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Aluminum hydroxide for cats
Aluminum hydroxide is the chemical compound Al(OH)3, also written Al2O3.
In the cat
The cat is a very sensitive species. Aluminium has been used in medical treatments since the 1930s, when it was discovered that alum causes cats to vomit.
Aluminium is not a toxic metal. It has no significant role in human nutrition. It does have a role in nutrition in cats, and cats do use it.
Aluminium-containing foods were first used in the 1930s. One of the first commercial products to contain aluminium was a pet food named Alpo, which was a dry food and was later turned into a wet food. It was marketed for dogs. The brand name was later changed to "Kitty's Choice", and then "Maine Coon".
In the United States, there is a rule that says all foods and medications intended for pets must be tested to ensure that they are safe for use by animals. Aluminium hydroxide was not used as a food for cats before 2004, but was added as a coating on cat food and treats as of 2005. The coatings were applied after the cat food was tested.
The coatings are a combination of aluminium hydroxide and starch. Aluminium hydroxide is a filler and starch is a binder. The coatings are added to protect the food against spoilage by bacteria, and to help prevent the stomach lining from getting ulcers, and thereby help to prevent ulcers.
Aluminium hydroxide was added to the coating because of the potential for aluminium poisoning in cats, which could lead to kidney damage.
Aluminium hydroxide is a common ingredient in cat litter and cat litter boxes.
Veterinarians have concerns about aluminium because of the potential for toxicity. A potential side effect is vomiting.
Some people are concerned that aluminium may be a health risk for cats. Cats that eat aluminium hydroxide will get aluminium in their blood. As of 2008, cats that ate aluminium hydroxide in their food got a very small amount of aluminium, less than half of what is present in a human with kidney problems that have received regular dialysis.
The International Cat Care Association (I.C.C.A.) recommends that all cat food should be tested for aluminium to ensure that the levels are safe.
Use of aluminium hydroxide in pet foods
The FDA tested aluminium hydroxide as a food additive and published the results in 2004. It found no evidence of toxicity in cats fed diets containing up to 16 ,mg aluminium per kilogram of diet. The FDA concluded that the "FDA is unable to recommend a concentration of aluminium hydroxide in the diet of adult cats."
The FDA has reviewed the data on aluminium hydroxide. There were six studies of diets containing aluminium hydroxide. All had the same conclusion: that the amounts of aluminium in the diets that cats fed were "low and not considered to pose a hazard to the health of adult cats." The six studies were:
A study by the National Animal Feeding and Management Association that used a diet with 2 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
A study by the Association of American Feed Control Officials that used a diet with 1 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
A study by the American Association of Feed Control Officials that used a diet with 7 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
A study by the Association of American Feed Control Officials that used a diet with 8 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
A study by the American Association of Feed Control Officials that used a diet with 10 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
A study by the Association of American Feed Control Officials that used a diet with 14 ,mg aluminium per kilogram.
The study of a diet containing 2 ,mg aluminium per kilogram was performed by the National Animal Feeding and Management Association and reported in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in December 2004. The paper discussed the results of the study. In that study, cats that ate the diet did not develop kidney disease. The study found that the aluminium concentration in the kidneys of cats that ate the diets was similar to that in cats that were fed a diet that had no added aluminium. The concentration of aluminium in the kidneys of cats that ate the diet was one-tenth of the concentration found in cats that ate a diet without aluminium hydroxide.
The other studies found similar results. A study of diets containing 1, 7 and 8 ,mg aluminium per kilogram reported that cats in those studies did not develop kidney disease. The concentrations of aluminium in the kidneys of cats that ate those diets were similar to those of cats fed a diet that did not contain aluminium hydroxide.
The AAFCO has reviewed the data on aluminium hydroxide and aluminium, and does not recommend it as a feed additive. It does recommend that it not be used in foods intended for kittens and puppies under 12 weeks of age.
The AAFCO does not recommend that aluminium hydroxide be added to cat food because of potential health risks for cats. The AAFCO states that "a few studies have investigated the dietary effects of aluminium hydroxide on cats, and found no adverse effects on cats fed diets with up to 1 mg aluminium per kg diet, however, many other studies of cats fed diets containing up to 16 mg aluminium per kg diet found no evidence of renal damage or other adverse effects." The AAFCO also states that "it is well known that all cats (regardless of diet) have a small amount of aluminium (2-6 mg/kg) in their kidney tissue as part of their normal diet." The AAFCO also states that it is "common practice in the veterinary profession" to give an annual physical examination to cats.
The AAFCO is concerned that aluminium may be a health risk for cats. It states that "a few studies have investigated the effects of dietary aluminium in cats, and found evidence of nephrotoxicity" and recommends that "cats should not be fed diets containing aluminium hydroxide" because "