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January 30 YOU ASKED...
"Why we use vit K menodione in our pet foods?"
Several forms of vitamin K2 are approved for human foods and supplements, but only the K3 forms are FDA/CFIA approved for animal supplements and foods. For dogs, cats, and most livestock species, K3 is conditionally essential, meaning that most of the time when there is a healthy population of desirable bacteria in the intestinal tract, the bacteria will likely produce adequate amounts of vitamin K to meet the animal’s requirements for blood clotting factors. We don’t always have the good fortune of feeding healthy animals, sometimes we have dogs and cats that have vomiting, diarrhea, antibiotic treatment and intestinal upsets that disturb the normal population balance of bacteria in the gut, which then results in inadequate amounts of vitamin K available to the animal. Some ingredients, such as fish meal at a relatively high level, will interfere with vitamin K synthesis by the bacteria and also appears to reduce vitamin K absorption in the intestinal tract, so supplemental vitamin K is required. Vitamin K3 is added at 2-4 parts per million as a low cost insurance for those infrequent occasions when digestive upsets do not allow the intestinal bacteria to produce enough Vitamin K to meet the animal’s needs.
Another argument sometimes appears and that is that the K3 form is also used in some rodent poisons at levels more than 1000X the levels normally supplemented in animal feeds. All nutrients will create toxicity when fed at 1000X or more of the normal use rates.
Some folks have argued that we should be using the K2 form (approved for humans) in our animal food, but no form of K2 is government approved for use in animals in the US and Canada. The primary reason is most likely that no company has sponsored research to demonstrate effectiveness and safety – sometimes there is not enough margin in some vitamins to support costly research with little chance of recovering the research costs.
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