I noticed on the news lately that the Chinese have managed to poison thousands of babies and kill a number after they laced the milk with melamine.
Melamine was put into animal feeds a few years ago and caused havoc in the pet food industry in USA and in this country. It was difficult to detect in the beginning as no one suspected that melamine was the problem. A number of dogs and cats died. Many were gravely ill for a long time and many more have never recovered fully. In the USA they recalled some 68,000,000 packets of cat and dog food.
A few days ago I noticed on the news that some 1500 dogs have died in China as a result of melamine in their food. Thatís a massive number of animals, very recent and means there is still melamine used in animal feeds although it is toxic.
Melamine is added to food to falsify the protein tests. By adding melamine (kitchen tops are made of Melamine) the tests give a false (better) protein reading and the suppliers can get more money for the product.
Melamine has been found in wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate and, in South Africa, corn gluten, all imported from China. Royal Canine in SA used corn gluten imported from China.
Melamine in pet and human food will cause renal failure.
A person who has many hundreds of people on his books and does daily house calls for problem koi has noticed a pattern developing over the last two or three years. Many cases which he has seen and where he diagnosed dropsy were feeding their collections the el cheapo red and green pellets from the East. Itís something he discussed with me a few months ago.
Dropsy in koi is usually associated with bacterial infections of the kidneys and liver with subsequent build up of body fluids.
How do we find out if the kidneys failed because of a bacterial infection or could Melamine be an agent in some situations?
If you come across cases of dropsy please have a look at the food that the koi keeper is feeding. If you find that they are feeding the el cheapo koi foods for some time please get a sample for me as I have three labs which can test for melamine. It would be most interesting to see if there is a link between dropsy in koi collections and the food they are feeding.
There is another factor to take into account Ė the quality of the diet. Some cheap feeds take short cuts and use things such as corn gluten as a protein source or feather meal. A protein test will show a reasonable or good level of protein but there could well be a deficiency of amino acids or an incorrect amino acid profile. Many of these foods do not add extra vitamins to save costs.
A deficiency signs of the vitamin Choline will involve poor growth, poor food conversion and hemorrhagic kidneys ..... and thatís what caught my eye. So we may test for Choline levels as well. I recently analysed a cheap locally produced food and there was no detectable vitamin C in it what-so-ever.