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Check dog food for too much vitamin D

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mistakes happen. Multiple dog food brands have been found to contain excessive levels of the essential nutrient vitamin D – some with 70 times the correct amount.

Dr. Jeff NicholBut don’t panic. So far only a handful of dogs have gotten seriously ill. No cat foods have been suspected.

The Food and Drug Administration’s web page, where the recalled canine diets are listed, has a really long URL, so I’ve posted it on my website. Go to drjeffnichol.com and click on the FAQ page for the link. If you come to find that you’ve been feeding one of these diets I would urge you to change to a different brand ASAP. Don’t let your pupster finish the bag. Toss it out and start fresh.

These aren’t all substandard dog food brands. Hill’s Pet Nutrition makes some of my favorite diets. None of their dry dog food has been affected but these folks are serious about derailing this vitamin D problem with a voluntary recall of some of their canned dog foods. For more information you can call Hills at 1-800-445-5777 or visit their website, hillspet.com.

Be aware of the signs of vitamin D toxicosis (poisoning) in dogs. Watch for vomiting, reduced appetite, increased drinking and urination, drooling, and, in chronic cases, weight loss. The reason for these outward indicators is that overdoses of vitamin D can result in potentially fatal kidney failure. If your dog’s diet has put him at risk, even if you see no signs of ill health, I would recommend a visit to your veterinarian. A thorough exam and a blood and urine profile will help rule out a serious problem.

A word on having lab samples drawn: Blood panels are more accurate if a pet is fasted. Provide normal access to water prior to seeing the doctor but withhold food for about 12 hours. And try hard to prevent the kid from having a chance to urinate before her exam. Caring pet parents, focused on their dog’s comfort, often allow a bathroom break at home or in the bushes in front of the veterinary clinic right before our attempts to collect that elusive teaspoonful of the golden liquid.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

 

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