Are Prey Model/Raw Diets Low in Manganese (and is there a link to this and the ACL/CCL tear epidemic? And are SFRAW members/feeders at risk?)

Thank you to one of our members, Erika, for asking such a great question regarding manganese in SFRAW foods!  Her question was prompted by reading an article in Animal Wellness Magazine written by Dr. Karen Becker, Manganese deficiency and CCL disease. Erika’s question allowed for me to address this topic as it relates to the products and dietary suggestions we make here at SFRAW specifically. I hope you find our exchange/discussion useful and informative.
Bottom line: I do not think that SFRAW members’ dogs are at high risk for manganese deficiency related illnesses when they feed their animals according to our suggestions – incorporating our Formulas, Vitality Blend (or making their own according to recipes we provide during mentoring sessions/classes), green tripe, whole prey, raw goat or sheep milk, and various supplemental foods such as mussels (best choice), oysters and clams, for example.
Erika Slovikoski asked on Facebook:
Kasie Maxwell is there manganese in the sfraw formulas?
Contrary to popular belief, most cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) problems in dogs don’t arise from acute injuries. A lack of manganese in the diet is a major contributor. Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease in dogs arises all too frequently these days. It’s a…
Kasie Maxwell Yes! Our Vitality Blend, which is included in our Formulas and available sold separately, provides an appropriate and safe level of this important mineral. We incorporate manganese rich ingredients that do not inhibit absorption, are low-glycemic, and we do so without the reliance upon grains, beans, or legumes which are so very problematic. There are additional health problems associated with manganese supplementation; while iron and calcium play roles in absorption, too. Just a small amount is needed, really.
PS: while mineral levels in all foods are dependent on the richness/health and mineral balance of the soil/forage they are raised on, in general, research has showed that goat milk can provide 5.5 µg /100 g manganese. While not a lot, raw goat milk provides far more than pasteurized/heat treated milk and 4x the amount found in cow’s milk.  
PPS: Bone broth is a bit controversial when it comes to being known as a rich source of minerals, including manganese.  So, I wouldn’t rely on bone broth as a source for providing adequate levels of this nutrient.
Unfortunately, research for this on dogs is even more limited than on humans…and we have only limited, imperfect data, so far. The studies, if you look carefully, are flawed…most are short term, small sample sizes….and other factors in play may have provided incomplete or misleading results. It’s something I would like to see more research on.
BUT, if you feed green tripe regularly (and I think that you do – my recommendation is to include it regularly, but at no more than 1/3 of the total diet). You should know that green tripe is a decent, species appropriate, natural source of bio-available manganese. Green tripe provides an estimated 13.21 mg/kg manganese on an ‘as fed’ basis (Monica Segal/K9 Kitchen).
Of course, it is sometimes hard for people to source green tripe living in other places, but we’re lucky to have a regular local source and most/the great majority of SFRAW members include some amount of it in their dogs’ diets/menu planEven SFRAW members don’t feed our Formulas and prefer a more prey model approach, most people incorporate some green tripe, as per our recommendation.
Don’t forget, too, that we have a lot of whole prey options available such as feather/fur-on, completely intact:
  • mice (juvenile white, 13.1 mg/kg; adult white 7.7 mg/kg); “old field” large adult colored, 10.7 mg/kg)
  • chicks (day old 4mg/kg; adult chickens, 10.1 mg/kg)
  • rabbits (adult domestic, 2.4 mg/kg)
  • quail (6.4mg/kg)

…as well as raw rabbit hides, sold in strips or as dried treats. I think these options can also contribute to meeting the need for adequate manganese.


With manganese, a big problem is the inclusion/feeding foods that can block or inhibit absorption of this mineral — so, even if you see/read that grains, etc. are high in this nutrient, that does not mean it translates into being bio-available to our dogs — those foods contain factors/minerals that can dramatically inhibit the absorption of this nutrient, possibly requiring additional supplementation (like you’ll see in kibble or other processed foods). This is true for humans, but even more true/a bigger concern for dogs’ digestive systems (for human nutrition, read more here:
IMO, the biggest risk is for this specific issue (CCL tears) is early spay/neuter…I think that trumps the possible risk of PMR diets lacking in manganese. At least, this is what I have observed with the population of dogs involved with SFRAW since 2003.
The truth is, prior to very recent times (mid-2000s), we just didn’t see torn/ruptured CCLs in dogs anywhere near the numbers seen today. When I worked in veterinary hospitals in the 80s/even the early 90s, ruptured and torn CCLs just wasn’t even a thing – at all. We just never saw this issue, or it was incredibly rare/the risk was more in those few performance dogs that could damage their bodies much like pro-athletes), but we/the shelter system also didn’t s/n like we do now.
Erika Slovikoski yes! My dog happily eats green tripe, fur and feathers thanks to the amazing selection at sf raw thank you so much!
Kasie Maxwell PS — here’s a paper that I have referred to time and again over the years. I think this is a very useful reference for those interested in the nutritional composition of whole prey options: NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF WHOLE VERTEBRATE PREY (EXCLUDING FISH) FED IN ZOOS, May 2002.
Erika Slovikoski also I totally agree about spay / neuter!
Kasie Maxwell You do such a beautiful job providing the best nutrition possible; taking advantage of the many options we have available — dogs in your pack are so fortunate to have you caring for them with so much love, respect, and careful consideration.