How about some flame retardant with that kibble?

July 11, 2011

Good morning, and happy Monday! (That was sarcasm.) This is Christie Keith, covering the weekly news round-up for David S. Greene, who is in a bunker at an undisclosed location this week.

Is your dog’s processed pet food exposing him to dangerous toxins? Scientists at Indiana University have discovered chemicals used as flame retardants are present in the blood of pet dogs at levels 5 to 10 times higher than those found in humans (although st ill lower than those found in cats in an earlier study). From Science Daily (h/t to CathyA):

Venier and Hites report on an analysis of flame retardants in blood from 17 pet dogs, all of whom live primarily indoors. They also examined samples of the dry dog food that made up the pets’ diet, attempting to determine if food was a major source of PBDE exposure.The average concentration of PBDEs in blood from the dogs was about 2 nanograms per gram, about five to 10 times higher than the levels found in humans in the few studies of human exposure that have been done in North America.

In dog food samples, the researchers found PBDEs at levels averaging about 1 nanogram per gram. That is much higher than levels found in meat and poultry sold as food for humans, suggesting the PBDEs in dog food may result from processing rather than from the food sources.

Wow, let’s just totally miss the point. A ban on shopping for puppies while drunk? How about a ban on treating dogs like shoes, instead?

Doogie Howser, DVM? A new 6-year undergrad/vet school program will be launching at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee next year. Which means, as the American Veterinary Medical Association‘s SmartBrief newsletter comments, your pet may be treated by a veterinarian only six years out of high school.

The Great Corgi Caper. David sent me dire warnings of what he’d do to me if I didn’t use this video of a Corgi aiding and abetting his sister to… well, you’ll see.

David always likes to hear from readers, especially if you have tips, and links for interesting stories. Give him a shout in the comments, or better yet, send him an e-mail.

Filed under: pets, connected,veterinary medicine,worth a click — Christie Keith @ 5:01 am

24 Comments »

  1. Yuck! Flame retardant dog food does not sound appetizing. I wonder what ‘brands’ use the most chemicals.

    Comment by Rebecca — July 11, 2011 @ 6:11 am

  2. Yet another reason for feeding raw.

    Comment by Sally — July 11, 2011 @ 7:07 am

  3. I wonder if the dogs and cats proximity to carpet and tendency to groom and lick their feet might contribute to the ingestion of flame retardants.

    We had some 6-year students in my class at WSU. They were good students, usually highly motivated and intelligent. I am not concerned about the age factor, or lack of exposure to science, but the lack of ability to develop ‘real-world’ chops and not necessarily develop the life skills that are a part of a 4-year college education is a bit worrisome.

    Veterinary medicine is not just about knowing which drug to pick or which surgery to perform. It is also about knowing how to interact with people, and that’s a skill that takes time to begin to learn.

    Comment by Dr. Tony Johnson — July 11, 2011 @ 7:07 am

  4. “Veterinary medicine is not just about knowing which drug to pick or which surgery to perform. It is also about knowing how to interact with people, and that’s a skill that takes time to begin to learn.”

    This is so true in so many fields. I work at in the library of a college of engineering and we see this a lot. Many of the students are wonderful little technocrats, but people skills are lacking.

    On the library side, we’ve hired a couple of grads from “distance” program and find that they take longer to acclimate to life in the library than those who attended on campus programs… but at least in the library, no puppies will die if we make a mistake.

    Comment by schnauzer — July 11, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  5. I got one of those dire warning emails last week from a local Maine person whose dog died after ingesting a children’s stuffed toy that was treated with flame retardant. Quote the dog insides “tuned to mush.” Can you let us know what happens when our dogs ingest stuffed animals that were treated? I did not know the first party and wasn’t sure if this was real or not. It seems like it could be. I also heard that when making your own fleece tug toys, and also when buying them, to be sure that the material was not treated. Most is.

    Comment by Nancy Freedman-Smith — July 11, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  6. “Veterinary medicine is not just about knowing which drug to pick or which surgery to perform. It is also about knowing how to interact with people, and that’s a skill that takes time to begin to learn.”

    Amen to that! I ran into a student at a big U. teaching hospital that should end up in research as she wasn’t fit to treat pet rocks. OTOH another student performed so stellarly and communicated so well he earned a letter to the dean commending him.

    I think a brand new student focuses more on trying to remember the vet med than the client and owner. Big mistake. I’m hoping they run real world practice scenarios in school like they’re starting to do with human medicine.

    Comment by CathyA — July 11, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  7. There are several human medical schools who have been using the 6 yr model for many years both MD and DO with good success. It should equate to lower student loan debt, which is less pressure after graduation.

    The lack of social skills when in a personal contact environment may be as much a factor of the social networking, texting etc as age. Even the military has had to revamp how to give orders, texting has led to not understand the spoken word, all their “talk” is thumped into a little black box.

    All the medical fields need to look at what they can do to foster communication skills as part of the curriculum. The sterotype of the Dr with the bad bedside manner with only get worse, and really begin effecting patient care both human and four legged.

    Comment by Linda — July 11, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  8. Meanwhile, in Tokyo ‘drunken puppy purchasing’ is practically a part of the economy.

    In some of the bar districts, the pet stores stay open very late – virtually all night long. The bar girls will encourage their drunken patrons to purchase them an expensive, over priced puppy after a night of drinking. The girl gets a cut of the puppy’s price, and then returns it the next morning.

    I guess it’s actually more like ‘drunken puppy renting’, come to think of it.

    I’ll have to try to find the original news source, but I wrote an article about this a few years ago. There was a French Bulldog puppy featured in the original article.

    Comment by FrogDogz — July 11, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  9. In the U.K., veterinary students enter after high school and go for 5 years. They can actually afford their education, unlike many American veterinary students who end up graduating with educational debt for 4 years of vet school typically ranging from $100k to $150k, but often much more depending on their undergraduate debt. I am in favor of this approach.

    Comment by Phyllis DeGioia — July 11, 2011 @ 9:31 am

  10. “That is much higher than levels found in meat and poultry sold as food for humans, suggesting the PBDEs in dog food may result from processing rather than from the food sources.”
    Uh huh. It could also be related to the ‘other ingredients that find their way into some pet food formulations that shall not be named here.

    -coming to you from my bunker, which is actually a rather nice glass/steel office building outside Toronto.

    Comment by David S. Greene — July 11, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  11. Has no one considered the role of commercial kibble in preventing the very real problem of SPONTANEOUSLY FLAMING CATS?

    Move along people, nothing to see here. Proctor and Gamble knows what’s best for your housepets.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — July 11, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  12. Comment by Nancy Freedman-Smith — July 11, 2011 @ 7:16 am

    I got one of those dire warning emails last week from a local Maine person whose dog died after ingesting a children’s stuffed toy that was treated with flame retardant. Quote the dog insides “tuned to mush.”

    I had to “Snopes” this for a friend of mine about a year ago:

    http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/stuffedtoys.asp

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — July 11, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  13. It’s true…none of my cats have spontaneously burst into flames. THANK YOU pet food industry!

    Comment by mikken — July 11, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  14. I just need to step in and remind any new readers that we no longer allow people to post in non-name screen names. In other words, unless your parents named you “Great dog supplies,” your post will not make it out of moderation.

    This also goes for “Save all the kitties,” “A happy dog mom,” and any other non-name. Please use a name — yours, your best friend from grade school’s whatever — in the name field.

    Yes, in the past we didn’t have this rule and we grandfathered all those in. We’re sorry if it’s confusing, but it’s our effort to control spam and to keep it clear that we’re all people discussing issues about pets, and not BRANDS exchanging sound bites.

    Thanks!

    Christie

    Comment by Christie Keith — July 11, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  15. Heather is right ! I have 5 & if they spontaneously combust they will take us & the house with them. 1 more reason to feed commercial cereal [oops]meant pet food.

    Comment by original Leslie K — July 11, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  16. We always try to stay on the cutting edge of pet food issues here on Pet Connection, so we’ll be launching a whole series on the flaming cat phenomenon shortly.

    Comment by Christie Keith — July 11, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  17. So that’s why my eldest cat only scorches himself(instead of being flaming kitty of doom) when passing by the lit burner.

    I wonder why this isn’t a selling point in their advertising?

    Comment by redheather — July 12, 2011 @ 5:52 am

  18. I work with fifth year education interns (at the university level) and have run into the lack of “people skills” on a regular basis. I’m afraid too many of these kids have been so plugged in for so long that they are losing the art of basic good manners and conversation. It’s rather pathetic what we have to remind them about at orientation.
    Most of them are well meaning and will respond, but a few have an attitude that makes me want to say, “you’re smart but go find a job where you don’t have to deal with people”!
    Guess it cuts across all professions . . .

    Comment by dottie — July 12, 2011 @ 6:06 am

  19. I wonder why this isn’t a selling point in their advertising?

    Comment by redheather — July 12, 2011 @ 5:52 am

    Well, you know how it is with those “secret” ingredients…don’t want to tell the competition too much about what’s in that can!

    Throw a little flame retardant in there, and those cats will love it!!!

    (what the heck is wrong with the manufacturers these days???…is it just put whatever you can find into the can, just to make a buck? I wonder if they would change their ways, if we did what China did…and execute them when they are found out?)

    Comment by Marcy — July 12, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  20. I don’t know if execution would worry them into making safer food , but it might be fun for us to to watch them scramble for reasons not to be on that list.

    Comment by original Leslie K — July 12, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  21. JIC anyone wants to read about the issue and cats:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070815122354.htm

    This is not new news, yet dog studies lagged behind.

    And cat food manufacturers have done nothing about those plastic lined pop top cans.

    Comment by CathyA — July 13, 2011 @ 4:19 am

  22. Thanks OTHER Pat! It does seem like we would be seeing more issues if that was the case…just in my house alone.

    Comment by Nancy Freedman-Smith — July 13, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  23. Veterinary medicine is not just about knowing which drug to pick or which surgery to perform. It is also about knowing how to interact with people, and that’s a skill that takes time to begin to learn.

    I am not sure that spending more time in academia teaches young humans ‘social skills’, or bed side manners.

    I don’t think that this ‘interaction with people’-skill is something that is being taught during the two more years. I suspect, that might be something that you have to learn, anyhow, by ourself while you’re out there.

    Judgig from my pet-food-scandal experiences, I’d like to exchange two years of people-skill teaching versus a non-PFI-based nutritional education.

    ETA: I apologize for sounding so bitter, but today is one of those days where the loss of my two cats hurts a little bit more….

    Comment by MaKo — July 15, 2011 @ 11:15 am

  24. Social skills are something you learn from living life and needing to interact with other people. An extra two years of school, being required to interact with people who aren’t part of the wired-from-birth culture, another two years of having consequences for trying to dismiss interpersonal social niceties in favor of the “easier” txting, FB’ing behaviors, and just another two years of the brain maturing physically.

    We also need feeding standards that aren’t controlled by PFI, but there is no way to trade one for the other, making the question of which we’d choose over the other irrelevant.

    Comment by Lis — July 15, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

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