Do you know the risk of mycotoxin exposure in pet food diets?

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Mycotoxin contamination is a well-known problem in production animal diets, but what is the risk of mycotoxin exposure in pet food diets? An article entitled: “Risk assessment of the exposure to mycotoxins in dogs and cats through the consumption of commercial dry food” was recently published in Science of The Total Environment by Maćias-Montes et al. (2020) to address exactly this question.

In this study, the authors investigated the risk posed by individual mycotoxins in pet food diets in Europe, including various brands across the spectrum, from low-cost maintenance diets to super premium.

They concluded that the short-term risk of acute toxicosis from some individual mycotoxins is quite low, except for fumonisins. However, the overall long-term risk of developing subacute toxicosis is quite high, especially when considering the synergistic effect of co-contamination, which was present in almost every sample. Interestingly, there was no difference in average contamination levels between brands of different perceived quality.

Since the longevity and long-term health of companion animals are front and centre when it comes to providing a balanced and nutritious diet to our pets, mycotoxin contamination should be of primary concern. The best formulated diet with the most nutritious ingredients can be rendered harmful if it is contaminated with mycotoxins.

Access the full article as published in Volume 708 of Science of The Total Environment in March 2020 on ScienceDirect to read more about the risk of mycotoxin exposure in pet food diets.

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Heinrich Jansen van Vuuren holds a BSc in animal science from the University of Pretoria and is the team lead for amino acids, companion animals, and aquaculture at Chemuniqué.

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