Glyphosate and Your Companion Pets

Due to several recently won or pending civil lawsuits, many of us know of the herbicide glyphosate – commonly known as RoundUp™ and by other tradenames – as a potential cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Are there other diseases that have been linked to and might be connected to use of glyphosate?

Yes; links have been found to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and DNA damage. Endocrine and reproductive issues due to glyphosate have been studied, but the results are conflicting. Other researchers postulate that glyphosate may cause kidney damage, celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Under the current government administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made an interim decision in April 2019 that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. Additionally, the agency says that glyphosate is not an endocrine disruptor. However, the EPA’s draft ecological risk assessment did find: potential risks to both land and water plants; potential risks to birds from acute or short-term exposure; and, potential risks to mammals from chronic or long-term exposure. Essentially, the EPA is conflicted as well.

In our opinion, no one really knows the extent to which glyphosate is harming our bodies through eating, inhalation or skin absorption.

Are our pets affected by glyphosate?

In Europe, poison control centers do keep track of this. They found acute glyphosate poisoning in companion dogs and cats that led to fatal outcomes in some instances. Of course, this exposure is commonly from eating grass or walking on freshly sprayed ground. When it comes to chronic exposure, the research is so limited or conflicting that researchers have had to apply the human acceptable daily intake amount to our pets.

However, we are seeing new research emerge. In 2016, researchers in New York tested 30 dogs and 30 cats for glyphosate levels. They found widespread presence, and that glyphosate was twice as high in cat urine than in dog urine. They applied the acceptable daily intake amount for humans to pets and stated that the levels were less than that threshold. While this research is important and gives us a standard to work with, inevitably dogs and cats deserve their own species- acceptable daily intake levels.

Another group of researchers at Cornell University looked at the amount of glyphosate in 18 commercially available companion pet foods.

  • Glyphosate was detected in every product.
  • The concentration of glyphosate concentration was correlated with crude fiber content. Meaning, it is a strong likelihood that the glyphosate came from a plant product.
  • The average daily intake of the glyphosate from all products combined was estimated to result in exposures that were 0.68–2.5% of that for humans in the United States and European Union.
  • However, the most contaminated pet food would result in glyphosate exposure that was 7.3% and 25% above the average daily intake for humans.
  • Overall, commercial companion pet foods have so much glyphosate, that pet exposure is 4–12 times higher than of humans on a per kilogram basis.

In fact, one of the researchers on the project actually switched his dog’s food based on these results.

Dovetailing on this, a more comprehensive research project is in the works at the Health Research Institute Laboratories (HRI). They are measuring the levels of glyphosate in pet urine as well.

What they have found thus far is astonishing based on survey answers.

  • Cats are averaging 8 ppb which is 16 times more than that found in the average of human urine.
  • Dogs are averaging 15.8 ppb which is 32 times the human average.
  • Dogs that eat raw food have virtually no detectable glyphosate.
  • Those that eat canned food have more.
  • Those that eat dry kibble have higher levels.
  • Those that eat grain-free kibble have the highest levels. It is believed that the movement to grain-free diets using ingredients such as oats, pea protein, chick peas and lentils may be a cause.
  • The researchers have tested crops like oats and legumes and they deliver the highest glyphosate levels to human consumers.

However, before you start switching your companion pet’s food, we encourage you to participate in the study and find out how much glyphosate is in your pet’s urine. HRI plans to submit the results for peer-reviewed publication once enough data are collected. You will not only be helping your pet, but also pets around the world.

HRI is a reputable organization and Hemopet has used their services. We recently reached out to them for clarification on a few items. The response definitely gave us more insight than we expected, and should reassure you that it is a legitimate organization.

Question: Pet parents participating in the survey still have to pay for the test, correct?

Answer: Pet parents do cover the cost of their individual test. They receive their test results and, later, will receive a copy of the study. HRI Labs is an independent, non-profit lab and research organization. We do not receive large government or corporate grants, so we employ crowdfunding to cover the costs of many studies. The pet and farm animal study is one of these.

Question: This test is for dogs, cats and horses – not cattle or chickens, etc.?

Answer: In addition to cats, dogs, horses and people, we have tested a number of cattle but no chickens, so far. We can test urine from any animal.

Question: Your survey is more epidemiological, as it is not investigating if glyphosate is the direct cause of cancer in dogs and other animals?

Answer: The study is focused on exposure levels and sources. We would, however, like to conduct a study where we tested at least 30 dogs of the same breed that have lymphoma and 30 elder dogs of the same breed that do not have lymphoma.

To participate in the study, please visit HRI Labs Glyphosate in Urine Test for Pets and Farm Animals.


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