Friend of and all around animal food guru, Dr. Gary Pusillo shares some of his investigative work with us. Dr. Gary’s work has led him to investigate Chinese Vitamin D supplements in animal foods.

The allegations are concerning Vitamin D bioavailability; resulting problems have been a large number of reports of Vitamin D deficiency problems in animals fed supplements with the Chinese Vitamin D. The in-question Chinese Vitamin D supplements assays are stating the vitamins meet label guarantees, however a record number of animals are/have been suffering from Rickets – associated with Vitamin D deficiency.

From Dr. Gary “I have done over 300 necropsies already in suspect animals. Most Veterinarians will typically never see one case of Rickets in their entire career. Fast growing individuals are more likely to exhibit problems.”

There have been no confirmed cases of Rickets in dogs or cats at this time.

I asked Dr. Cathy Alinovi to weigh in on what the symptoms would be for dogs and cats suffering from Vitamin D deficiency…
“Most common signs of vitamin D deficiency are lameness and poor mineralization of bone, especially in pups and kits. Signs of the classical disease, rickets, are most obvious in fast-growing, thus larger breed dogs. Affected animals will be lethargic, lose muscle mass (probably due to lethargy and presumably pain) and run slower than other dogs. More severe cases of rickets will have swellings at growth plates on the bones – which can mimic panosteitis (AKA growing pains); the bones may even become rubbery and bend. Cats can also have muscle tremors, abnormal stance and severe inability to move (tetraparesis). These changes can happen as fast as 6 weeks in severely depleted diets.

In humans, low Vitamin D is linked to a long list of illnesses: high blood pressure, migraines, susceptibility to the flu, diabetes, gum disease, epilepsy, osteoporosis, infertility, PMS, depression, multiple sclerosis and obesity. These links are not well characterized in pets – but how do we know the problems aren’t there as dogs and cats can’t tell us if they have a headache? While vitamin D is occasionally measured in humans, it’s almost unheard of to test in animals.”

This is another one of those things that we need to pay attention to. Most pet foods contain vitamin and mineral supplements sourced from China (pay attention to yourself as well – most human vitamins are sourced from China). Should any Veterinarian out there have documented incidents of Rickets and/or Vitamin D deficiency symptoms in animals beginning in January 2011, Dr. Gary would like to hear from you.