Iowa Bans Pet Supplements


Jane, our fierce but creaky 18 year old cat, would be out of luck in Iowa. Our vet prescribed a glucosamine and chrondroitin supplement to be mixed in her food as a remedy for her arthritis. In Iowa, he would be violating new regulations promulgated by that state's Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship banning pet nutritional supplements. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that these supplements work in people and the National Institutes of Health is now conducting a rigorous study to find out if there is any scientific basis for these claims. In any case, Federal law allows these supplements to be sold to people, but now Iowa would ban them and other nutritional supplements for pets. No more Science Diet for Fluffy and Fido. Surely, Iowa's overworked regulators must have more important things to do than worry about whether or not supplements work for Jane and other pets?


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  1. Looks like a market opportunity for “discreetly packaged” mail order supplements to me.

  2. I find this information on the ban of supplements for animals a bit disturbing. There are two reasons to back my opinion. For one, I used to live in Iowa. I can not imagine where the Vets and scientists came up with this nonsense ban. I guess maybe because they normally work with pigs and beetles who play in the corn fields, they can not see a good reason to keep pets alive and healthy. The second reason- I worked at a Vet for three years and have seen first hand that supplements work to benefit animals in an enormous way. Where do those Iowan’s get there thought process from? Thw world may never know!

  3. The stuff meat producers get away with, and Iowa bans pet supplements?

  4. Well, they don’t want you to get sick from eating your cat!

  5. Glucosamine and chrondroitin worked so well on my brother’s arthritic Rottweiler that I tried it for my own creaky knee. After 9 months on the stuff (after 8 or 9 years of painful grinding and audible popping) that knee no longer causes me any pain whatsoever. I’dve been SOL in Iowa myself.

  6. On a different post topic, someone was saying he could easily buy syringes for his diabetic cat while it was illegal to get them for humans.

    And how ’bout poor Tommy Chong?

  7. This ban is obviously necessary to protect the children … er, the kittens.

  8. M

  9. … And so many of us Iowans wonder why we’re often the butt of jokes…

  10. Boy, if Tommy Chong was to get caught smoking Glucosamine and chrondroitin in his bong in Iowa….(yeeks!)

  11. …only outlaws will be giving their pets glucosamine and chrondroitin supplements!

  12. Egad! So now they’re thinking up new restictions on our liberty “for the pets”?

  13. Egad! So now they’re thinking up new restictions on our liberty “for the pets”?

  14. Won’t someone think of the kittens?

  15. Leave no kitten behind.
    Drown no kitten in a gunny sack before its time.

  16. Actually, if any of you had bothered to read the article, you’d have learned as I did that Ron Bailey either can’t read or is just making stuff up now.

    According to that Des Moines Register article he cited, Iowa has not banned animal nutritional supplements at all. They’ve just banned their inclusion as an ingredient in animal feed, including pet food. You’re quite free to mash some glucosamine into Sparky’s canned food. You just can’t get food that already contains it. So yes, some “premium” national brands of pet food and hog feed will no longer be available in Iowa, but they’ve done nothing to stop you from squirting Fluffy’s kibble with echinacea yourself.

    I’d wager that the point of this is to prevent widespread overdosing and harmfully indiscriminate use of supplements in animals, which strikes me as overboard when it comes to pets but prudent when it comes to livestock, just as I find it sensible to regulate the use of medications (herbal or otherwise) as an ingredient in soft drinks or snack food. For instance, St. John’s Wort is widely regarded as an effective antidepressant, but it’s known to interfere with immune-system regulating drugs, posing great risks to transplant patients and HIV patients on protease-inhibitor regimens. Kava kava is a mild tranquilizer that’s also been linked to rapid, severe liver damage. When something like this is put in bottled iced tea or a mainstream breakfast cereal, it creates new public health risks in people who take medication with interaction issues or get better results from closely calibrated dosage levels. I say don’t ban the supplements, but do take measures to ensure that people always know when they’re taking them, especially when there’s a measurable risk of harm associated with one.

    While I’m not surprised to see Mr. Bailey wilfully misrepresent something to make it fit his heroic view of drug companies, I am a little surprised that nobody else bothered to follow the link and see how far off base he is.

    Somebody has the story completely wrong. Is it the Des Moines Register or Ron Bailey?

    Maybe editorial oversight for journalists’ blogs isn’t such a bad idea after all.

  17. I live in Des Moines, and completely missed this article. Shame on me. I have an arthritic Lhaso Apso, and now I may have to move to Missouri – you can even MARRY your pets down there.

    Pardon me, time for my banjo lesson.

  18. Once again, koppelman’s reaction (at least he isn’t knee-jerk about them) doesn’t think things through.

    Some products contain supplements, others do not. Legislating their removal, “at the retail-mixture” level will do nothing to stop people from making the mixture on their own. The end result, in the case of animal feed, will be nil unless it is diffucult for people to buy the supplements. Is the point of the law to make it conveninent for some consumers and not for others?

    It’s more like Iowa is really trying to get Iowans to buy glucosamine from Iowa.

  19. What didn’t I think through? It sounds like the regulations have a specific purpose: namely, protecting animals from unintended and excessive consumption of supplements by keeping them separate from food at the retail product level. Who said it’s intended to stop people from giving supplements to pets or livestock, besides Mr. Bailey and his dittoheads here, none of whom evidently bothered to read the article he’s pointing to?

    Bottles, bags and squeeze-tubes of supplements like glucosamine and chrondroitin are still available as before. It just can’t be sold pre-blended into off-the-shelf food.

    This, or any regulation at all, is an affront to the libertarian creed; I’m well aware of that. But again, characterizing this as a ban on supplements as Mr. Bailey does here is flatly incorrect, as even a cursory read of the article’s first three sentences makes clear.

    As for the Iowa Department of Economic Development newsletter linked directly above, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to read into it. It seems farfetched to think these regs — which don’t do anything to the sales of standalone supplements — were put in place to benefit Cargill’s new glucosamine business when Iowa has plenty of other companies making supplements that they sell to feed and pet food companies, and Cargill itself produces a whole lot more animal feed than it does glucosamine.

  20. Bailey has dittoheads?

  21. hey Jeff!

    “and now I may have to move to Missouri – you can even MARRY your pets down there.

    “Pardon me, time for my banjo lesson.”

    nice. excellent. cool. missouri is, after all, the “show me yours and i’ll show you mine” state… wasn’t that prez clinton’s favorite state???

    cheers and happy thursday,


  23. EMAIL:

    DATE: 12/10/2003 07:36:07
    God had some serious quality-control problems.

  24. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/20/2003 10:48:55
    I criticize by creation — not by finding fault.

  25. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/09/2004 07:17:49
    My father never raised his hand to any one of his children, except in self-defense.

  26. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/19/2004 04:58:36
    I dont know what to say, but i likeed it.

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