I have always been a dog lover, but it wasn’t until I met my partner, Melanie, and her chihuahua, Emma, during graduate school that a dog became permanently part of my life. Emma is the boss. Emma is known for being incredibly loyal to her family and skeptical of newcomers, especially women. Emma and I became best friends in just five minutes. Emma is also credited with finishing one-quarter of my PhD thesis.
Melanie and me knew we needed another pair to help us when we returned to Toronto to begin work at SCIEX. SCIEX is a company that helps scientists with complex data. Angela was adopted by Texas Chihuahua Rescue. Angela is calm, quiet, and shy. She has been a great companion to Emma, who is passionate, assertive, and exuberant.
Melanie and I, as dog lovers, were shocked and worried to learn about the pet and canine deaths caused by food poisoning from mycotoxins at the close of last year. Because my work at SCIEX involves developing new technologies and methods for screening foods for contaminants like mycotoxins, this hit close to home.
What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins, which are poisonous chemicals naturally found in certain molds and fungi, can be produced. They can grow on many crops and food products, such as cereals and nuts, spices and dried fruits, apples and coffee beans. Molds can cause contamination at many points in food production. They can grow on live crop plants, harvested fruit and grains, as well as stored processed foods. Mycotoxins can survive food processing because they are chemically stable. Even after they are broken down into byproduct metabolites, mycotoxins can still be toxic to animals that have been given contaminated feed.
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Eating mycotoxin-contaminated food can make humans and animals severely ill and even be lethal when certain mycotoxins, like aflatoxins, are ingested in large doses. Aflatoxins are a common group of mycotoxins that can cause liver problems.
Mycotoxins can have long-term effects on your health. They can cause cancers or immune deficiencies. There are many mycotoxins that are known. However, not all of them are easily identified. These “masked mycotoxins”Other new developments “emerging mycotoxins”These are raising concerns in the food safety-security industry.
How are foods tested?
Raw ingredients and final food products are routinely screened for mycotoxin contamination by advanced analytical chemistry methods that combine liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Using the LC technique, the different components of food are separated based on their other physical properties. These compounds can then be identified and quantified using MS technologies based on their chemical characteristics, such as their mass-to-charge ratio. SCIEX was inspired by the discovery of masked mycotoxins as well as other new mycotoxins. Scientists are now looking for better ways to detect these toxins. The latest detection method using LC-MS can detect 530 mycotoxins quickly and accurately.
How can you protect your dog and yourself from mycotoxin dangers?
Although a dog’s super-sense of smell is able to detect molds, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will steer clear of them. As any pupper’s person can attest, dogs will eat, sniff or lick (almost) anything resembling food – moldy or not. Keep your dog safe to reduce the chance of them getting sick.
- You can discourage them from digging in compost piles, moldy leaves, wild mushroom clumps, or trash containers containing rotting food.
- It is possible to reduce the risk at home by properly drying and storing your food.
- Avoid storing food in humid and warm conditions as they can encourage mold growth.
- Regularly inspect whole grains, dried fruit, and nuts for signs of mold and other problems.
- Get your grains and nuts freshest possible. Store them in cool, dry conditions away from insects.
- Avoid damaging grains during drying and storage.
- Check out the FDA’s health notices for dog food recalls and advisories.
Important to remember that molds that produce mycotoxins can penetrate food deep and not just on the surface.
You should be aware of signs that they might be feeling sick like confusion, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. They might also experience neurological symptoms, such as seizures, tremors, or ataxia. This will make them appear drunk and have difficulty walking. Your best friend may have neurological symptoms, or any combination of these symptoms. Take them to the vet.
These measures will help us to protect our friends and keep ourselves safe while enjoying our de facto relationships. “colleagues”As we work remotely.
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