What is Copper Storage Disease?

Copper Storage Disease in dogs is a condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of chelated copper in the animal’s liver. This leads to progressive damage and scarring of the liver. Excessive and prolonged exposure over time leads to cirrhosis and possible death.

Copper Storage Disease (CSD) is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Studies and research have proven this increase in CSD can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.

The science behind the story.

Scientists from around the country are researching Copper Storage Disease. Watch this short video on what a team from the Michigan State University – College of Veterinary Medicine discovered through their years of research.

Natural Copper
Natural Dietary Mineral

Natural copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral. It can be found in its natural form in many plant and animal products. It is absorbed in the gut, transported to the liver and then distributed through the bloodstream. Excess natural copper is easily eliminated from the body when not needed.

Chelated Copper
Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate – Man-made Coppers

Chelated copper and copper sulfate are man-made. It is a molecular complex that consists of elemental copper combined with amino acid glycine. It is absorbed at a much higher rate and is not easily expelled from the dogs liver. Excessive amounts of chelated copper in a dog’s diet over time may become toxic, overwhelming the liver and can lead to progressive damage and scarring (cirrhosis) — in some cases death.

What we discovered about Copper Storage Disease.

1988

Researchers discover that adding copper sulfate to pig feed makes them grow faster.

The University of Kentucky conducted a study where they added copper sulfate, which is a growth promotant, to pig feed that improved the rate and efficiency of growth and weight gain in weanling pigs. This improved growth rate allowed industrial swine farmers to move pigs to market faster and increased profitability.

Within years, copper sulfate was being added to cows, sheep and even farm-raised fish feeds.

1997

Growth supplement for livestock created a deadly disease for dogs.

In 1997, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) changed the requirements related to copper supplementation in companion animal diets. The requirements state that when “added” to diets, chelated copper or copper sulfate (man-made coppers) must be used. Studies or feeding trials were never conducted prior to this mandate to see what the long-term effects would be on companion animals. Copper Storage Disease was born.

Copper Storage Disease in dogs is a condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of chelated copper in the animal’s liver. This leads to progressive damage and scarring of the liver. Excessive and prolonged exposure over time leads to cirrhosis and possible death. Copper Storage Disease (CSD) is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Studies and research have proven this increase in CSD can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that AAFCO put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide (natural copper) to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.

2014

Copper Storage Disease killed Cookie.

When Cookie became sick and was diagnosed with Copper Storage Disease, it was devastating! As we learned more, we discovered that we were actually contributing to her illness by what we were feeding her—dog food containing chelated coppers. We lost Cookie when she was only six years old.

Our journey to find out more about Copper Storage Disease and the frustrating realization that the main pet food regulatory agency, nor any of the major dog food manufacturers were willing to recognize the disease or make any changes to eliminate the harmful additives being put into their food, forced us to take matters into our own hands. We had no other choice but to create The Scoop Dog Food, a balanced and complete diet that does not contain Chelated Coppers or Copper Sulfate.

2018

Experts confirm Copper Storage Disease is real.

According to scientists at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell University, Copper Storage Disease is being diagnosed at an alarming and increasing frequency. Studies and new research have proven this increase in Copper Storage Disease can be directly related to the mandate by AAFCO in 1997 regarding the change in copper supplementation for dog food.

Watch the video: The Science Behind The Story

Statistics about Copper Storage Disease.

Studies and research have proven the increase in Copper Storage Disease can be directly related to the changes in copper supplementation that the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) put into effect for dog food manufacturers. The decision to change the type of copper added to food from copper oxide to a chelated copper or copper sulfate has increased the copper exposure in many dog foods to alarmingly toxic levels.

Here’s an alarming fact…

We contacted many pet food manufacturers and most had no idea the level of copper in their foods, only that they had added the mandated amount of chelated copper or copper sulfate to their recipe. The additional problem is that many of the recipes are formulated with beef, pork, chicken or fish by-products that were also fed diets supplemented with chelated copper or copper sulfate. So along with the mandated amount of chelated copper or copper sulfate and these by-products, an increasing number of our pets are being exposed to toxic levels of copper.

The challenge for pet owners is there is no way to know how much chelated copper or copper sulfate is in the food you are feeding without sending it into a lab for testing. We initially sent in over twenty-five different dog foods for testing; premium, specialty, dry and wet brands, and the copper levels where alarmingly varied and excessive.

The damage to your dog's liver is devastating!

A healthy dog liver.

A dog liver with Copper Storage Disease.

Here are simple actions you can take
to make a difference:

Stay in-the-know about Copper Storage Disease by joining our newsletter.