Racing to Solve the Unsolved Pet Food Mystery

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Racing to Solve the Unsolved Pet Food Mystery

by Bev Storer

Scientists find substances but not the mechanism sickening cats and dogs, according to the headline of the April 29 Issue of The Sunday Oregonian.

The latest concern is how melamine, a substance used to manufacture plastics, appears to be killing dogs and cats. The mystery continues to scare pet owners and leaves veterinarians extremely frustrated. Researchers and scientists still appear to be mystified as to how melamine actual causes the alleged acute renal failure.

The question of how the toxin works also baffles the U.S. Food and Drug administration as they recently asked farmers to euthanize 6,000 hogs on farms that received tainted pet food.

According to The Sunday Oregonian front page article, it?s a puzzle vexing scientists as they now study cyanuric acid. Cyanuric acid has been found in some stricken pets and by FDA investigators who found it in rice protein concentrate. According to the article, the rice protein concentrate was found at the same North Plains warehouse where the melamine from China was discovered.

Scientists say that the cyanuric acid may not be the cause of the illnesses but is a marker that is showing up in infected pets.

To date, researchers have studied the effects of aminopterin, then melamine and now cyanuric acid. Some scientists believe that an interaction between the melamine and cyanuric acid may be the culprit. When companies cook the pet food it could be possible that the melamine and the cyanuric acid may fuse into crystals lethal to pets.

Scientists could be having difficulty identifying the cause of the pet illnesses for at least two reasons. They have never encountered melamine and related substances in pet food before; and, the studies on melamine?s effects on pets don?t match up with the kidney damage they are observing.

Concerned pet parents may be wondering if it will ever end and whether there is a pet food brand they can trust. Consumers are beginning to wonder about the implications on the human food chain. Meanwhile, the mystery continues.

Bev Storer writes about human and pet nutrition. For more information about healthy and safe pet foods, please visit or

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