Raw ground beef gullet from Hare Today
Well, I think our days of feeding raw beef gullet are over. It turns out that raw animal necks and gullets may contain high levels of thyroid hormones that can lead or contribute to hyperthyroidism in cats and dogs. Hyperthyroidism is a glandular condition in which there is an excessively high concentration of circulating thyroxine (T4) hormone. Untreated, it wreaks havoc on the body and ultimately leads to heart and kidney failure. Since cats are prone to hyperthyroidism (likely due to the addition of cooked gullets and animal necks to canned and dry food), feeding them raw beef gullet will put them at greater risk of it. Poultry necks also contain thyroid hormones as the thyroid gland is located in the neck, wrapping around the windpipe/trachea, so they should not be the sole sources of bones and calcium. Raw chicken necks are our go-to for bones and calcium because the bones are smaller and easier to chew than other bones. We ordered ground-up raw gullet from Hare Today several times and even though we don't feed these particular raw foods daily, I am left concerned and wondering if even a little amount of raw gullet is too much.
For the sake of being extra careful, we have decided to remove raw gullet from our raw feeding diet. Besides removal from diet, I will monitor the cats for signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Since a few annual visits are coming up, we will have blood drawn and have complete work-ups done to check thyroid levels, CBCs, and chem panel values. We will also have urine samples checked for kidney functions.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism to watch for:
- Weight loss
- Increased activity
- Increased appetite
- Aggressive behavior
- Matted, greasy, poor hair coat
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased thirst and water drinking
- Increased frequency of urination
- Occasional breathing difficulties
- Occasional depressed mood
Hyperthyroidism is not always clearly apparent, so annual check-ups with the veterinarian are highly recommended. If feeding poultry necks, beef gullets, and other thyroid hormone-containing organs, space out the potential raw culprits and really consider feeding other bone sources. We are currently in the process of this and completely redoing our raw feeding ways. Now, of course, one should remain a skeptic and take information given with a grain of salt. I don't want to follow the masses just because a study claims this or that, so self-research and continuous education is a necessity.