Thane needs.

I had my vet make some calls regarding gluten in various things we use that I was unable to get the full disclosure on and though she told me they are gluten free, she neglected to check on what ppm they were tested to as I had requested. Some items I have had to eliminate after my own circumstantial proof (breakouts) that they were not truly gluten free.

Astonishingly, a probiotic that I learned about on a Celiac forum appears to be in the most recent taboo list for Thane. It does not cause issues with his gut- it improves those, but the true sign with Thane is always going to be his skin. Being that it is the only change, he has not gotten into anything, and I have been exceptionally careful since the day I cross contaminated my gluten food and his food causing his worst gluten reaction since I made the connection for him- it's pretty obvious that gluten free labeling is never going to be satisfactory when it comes to Thane.

That brings me to the other labelling issue- that of gluten free pet foods. A friend stumbled upon a you-tube video where an individual bought gluten home test strips to test her gluten intolerant dog's food options. Four out of five foods labelled gluten free that she tested did not pass the test. That does give one pause when it comes to labelling. If pet foods are that inconsistent, then the human food supply can't be much better- especially since the gluten free foods use human grade ingredients.

There is of course the option of raw/ home made diets, but even that isn't as simple as it all sounds. Though I hope to get Thane back on the raw diet, I need to take this slowly as cross contamination is just as big if not a bigger issue in raw meats especially if they are in a display case where workers wrap up what the customer wants. The problem isn't in the individual meats but in air circulation system that can contaminate natural raw meats with breaded or enhanced ones.