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Author Topic: Could fake taurine be responsible for an increase in feline heart disease?  (Read 20607 times)
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catbird
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« on: February 05, 2010, 06:51:36 PM »

For the past few weeks I have been pondering the question of whether feline heart disease is on the increase.  This thinking was triggered by the fact that we have lost several cats to heart disease within a little over six months, just among regular posters on this forum--bug (Bones), JustMe (Twit), petslave (Mia and possibly Tony.)  There may be others that I am not remembering.  Yes, heart problems like this are common in domestic cats, but in most cases they don't become severe until the cat is in the geriatric age range, around 15 and over.  These were relatively young cats; one was only 8, in early middle age.  In several cases, the onset and deaths were sudden, and any previously documented heart problems were not severe.  It seemed unusual that there would be so many feline deaths related to heart disease within such a small group of people, in such a short period of time.

There are many factors that can cause heart disease in cats--genetics, infection, dental disease, chemical exposure.  One of the major factors, however, is diet.  Feline heart disease had decreased markedly since taurine started being added to commercial cat foods decades ago.  For those cats with diagnosed heart disease, taurine is often recommended to help treat the condition and prevent or slow worsening.

So I began thinking further.  In the past few years we have heard about fake wheat gluten imported from China--it was wheat flour spiked with melamine.  We have heard of fake heparin imported from China.  Well, almost all taurine is imported from China.

Could a similar tragedy have been going on with our cats' food in relation to taurine?  What if, like fake wheat gluten, there was fake taurine being added to pet food, not meeting the known need for taurine, and causing or exacerbating heart problems for our cats?  It would be a perfect situation to go un-noticed.  Cats get heart disease.  At first the melamine went un-noticed, too, because kidney failure in pets is a pretty common problem.  We know from experience that there is really no effective central reporting agency that tracks veterinary diagnoses like the CDC does for people.  So an increase in cat heart disease would very likely slip under the radar.

This was just a speculation, although it seemed a possible scenario to me.  And then one of our researchers pointed me towards some resources, and look what was there:


http://www.iealing.com/tn/consignee/2008/C/CHEMNUTRAINC10.html

Changshu Yudong Chemical Co.
Wangshi Hayiu Town Changshu City Jiangsu Province China

ChemNutra Inc
10396 Noontide Ave. Las Vegas, NV

Bill of Lading UPSPSHA0800600696

Arrival 6-23-2008

Weight 269200 KG

Quantity 2720 CTN

Out of Shanghai, into Los Angeles

Taurine


http://www.iealing.com/tn/consignee/2008/C/CHEMNUTRAINC81.html

Changshu Yudong Chemical Co.
Wangshi Hayiu Town Changshu City Jiangsu Province China

ChemNutra Inc.
810 South Durango Drive Suite #120
Las Vegas, NV

Bill of Lading UPSPSHA08090247

Arrival 9-15-2008

Weight 69200 KG

Quantity 2720 CTN

Out of Shanghai, to Los Angeles

Taurine


http://www.iealing.com/tn/consignee/2008/C/CHEMNUTRAINCCN81.html

Jiangsu Yuanyang Chemical-Cn
Zhitang Town Changshu Cn

Chemnutra Inc.-Cn
810 South Durango Drive Suite #120
Las Vegas, NV

Arrival 6-15-2008

Weight 17300 KG

Quantity 680 PCS

From Shanghai to Long Beach, CA

17,000 kgs Taurine Origin: China this shipment....


So in 2008 ChemNutra was busily importing taurine from China!  And given their past relationships with pet food companies, how much do you want to bet that some of the pet food companies were getting their taurine from ChemNutra, either directly or indirectly through middlemen?  We know ChemNutra brought in fake wheat gluten.  Is it too much of a stretch to think they might have brought in fake taurine, too?

Fake taurine imported in 2008 would be perfect timing to have affected the cats I mentioned above.  Give it a few months to get into the canned food supply, the cats eat it in 2008-2009, don't get enough of what they need for an extended period of time, and develop or worsen heart problems.  So in the beginning of 2010 we have what happened to the poor cats I listed above.

It seems possible to me that lightning may have struck twice.
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
caylee
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 06:58:04 PM »

Hummmm . . .says caylee.  Huh
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menusux
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 07:21:04 PM »

Most of you are aware that ChemNutra morphed into Eos Direct about a year ago.  For anyone who needs to see the "smoking gun" on that, here it is:

http://whois.domaintools.com/eosdirect.com

Registrant:
Chemnutra
   810 S Durango
   Las Vegas, NV 89145
   US

   Domain Name: EOSDIRECT.COM

   Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:   steve.miller@chemnutra.com   
      810 S Durango
      Las Vegas, NV 89145
      US
      702-799-9800

   Record expires on 25-Feb-2010.
   Record created on 20-Feb-2009.

   Domain servers in listed order:

   NS97.WORLDNIC.COM            205.178.190.49
   NS98.WORLDNIC.COM            205.178.144.49


Checking the Eos Direct website today found it's currently offline, but we can have a look at one of its pages via Google cache from December 31, 2009.

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:OrCCchHsSfkJ:www.eosdirect.com/quality.html+eos+direct&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

EOS Direct, LLC
(702) 997-9550

"Safety, Value, Quality
 
"EOS Direct is committed to consistently sourcing food, pet food, and nutritional ingredients to ensure the best safety, value and highest quality of the final product.  Our technical professionals and resources can assist our customers with knowledge of raw materials effects on product quality.

"We are also an innovative partner in managing the safety of the ingredients we source through the use of technology for traceability and third-party audits of the manufacturers we represent
.

"Our third-party auditor is a privately held U.S. corporation with almost 20 years of hands-on experience in performing inspections in Asia with the most highly trained team of inspectors. This 100% dedicated inspection company focuses entirely on pre-shipment inspection, factory and supplier audits and laboratory testing."

In the year since Eos Direct has been in operation, what types of products has it been working with?

http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/Buyers-Guide.aspx?li=64675

EOS Direct
10181 Park Run Drive, Ste. 110
Howard Hughes Plaza
Las Vegas, NV 89145
Phone: (702)997-9550
Fax: (702)997-9551

Web: www.eosdirect.com

Contact: Stephanie Bitters
Email: stephanie@eosdirect.com

EOS Direct LLC is an importer of bulk ingredients from China, including taurine, L-cysteine and glycine. We specialize in various energy drink ingredients, including glucuronolactone and caffeine, as well as phosphates, potassium sorbate and thiamine.

EOS Direct offers the following products and/or services:
Ingredient Suppliers

Related Components
Sweeteners, Non-nutritive
Specialty
Creatine
Inositol
L-Alanine
L-Arginine
L-Cystine
L-Histindine
L-Isoleucine
L-Leucine
L-Taurine
L-Tyrosine
Vitamins
Inositol
Thiamin (B1)
Vitamin C
Vitamin K
Quality Control
Use Independent Analytical Lab
Provide Certificates of Analysis

ISO Certified
Offer Facility Tours
Certified Kosher
Have SOPs
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petslave
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 07:29:40 PM »

I've really been wondering the same thing catbird.  For my cats, they were on mostly homemade, but I did feed more canned toward the end of last year.  I've wondered if the taurine I'm using in my homemade may be "bad" (inactive or inadequate), or the canned food's taurine could be bad.

From some of the results I've seen on tests of human supplements, it seems like it's rather common for them to test below the stated levels on the bottle.  Then you have the pet food companies that use who knows what brand & quality.  And we've seen a number of cases of too much/too little of supplements in pet food - thiamine, Vit D for example.  So it happens, and it seems to happen too frequently.

Some cats seem to be more sensitive to low taurine levels too, so it may not be obvious if taurine levels are inadequate in foods.  I'm going to try adding undercooked chicken hearts in my next batch of cat food.  
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catbird
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 07:36:15 PM »

I've been feeding my cats turkey hearts regularly for months now, to provide natural taurine, because I don't trust what's in the pet food I feed them.  I have had cats for a very long time, and had only one with heart disease, who was 19 years old when serious problems became evident.  Now in the past four years, I've had two cats suddenly come up with heart disease, diagnosed when they were 9 and 10 years old.  Something is not right.
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 07:49:04 PM »

Wouldn't this just be an additional new horror from all-get-out? I realize it's supposition, but
it sounds so likely. And the coincidence of local and international suppliers is just spooky.
I wish there was somebody trustworthy to ask to check.
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Steve
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 08:08:42 PM »

Most of you are aware that ChemNutra morphed into Eos Direct about a year ago.  For anyone who needs to see the "smoking gun" on that, here it is:

So how is it the Millers are as of today banned from the business yet their "shadow company" EOS Direct continues doing business as usual?  Boy this stinks to high heaven.
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 08:17:31 PM »

Just the other day, a colleague of mine's cat died and it sounded, by her description of what happened, that it was heart failure. She was 13 and had a clean bill of health not too long ago. She didn't want to have a necropsy done. That got me wondering about this spike in heart disease as well. I wasn't really thinking about Taurine, though, as hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy aren't affected by the supplementation with taurine.

I have had several conversations with Dr. Dan Hogan, who is conducting the FATCAT study, three veterinarians and Dr. Theresa DeFrancesco (a renowned researcher in the area of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) who have all confirmed, among other things, that there is no evidence of therapeutic effect of taurine in anything but dilated cardiomyopathy. Having said that, my vets pretty much said if I wanted to supplement, it probably wouldn't hurt.

Of course, just because there isn't evidence, doesn't mean anyone has gone looking for it.

In Bones' case, he was found at a year of age, starving, literally skin and bones. He then ate his way to a weight problem and was slowly losing his excess fat when we discovered his condition by accident. Did his early malnutrition affect his heart? I think so. Did his weight problem contribute to his heart's early demise. I think so. In the years he was with me, he had been fed a multitude of foods: wet, dry and people food. I would find it hard to swallow that every food I fed was deficient in taurine or some other critical nutrient when all of the testing we've seen has shown over-supplementation.

I sometimes think that there really isn't an increase in this problem, there's just more awareness, more people doing testing, the Internet to connect all of us and make it seem like this is an epidemic and more cats on medication. I think, in the past, cats would just die and we wouldn't know why. We just accepted it, but they always had this vulnerability.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2010, 08:19:17 PM by bug » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
petslave
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 08:23:13 PM »

Just great, read the 3rd comment down on here, the Dec 30, 09 post:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/royal_canin.html

If it is happening with one, it's most likely happening with others.
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catbird
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2010, 08:28:41 PM »

Yes, this shows that at least one brand of food was taurine-deficient.  And as we learned to our horror three years ago, where there is one, there are likely to be many.

Good but disturbing find, petslave.
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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2010, 08:30:30 PM »

From 2007 research on homemade pet food, this study from UC Davis to add taurine
naturally to cat's diet:

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmb/aal/reference_papers/spitze.pdf

Taurine concentrations in animal feed ingredients; cooking
influences taurine content
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 08:32:45 PM »

Holy cow. This person should post the test results from Davis on several animal-related websites and they should contact a bunch of media outlets to see if they could get an investigation. I refuse to feed my cats anything Mars cranks out. Never have, never will. End of rant.

Now, just the mere fact that this food is rabbit-based would tell you it was practically devoid of taurine. If RC has a standard premix that they add to all of their foods in the same quantity, it would explain why this particular variety was woefully deficient in that nutrient. You have to essentially supplement ALL of the taurine in rabbit-based foods because that is the one meat that pretty much has none naturally.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2010, 08:37:49 PM »

Could one ask those of you who lost cats to heart problems what foods were being eaten?
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menusux
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2010, 08:41:44 PM »

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Safety/Recalls/EnforcementReports/UCM177134.pdf

Page 261

FDA Enforcement Report August 12 2009

RECALLS AND FIELD CORRECTIONS: VETERINARY - CLASS II
___________________________________
PRODUCT
1) Custom Mix Natural Max Cat Trace Mineral Premix; Net Weight 22.7 kg, 50 lb. bags; for further manufacturing use only; Nutro Code: 237047, Recall # V-253-2009;
2) Custom Mix Max Cat IND AD Chicken Base Mix; Net Weight 22.7 kg, 50 lb. bags; for further manufacturing use only; Nutro Code: 236621, Recall # V-254-2009

CODE
1) Lot #’s 1534521 through 1606708;
2) Lot #’s 1540966 through 1589684
RECALLING FIRM/MANUFACTURER
Trouw Nutrition USA, LLC, Highland, IL, by telephone on May 19, 2009. Firm initiated recall is ongoing.
REASON
The premix has high zinc levels and lower potassium levels than expected. The base mix has lower potassium levels than expected.

VOLUME OF PRODUCT IN COMMERCE
98,499.24 kg
DISTRIBUTION
CA, TN

As Bug said, RC is Mars, just like Nutro....
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petslave
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2010, 08:44:04 PM »

Good point about the rabbit, bug.  And I just read that canned foods need more taurine added than dry.  I'm wondering if we should have some of the foods we're using tested at an amino acid lab.

Further down in those comments, someone had a Vit D excess problem in 08, which I didn't hear about either.  There was a major one around 06, so it sounds like they had another problem with it more recently.
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