Dangers Of Aflatoxins In Kibble
Last Updated January 6, 2021
What are Aflatoxins?
Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus. It is a mutagen (substances that can harm cells and cause certain diseases, such as cancer) that is produced by certain molds which can grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. It is very dangerous when consumed by anyone.
So, why should we care as pet owners?
Well, majority of the kibble available in your local pet stores is made with grains. This means that kibble that are sold to pet owners and that pets eat is often peppered with these carcinogenic toxins.
Another reason why we should be concerned as fur-parents is that kibble is also made with low quality meat. The problem here is that those animals that are eventually used as meat in kibble often eat produce that are also contaminated with aflatoxins. According to a study called Aflatoxins in Pet Foods: A Risk to Special Consumers, aflatoxins are also present in a lot of common animal feed ingredients.
"Aflatoxins have elicited great public health concern because of their widespread occurrence in several dietary staples such as peanuts, tree nuts, corn, dried fruits, silage, and forages, all of which are used as animal feed ingredients."
These aflatoxins persist when they are turned into kibble which essentially transfers these aflatoxins to the kibble that your fur-baby consumes. If your fur-baby eats kibble for their day-to-day meals, they may be exposed to the chances of aflatoxins being present in their food. In fact, according to the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, there was a case of severe aflatoxin outbreak among pets which resulted in a huge disaster:
"An aflatoxicosis outbreak affected 65 dogs from 9 different farms after they were fed diets with cooked corn meal as a common ingredient. Of the dogs, 60 died. Numerous dogs died on additional farms, but those dogs were not included in the study. The farmers acquired the contaminated maize products, in the form of whole corn grain or as corn meal, from the same supplier. The corn product was mixed with meat that was left over from home or commercial rations to form corn polenta, which was fed to the dogs."
The aflatoxins are primarily hepatotoxic or cause liver damage in animals. If your fur-baby ingests food than contains aflatoxins, you can anticipate one or more of these symptoms:
- Severe and persistent vomiting
- Bloody diarrhea
- Lack of appetite and refusing to eat and drink
- Fever or chills
- Being lethargic
- Discolored urine
- Jaundice, especially around the whites of the eyes, gums and belly
If you see your fur-baby with these symptoms, its important to seek expert veterinary help immediately!
What should you do?
It's simple - avoid feeding your pets kibble! Kibble is known to be bad for your fur-babies and the presence of this toxin is just another reason why you should switch pet food. We actually made articles detailing about the dangers of kibble for your fur-babies, check them out here!