Dr. Elsey's Formula Change

sierramist

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Did anyone else notice that Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein dry food recently had an (unannounced) formula change? I just bought a fresh bag of the chicken variety since the beginning of the summer. The dried egg product is out, for instance, with hydrolyzed pork and pork plasma added. Nutritional values changed.

The most recent reviews on Chewy aren't great, either. Yikes. Photo from a review comparing the ingredients is attached.

I was really appreciating this high quality food and was giving it to our four cats as a treat and supplement to their mostly-wet diet, but now I feel unsure. I did open the bag and began "transitioning" them to it by giving a few pieces a day, and they seem to enjoy it with no ill effects yet — but is it still as GOOD for them?
 

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gitabooks

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I think Wysong and Young Again use Hydrolyzed Pork and Pork Plasma too. I think it helps in the process of making high protein, low carbohydrate dry foods. As far as whether it is better or worse, I can't answer that. Changes to formulas always stress me though... especially if my picky cat liked the original version better :lol:
 

woofadu

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That old formula looks amazing and is exactly what I've been looking for in a cat food. It's really a shame that they changed it so significantly.

FYI there was a lab report released this year that showed this food with the new formula had high levels of cyanide: https://cats.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Dr.-Elsey_s-Clean-Protein-Cat-Food-UPDATED.pdf
The lab report comes from an article published this year by cats.com. The high cyanide is not mentioned (except for a blurb about confirming an item in the lab report at the top), and the comments are turned off and hidden: Unbiased Dr. Elsey's Cat Food Review In 2023 - Cats.com

Actually looking into it more, it looks like the formula that was reviewed was neither picture you shared but some sort of in-between formula maybe? It has Pork Protein Isolate but not the other pork products and also contains flaxseed while the original pic you shared does not. I have read somewhere on this forum that the flaxseed might be the culprit for the high levels of cyanide.
 

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That old formula looks amazing and is exactly what I've been looking for in a cat food. It's really a shame that they changed it so significantly.

FYI there was a lab report released this year that showed this food with the new formula had high levels of cyanide: https://cats.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Dr.-Elsey_s-Clean-Protein-Cat-Food-UPDATED.pdf
The lab report comes from an article published this year by cats.com. The high cyanide is not mentioned (except for a blurb about confirming an item in the lab report at the top), and the comments are turned off and hidden: Unbiased Dr. Elsey's Cat Food Review In 2023 - Cats.com

Actually looking into it more, it looks like the formula that was reviewed was neither picture you shared but some sort of in-between formula maybe? It has Pork Protein Isolate but not the other pork products and also contains flaxseed while the original pic you shared does not. I have read somewhere on this forum that the flaxseed might be the culprit for the high levels of cyanide.
Maybe I'm confused but the lab report that you linked to says "analysis completed" 1/10/22, which would be the old recipe. And the review seems to indicate that Cats.com is investigating this lab report. (The whole thing is rather confusing!)

I'm far less concerned about the hydrolyzed pork and pork plasma than about availability. Our pickier cat eats a lot of Dr. Elsey's and it may take some time to transition her to another food if she either hates the new food or if Dr E's food continues to be out of stock.

What a pain in the neck, no matter what! Thank you, sierramist sierramist , for posting.
 

woofadu

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Good catch on the date! I saw so many recent reviews that were saying their cats were getting sick, I just assumed there was a connection with the high cyanide in the lab results. That makes it a little more confusing then.
 
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sierramist

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A little update since this post...

I reached out to Dr. Elsey's asking about the change, and they said "The formula changes were due to ingredient availability and cost. They went with pork plasma due to the nutritional value and palatability. There could be a little stomach upset due to the higher protein, so I would recommend slowly transitioning."

We tried that. I gave literally 1-3 pieces of kibble, then 5-10 pieces of kibble, mixed with the old version, and some days were just fine — but we've seen unusual bouts of vomiting and diarrhea in our four cats since. Definitely an increase in digestive problems, and we haven't changed anything else, so I can only attribute it to the food.

It's really unfortunate. Now it seems that we need to find a new, high-quality, high-protein kibble. Does anyone have suggestions?
 

woofadu

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A little update since this post...

I reached out to Dr. Elsey's asking about the change, and they said "The formula changes were due to ingredient availability and cost. They went with pork plasma due to the nutritional value and palatability. There could be a little stomach upset due to the higher protein, so I would recommend slowly transitioning."

We tried that. I gave literally 1-3 pieces of kibble, then 5-10 pieces of kibble, mixed with the old version, and some days were just fine — but we've seen unusual bouts of vomiting and diarrhea in our four cats since. Definitely an increase in digestive problems, and we haven't changed anything else, so I can only attribute it to the food.

It's really unfortunate. Now it seems that we need to find a new, high-quality, high-protein kibble. Does anyone have suggestions?
That's very unfortunate.
find a new, high-quality, high-protein kibble
This is exactly what I've been looking for and cannot seem to find one that I trust. I've heard horrible things about both Young Again and Wysong EPIGEN 90. Those are the two closest ones to Dr. Eisley's that I've found though.
 
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sierramist

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That's very unfortunate.

This is exactly what I've been looking for and cannot seem to find one that I trust. I've heard horrible things about both Young Again and Wysong EPIGEN 90. Those are the two closest ones to Dr. Eisley's that I've found though.
Right now I'm looking at Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula or Instinct Ultimate Protein. Neither are perfect or come close to the other formula of Dr. Elsey's but at least are at the upper end of protein and lower carbs.
 

gitabooks

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The only kibbles I know of that are below 10% carbs are Wysong Epigen, Young Again, and Dr. Elsey.
However, there are lots that are below 20% carbs:
Annamaet
Dr. Tim's
Farmina N&D (cats LOVE this one)
Go! (cats also love the flavor of this one)
Leonardo
Instinct (a variety)
Nutrience Subzero
Open Farm (some of them)
Orijen (some of them, such as Six Fish)
Ownat
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore
TimberWolf (our senior cats FAVORITE)
Wellness Core

You can also try some of the raw nibs freeze-dried and air-dried foods (they are lower carb and higher protein) sucha as Catit or Ziwi Peak.
 

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I've noticed a change in Dr. Elsey's wet can formula as well. I give my cats the Duck and Turkey flavor and because I had a new batch, I separated the cans by date so we can use the older ones first and found that there was a change. Between the two batches, minimum protein jumped from 7% to 11%, turkey has been replaced by porcine plasma and a few changes in terms of vitamins and ingredients further down the list. I'm not too mad at the change because I like having more protein for my cats, but transitioning them is another problem. I really hope that my cats will like the flavour.

...I just went in and check the Turkey recipe and those too changed the ingredients and I didn't know. That may explain why one of my cats needed some coaxing to eat at one point.
 

lisahe

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I've noticed a change in Dr. Elsey's wet can formula as well. I give my cats the Duck and Turkey flavor and because I had a new batch, I separated the cans by date so we can use the older ones first and found that there was a change. Between the two batches, minimum protein jumped from 7% to 11%, turkey has been replaced by porcine plasma and a few changes in terms of vitamins and ingredients further down the list. I'm not too mad at the change because I like having more protein for my cats, but transitioning them is another problem. I really hope that my cats will like the flavour.

...I just went in and check the Turkey recipe and those too changed the ingredients and I didn't know. That may explain why one of my cats needed some coaxing to eat at one point.
Yes, recipe changes can be a big challenge. Good luck! (I wish they'd take out the agar-agar, which neither of our cats can eat!)
 

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Just ordered a bag to start the transition. I only have 1.5 bags of the old formula left. If it doesn't work out, will try tiki cat.
 

AslanFriend

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Did anyone else notice that Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein dry food recently had an (unannounced) formula change? I just bought a fresh bag of the chicken variety since the beginning of the summer. The dried egg product is out, for instance, with hydrolyzed pork and pork plasma added. Nutritional values changed.

The most recent reviews on Chewy aren't great, either. Yikes. Photo from a review comparing the ingredients is attached.

I was really appreciating this high quality food and was giving it to our four cats as a treat and supplement to their mostly-wet diet, but now I feel unsure. I did open the bag and began "transitioning" them to it by giving a few pieces a day, and they seem to enjoy it with no ill effects yet — but is it still as GOOD for them?
I am concerned about safety. I believe there is a lack of evidence for the claims made about pork plasma in cats. As one example, in the article (Spray-Dried Animal Plasma as a Multifaceted Ingredient in Pet Food ) Table 3 lists references for "intestinal immune function." But look at them: Reference 51 ("primarily piglets"), 52 (rats), 53 (rats), 54 (weaned pigs), 55 (weaned pigs), 56 (weaned pigs). Where is the data from cats?

Where are the long-term studies on cats by researchers not affiliated with the pork plasma industry?

Another study, ("Porcine immunoglobulins survival in the intestinal tract of adult dogs and cats fed dry food kibbles containing spray-dried porcine plasma (SDPP) or porcine immunoglobulin concentrate (PIC)" [2007]: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0377840107000363) said this: " The inclusion of porcine immunoglobulins in the diet significantly reduced (P<0.05) the presence of IgA in the faeces of both species. " It went on to speculate that this was good (that porcine IgG "may transfer passive immunity"). But how can a decrease of IgA be good? Immunoglobulin A in humans helps to increase the presence of good bacteria in the digestive tract and create gut biodiversity. Did I mention this study used 9 dogs and 12 cats? Not 1200. Twelve. Is this ancient study part of what the claim of better immunity is based on? What is amazing is that this study ran less than 2 months - and saw a in decrease in IgA in that brief period of time. Scary.

Or take "Effects of spray-dried animal plasma on food intake and apparent nutrient digestibility by cats when added to a wet pet food recipe" (2016): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377840116301316. It noted, " Results suggest that some biologically active components in SDAP are able to survive the sterilization and canning process." Okay - what about hormones and antibiotics the pigs are given? Are those still present in the processed pig blood? This study's authors had to declare a conflict of interests since they are from the pork plasma industry, which funded the study. How long was this study? Twelve days. How many cats? Eleven. 1,100? No: 11.

I see no data to support the pork industry's claims about cats that Dr. Elsey's is making. Did Dr. Elsey's do any research of their own?


sierramist, IMO, I see no clear evidence that pork plasma does not harm a cat's immune system, much less that cat food with it it is as good. Like you, I appreciated Dr. Elsey's original, high-quality food for years. Now I am looking elsewhere. It has been a frustrating search.

If anyone knows of quality research - long term (a year or more), done by unbiased researchers with an adequate sample size of cats - I would like to see it. If anyone knows of anything as good as what Dr. Elsey's once was, I would love to hear about it. Wysong Epigen 90 has nearly twice the phosphorus level (dry weight). At least some of Young Again has more pork than chicken, and they do not sell packages less than 4 pounds. It shouldn't be this hard to find quality cat food.

Good luck to all of you in finding something instead of Dr. Elsey's. This massive change came without warning.
 
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