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Mycotoxins in Pets

What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are substances that are produced by molds or fungi. Some common mycotoxins that may appear in pet food include aflatoxin, fumonisin, vomitoxin, ochratoxin and zearalenone. Unfortunately, mycotoxins are very stable and often survive heat and other processing steps in pet food production.

While there are stringent policies in place at both the governmental and manufacturing levels regarding mycotoxins, they can be very tricky to monitor, and sometimes, despite these regulations, the presence of mycotoxins in food is inevitable.

How can I protect my pet from mycotoxins?

The ingredients at the highest risk for containing mycotoxins in pet food are grains, such as corn and wheat, but mycotoxins can be found in grain-free ingredients as well, so every pet food carries some level of risk.

While there are pros and cons to both grain-based and grain-free pet food diets, the best advice we can offer is to thoroughly research the pet food you choose for your dogs and cats. If the food appears or smells suspicious, do not feed it to your pets, and alert the manufacturer immediately.  

Pets experiencing mycotoxin poisoning may present with:

  • Vomiting and loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • A weakened immune system
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Jaundice

Mitigating the mycotoxin risk in pet food

Protecting your pets from mycotoxins is accomplished most effectively by following a holistic management plan. Using mycotoxin-binding feed additives can be beneficial for any pet food diet, and services such as Alltech’s 37+ and RAPIREAD testing can help to ensure that your pets’ diet is safe from contamination.