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Analysis of thiamine concentrations in commercial canned foods formulated for cats

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

Abstract

Objective—To measure thiamine concentrations in commercial canned foods formulated for cats as an initial assessment of the variation among canned foods and to determine the effects of flavor (fish vs nonfish) of the food, texture (paté vs nonpaté) of the food, country of manufacture, and size of the company on thiamine concentration.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Sample—90 canned, nontherapeutic diets formulated for cats (1 fish and 1 nonfish flavor for each of 45 brands).

Procedures—Each canned food was homogenized, and thiamine concentration was analyzed with a fluorometric method.

Results—Thiamine concentration was below the minimums of the Association of American Feed Control Officials in 12 of 90 (13.3%) foods and below the recommended allowance of the National Research Council in 14 of 90 (15.6%) foods. Paté foods had significantly lower thiamine concentrations than did nonpaté foods, and foods from smaller companies had significantly lower thiamine concentrations, compared with concentrations in foods from larger companies. Flavor of food and country of manufacture were not significantly associated with thiamine concentration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A wide range of thiamine concentrations was found in the foods evaluated. Thiamine concentration in a substantial percentage of commercially available canned foods was below the amount recommended for adult cats. Additional research on interlot and intralot variation in thiamine concentrations of foods formulated for cats is warranted. Companies should implement strict quality control and analysis practices regarding food products. Clinicians should consider thiamine deficiency as a differential diagnosis in a cat with acute neurologic dysfunction.

Abstract

Objective—To measure thiamine concentrations in commercial canned foods formulated for cats as an initial assessment of the variation among canned foods and to determine the effects of flavor (fish vs nonfish) of the food, texture (paté vs nonpaté) of the food, country of manufacture, and size of the company on thiamine concentration.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Sample—90 canned, nontherapeutic diets formulated for cats (1 fish and 1 nonfish flavor for each of 45 brands).

Procedures—Each canned food was homogenized, and thiamine concentration was analyzed with a fluorometric method.

Results—Thiamine concentration was below the minimums of the Association of American Feed Control Officials in 12 of 90 (13.3%) foods and below the recommended allowance of the National Research Council in 14 of 90 (15.6%) foods. Paté foods had significantly lower thiamine concentrations than did nonpaté foods, and foods from smaller companies had significantly lower thiamine concentrations, compared with concentrations in foods from larger companies. Flavor of food and country of manufacture were not significantly associated with thiamine concentration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A wide range of thiamine concentrations was found in the foods evaluated. Thiamine concentration in a substantial percentage of commercially available canned foods was below the amount recommended for adult cats. Additional research on interlot and intralot variation in thiamine concentrations of foods formulated for cats is warranted. Companies should implement strict quality control and analysis practices regarding food products. Clinicians should consider thiamine deficiency as a differential diagnosis in a cat with acute neurologic dysfunction.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Markovich's present address is VCA Emergency Animal Hospital & Referral Center, 2317 Hotel Circle S, San Diego, CA 92108.

Supported by the Tufts Companion Animal Health Fund. Dr. Markovich's residency was supported by VCA Antech Inc.

Presented in part at the 2013 American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Clinical Nutrition Symposium, Seattle, June 2013.

Address correspondence to Dr. Freeman (Lisa.Freeman@tufts.edu).