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Genetically Engineered Foods and Dog and Cat Health Issues

From Dr. Michael W. Fox

I advise both consumers and pet care-givers to avoid all foods derived from GM crops because the findings of evidence-based medicine support the growing consensus that such foods are unsafe and not fit for man or beast.

One of the biggest challenges today in addressing human and animal health and various complex disease problems is in the accurate identification of causal factors responsible for illness. This is essential if effective government regulation, oversight and preventive measures are to be implemented, and where feasible, appropriate treatments.

In their recent review, Dona & Arvanitoyannis (2009) conclude that “The results of most of the rather few studies conducted with GM foods indicate that they may cause hepatic, pancreatic, renal, and reproductive effects and may alter hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters the significance of which remains unknown. The above results indicate that many GM foods have some common toxic effects. Therefore, further studies should be conducted in order to elucidate the mechanism dominating this action.

My assertion that GM pet food ingredients can be a health risk to dogs and cats is based on the increasing number of letters that I have been receiving from readers of my nationally syndicated Animal Doctor newspaper column in the U.S., whose animals are suffering from what attending veterinarians are diagnosing and treating as allergies, atopic dermatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. I have been writing this weekly column for over 40 years, and the increase in letters dealing with these kinds of health problems in dogs and cats began around the mid 1990s when GM crop acreage began to explode and more and more of the ingredients in livestock feed and pet foods were derived from such crops.

This assertion is supported by the evidence-based medicine of health improvement following a change in diet. Afflicted animals’ symptoms were often quickly resolved when they were transitioned on to a diet containing no GM ingredients. Their often reported increased vitality and healthfulness would imply some impairment of metabolism and immune system function had been rectified by a change in diet and improved nutrition.

I advise both consumers and pet care-givers to avoid all foods derived from GM crops because the findings of evidence-based medicine support the growing consensus that such foods are unsafe and not fit for man or beast.


Dr. Michael W. Fox is a well-known veterinarian, former vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, former vice president of Humane Society International and the author of more than 40 adult and children’s books on animal care, animal behavior and bioethics. He is also a graduate veterinarian from the Royal Veterinary College, London, whose research lead to a PhD (Medicine) and a DSc (ethology/animal behavior) from the University of London, England.