Copper Storage Disease
Copper Storage Disease in dogs is a condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of chelated copper in the animal’s liver. This leads to progressive damage and scarring of the liver. Excessive and prolonged exposure over time leads to cirrhosis and possible death. Copper Storage Disease (CSD) is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Studies and research have proven this increase in CSD can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.
Scientists from around the country are researching Copper Storage Disease. Watch this short video on what a team from the Michigan State University – College of Veterinary Medicine discovered through their years of research.
Natural Copper vs Copper Sulfate or Chelated Copper
Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral. It can be found in its natural form in many plant and animal products. It is absorbed in the gut, transported to the liver and then distributed through the bloodstream. Excess natural copper is easily eliminated from the body when not needed.
Chelated copper and copper sulfate are man-made. It is a molecular complex that consists of elemental copper combined with amino acid glycine. It is absorbed at a much higher rate and is not easily expelled from the dogs liver. Excessive amounts of chelated copper in a dog’s diet over time may become toxic, overwhelming the liver and can lead to progressive damage and scarring (cirrhosis) — in some cases death.
What we discovered about Copper Storage Disease.
In 1988, The University of Kentucky conducted a study where they added copper sulfate, which is a growth promotant, to pig feed that improved the rate and efficiency of growth and weight gain in weanling pigs. This improved growth rate allowed industrial swine farmers to move pigs to market faster and increased profitability.
Within years, copper sulfate was being added to bovine, sheep and even farm-raised fish feeds.
In 1997, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) changed the requirements related to copper supplementation in companion animal diets. The requirements state that when “added” to diets, chelated copper or copper sulfate must be used. Studies or feeding trials were never conducted prior to this mandate to see what the long term effects would be on companion animals. The Scoop Dog Food diets are meeting the AAFCO requirements by formulating our recipes with natural copper sourced ingredients and NOT adding chelated copper or copper sulfate.
Here’s an alarming fact…
We contacted many pet food manufacturers and most had no idea the level of copper in their foods, only that they had added the mandated amount of chelated copper or copper sulfate to their recipe. The additional problem is that many of the recipes are formulated with beef, pork, chicken or fish by-products that were also fed diets supplemented with chelated copper or copper sulfate. So along with the mandated amount of chelated copper or copper sulfate and these by-products, an increasing number of our pets are being exposed to toxic levels of copper.
The challenge for pet owners is there is no way to know how much chelated copper or copper sulfate is in the food you are feeding without sending it into a lab for testing. We initially sent in over twenty-five different dog foods for testing; premium, specialty, dry and wet brands, and the copper levels where alarmingly varied and excessive.
Copper Storage Disease is being diagnosed at an alarming and increasing frequency in our canine family members. Studies and new research have proven this increase in Copper Storage Disease can be directly related to the mandate set forth by AAFCO regarding copper supplementation in dog food. The decision to change the type of copper being added has created a man-made disease that is shortening the lives of many of our beloved pets.