Determination of mammalian DNA in commercial canine diets with uncommon and limited ingredients

Lara A. Fossati, Jennifer A Larsen, Cecilia Villaverde, Andrea J Fascetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Over-the-counter (OTC) limited ingredient canine diets could be reliable alternatives to veterinary therapeutic formulations for the diagnosis and management of adverse food reaction (AFR). However, the possibility of undeclared ingredients jeopardizes the efficacious use of OTC options for medical purposes. The objective was to determine the presence of undeclared ingredients in OTC canine dry diets marketed as limited or single protein source diets. Twenty-one OTC adult canine diets marketed as limited or single protein source diets were purchased. Multiplex PCR was used to screen for DNA of 10 mammalian species with species-specific primers that anneal to regions of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The presence of DNA from one or more species not declared on the label was identified in all 21 diets: cow (Bos taurus), pig (Sus scrofa), sheep (Ovis sp.), goat (Capra hircus) and bison (Bison bison). Twenty diets were positive for the declared protein source and one diet was negative for the declared species. Cat (Felis catus), dog (Canis sp.), horse (Equus sp.), mouse (Mus musculus) and rat (Rattus norvegicus) DNA was not identified in any samples. The presence of undeclared mammal species in OTC canine dry diets marketed as having limited or single protein source ingredients may complicate AFR diagnosis and treatment. However, PCR can detect a miniscule amount of DNA which might not be clinically significant, because the amount needed to elicit a response is unknown. Quantification of the contamination was not determined in this study, precluding discrimination of intentional adulteration from unavoidable cross-contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Medicine and Science
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • adverse food reaction
  • canine
  • limited ingredient
  • novel
  • PCR analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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