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tonyb

Zinc and Natural Remedies

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I've been meaning to post this for a while, we thought it would¬†be helpful to someone at sometime in the future. This is purely here as reference¬†ūü§ď.¬†The email is a little long so I'll also summarise as well.

We wanted to ensure our girls were in good health as they get older, so we looked at getting some natural remedies to help them along. It turns out that some types had an adverse affect on one of our Huskies, they can block the absorption of Zinc and resulted in some nasty issues. All is good now, but as mentioned above we felt this was something that needed sharing, just in case someone else came across it. On a plus note, I was very impressed with the owners of the product (large company), really went out of their way to document and collect as much information as possible to help. I've attached our original email and the first response, there is more but that not needed :).

Email (trimmed)

Quote

I purchased some of your keepers mix, green releaf and garlic and fenugreek back in November time last year for our 2 huskies. Whilst one of them was fine on them all the other one started to become quite lathergic and depressed almost within a week of starting the herbs,  I couldn't put my finger on anything specific with her for a while, she was eating, drinking weeing, pooping etc all fine. 
Then a few weeks later she started to develop skin legions on her paws, this had me worried quite quickly as it resembled Alabama rot, she was taken to the vets who ruled out Alabama rot (thank goodness) but wasn't sure of the cause at that time. She was given a course of antibiotics which seemed to help but soon after they finished the sores immediately started looking very sore, red and angry again. I took her back to the vets and she was given another course of antibiotics. 
This vet also said that it looks like it was zinc deficiency. Our dogs have always been fed a good quality diet with no problems, I'm well aware that zinc deficiency is caused by poor diet, the only thing to change was the introduction of the products. What I didn't realise is that the herbal remedies I was giving her actually stopped some of the zinc from her diet being absorbed. 
Huskies in particular (along with a handful of other breeds) can't hold onto zinc in their bodies as well as most dogs so rely on what is given to them hence the need for a good diet, it appears that the herbal remedies given to her actually restricted her absorbing the zinc she needed hence the legions. I stopped all the remedies immediately and within days her lesions had gone down and started to improve.
 
I'm not writing this email to accuse of anything, I would just like to make you aware of what has happened. I also think there should be a bit more information about the products your selling, I was not made aware of any of these side effects when ordering or looking on your website, there is no mention of any side effects at all. I thought I was doing the right thing to help our dogs as they get older but I was completely misguided by lack of information on your part and lack of research on mine. It's a shame as I totally believe in herbal remedies to help in a variety of conditions, it just had the opposite effect for my husky unfortunately. My other Husky has Addisons disease, I'm just glad that she never had the same problem on top of what she is going through.

Reply (trimmed)

Quote

Thank you for your email.
 
I am so sorry to read about your husky and thank you very much for getting in touch with us and your detailed email. We do take all reports such as yours very seriously.
 
As you say some arctic breeds and a few other breeds do struggle with zinc absorption for different reasons and some individuals suffer from low zinc absorption more than others, the recommendation is for higher zinc diet and also one low in plants and to be careful with supplementation including the amount of calcium given as well.  Although from my limited research, it seems that there are different types of zinc-responsive dermatosis, the type related to dietary supplements is more common in fast-growing breeds and specifically Great Danes, German Shepherd, Labradors, Standard Poodles and Dobermans.  There is also thought that in Alaskan breeds that it is can be linked to a stress event, oestrus or other disease issues. 
 
The amount of plant matter in our products is relatively a very small as a % of their overall food, however I completely understand your concern and the fact that when you ceased administering the products her symptoms improved. Phytates (which bind to the zinc) are highest in whole grains, legumes, nuts and oil seeds ‚Äď none of which are in the products you administered. Keepers Mix largest ingredient is Kelp Seaweed which is often taken for its high mineral and vitamin content and therefore it‚Äôs ability to actually negate phytates/phytic acid.
 
Both Green Releaf Tablets and Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets are fully licensed veterinary medicines (AVM-GSL)  and have held their licences for over 45 years. As a licensed product, like any other medicine we are regularly inspected, we undertake full literature reviews of scientific journals/papers on all active ingredients and also as part of the regulation we document every adverse event (Pharmacovigilance). An adverse event is when the medicine has effects which are not expected, such as you have described with your dog.  I can confirm that we have not had any reports of our medicines causing a zinc deficiency in all this time and we have not received any reports for Keepers Mix either, although only a supplement and not a medicine we document all reports in the same way.   The VMD make the decision when warnings need to be placed on products and this is normally done when there has been a certain amount of reports or when there has been scientific research undertaken that is worthy of a warning.
 
I do feel it is unfair to say that we misguided you, this is a very specific situation and as I have explained there has not been any cases in our products causing zinc deficiency in the past and this is based on a very large number of doses given on a yearly basis.
 
We would of course like to document this adverse event, which in turn is submitted by us to the VMD on a periodic basis. 
 
Again I am incredibly sorry that you and your dog has had this unfortunate experience and I am very glad she is now recovered. Unfortunately not all supplements or medicines suit all animals and it does seem that this is the case
 

 

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