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Figure 1: Dried Complete Dog food risk assessment

to be present in raw materials as multiple toxins where they work in a synergistic way, with the effect of one being greatly exaggerated by the presence of the other. As far as sampling is concerned, they can be distributed unevenly in contaminated materials and can also be ‘masked’ by becoming attached to simple sugars making them hard to detect. So testing by pet food manufacturers has to be far more sophisticated to provide acceptable protection levels.”

Masked mycotoxins “When masked mycotoxins are eaten,” continues Mr McArdle, “the normal digestive processes of both mammals and birds will ‘de-couple’ the linked mycotoxins, allowing them to affect health and quickly undermine their productivity and reproductive performance.” “Pets are particularly susceptible to mycotoxins, and can suffer through

contact with contaminated feed, but also bedding,” says Mr McArdle. The Alltech 37+ analysis of dry complete dog food detailed in Figure 1 shows that it contains high levels of Type B Trichothecenes, moderate levels of zearalenone group and low levels of fumonisins and ochratoxins. The DON group of toxins can affect feed intake, growth rate and immunity of dogs and are known

to increase susceptibility of dogs to infections such as E.coli. Fumonisins can both affect gut health and immunity and therefore can increase DON-toxicity. And finally the Zearalenone group of toxins can affect reproductive performance of dogs.

Mycotoxin management To assist customers – producers, feed mills and manufacturers – Alltech has developed the MIKO (Mycotoxin Hazard Analysis) Program. Based on HACCP style principles (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) the programme is designed to identify the mycotoxin risks in any facility


and create a plan to minimise those risks for the animal. For pet food manufacturers, grain sorting, cleaning and

the application of mould inhibitors to grain as it is stored are all recommended to keep mycotoxin levels low. Many manufacturers biologically test raw materials, but these are focussed on identifying bacteria rather than mycotoxins, however Alltech’s 37+ mycotoxin analysis provides the level of safety and reassurance that the industry requires. The testing of raw materials and completed feeds using Alltech 37+ Program, the most advanced and sensitive test in the industry, is central to any mycotoxin management plan. Using a specially developed combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy, 37+ analyses for over 37 mycotoxins in a single test and provides a clear picture of multiple mycotoxin contamination in all kinds of items from complete diets to biscuits, treats, seeds, grains and semi-moist diets. Users receive a report outlining the type and quantity of toxins present in a sample and an indication of the impact that this is likely to have on the relevant species.

Mycotoxin binders “Given that mycotoxins can’t be avoided or eliminated completely,” says Mr McArdle, “methods to mitigate their effects within the animal are the best option. The mycotoxin binder Mycosorb A+® will counteract the problem by binding to the broadest spectrum of mycotoxins and adsorbing them until they are excreted, reducing their damaging effects to negligible levels.” Backed by more than two decades of scientific research into

glycomics-based adsorbent technology, and supported by in-vivo data, Mycosorb A+ is effective within 10 minutes, stable over a wide pH range and at low inclusion levels. It also has the European Seal of Approval adhering in full to Legislation 767 2009. “As a result of its proven efficacy in adsorbing a broad spectrum

of mycotoxins Mycosorb A+ is scientifically proven to support the immune function and defence system of several species, including dogs, cats, fish, birds and rabbits,” concludes Terry McArdle, “and its inclusion in pet products will provide customers with a great deal of reassurance.”

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