Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pet food recall has owners worried

Lecompton cat likely affected by poisoning

March 21, 2007

Advertisement

A rural Lecompton couple hope intravenous treatments will help revive their pet cat, Patches, who recently fell ill. They suspect Patches became sick after eating canned cat food that has since been recalled.

"She was in to see the vet about a month ago for some vaccinations and seemed just fine, but she stopped eating," said Charles Bloss, who owns the cat with his wife, Beth.

Charles Bloss of Lecompton displays a photograph of his cat, Patches, who fell ill after consuming cat food that later was included in a national recall.

Charles Bloss of Lecompton displays a photograph of his cat, Patches, who fell ill after consuming cat food that later was included in a national recall.

Now, Patches is in a Topeka animal hospital receiving intravenous treatments after suffering kidney failure, Bloss said. The Blosses think the cat became sick from eating Special Kitty - a brand of food they buy at Wal-Mart.

Lawrence resident Bryan Stancliffe, a veterinarian at North Topeka Animal Hospital where the cat has been treated since Sunday, said the prognosis wasn't good but he remained hopeful.

"We're crossing our fingers," he said.

Special Kitty is among the 42 brands of cat food and 53 brands of dog food being recalled because they are suspected of poisoning pets. The food was sold throughout North America under store brands carried by Wal-Mart, Kroger stores and other large retailers, as well as private labels like Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba.

Ontario,Canada-based Menu Foods - maker of the wet-style pet food - told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration it received the first complaints of kidney failure in pets on Feb. 20. The recall of 50 million cans of cat and dog food began Friday.

The FDA has sent inspectors to a company plant in Emporia, which received shipments of wheat gluten that has been identified as a likely source of contamination, said Stephen F. Sundlof, the FDA's chief veterinarian.

Inspectors have also been sent to a company plant in New Jersey.

The FDA has yet to tally how many reports it has received of cats and dogs suffering from kidney failure or death. As of Tuesday, 10 deaths - nine cats and one dog - were reported.

The Blosses are hoping Patches doesn't become one of the statistics and have spent $700 so far on treatment.

"We don't have any children, so these pets are just like our children," Charles Bloss said.

The Blosses also have a Labrador retriever and another cat that didn't like the food that made Patches sick, Charles Bloss said.

At the Lawrence Humane Society, 60 cans of recalled food were thrown out, executive director Midge Grinstead said. The shelter was able to buy some replacements with a gift certificate but is asking for donations of Science Diet canned foods.

"The sad thing is we used canned food for sick animals," Grinstead said. "We make a milkshake that they eat really well when they are sick. If we were using that food it could contribute to their poor health. It just makes us crazy."

The Wal-Mart store in Lawrence removed the recalled pet food immediately, store co-manager Bob Catlin said. An inventory was being taken Tuesday and he wasn't sure how much was removed.

"Once the company finds something out, they shoot it down to us immediately," Catlin said. "If somebody brings something back, we take it, no questions asked."

Lawrence Animal Hospital, 3210 Clinton Parkway, has received numerous calls from people asking about the dangers their pets may face, hospital receptionist Jeryl Crane said. The hospital does not sell the contaminated food and so far has not diagnosed any pets with problems linked to the recalled brands, she said.

Stancliffe advises pet owners to be attentive to signs of sickness in their dogs and cats.

"If they have any suspicions that they are not acting normal, they should get them checked," he said.

- The Associated Press contributed information to this story.

Comments

Katie Van Blaricum 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry to say this, but perhaps you shouldnt have been feeding your cats the Wal-Mart brand of food. I pay $20 for a little bag of cat food, and I'm sure glad I do. My cats ARE my children, and they get nothing but the best.

tolawdjk 8 years, 4 months ago

Aparently you have not been following the story then. Yes, its been sold at WalMart, but its not just Walmart brand. Eukanuba and Iams are also in this recall. It's the same stuff, just a different label.

But you know, if you want to stay up on your high $20 a bag horse, by all means do. It doesn't make your pets any safer if the raw ingredients were contaminated.

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

Tolawdjk is right. It has nothing to do with the brand of catfood/dogfood, just where it's made. There are over 50 brands on the dog food list. I am glad I feed my dogs dry dog food. Their brand is on the list, but it doesn't affect the dry dog food.

trvlronda 8 years, 4 months ago

Aquakej...unless you grow the food for your pet, this can happen to YOUR pet children. The recall covers over 40 brands of food, generatic to name brand, and is a microcosm of the problems with our entire food supply. We reply on companies to give us nutrious and safe food products but they are motivated only by their profit line. Safety procedures and high quality wholesome ingredients deplete the profit margin. So, how safe is the food for fido, or for you? Good Luck and Bon Appetite.

Aaron Gaddis 8 years, 4 months ago

Aquakej, you can keep paying 15 dollars for shinny packaging but the fact is the ingredients remain the same. Educate yourself a little before commenting please.

SloMo 8 years, 4 months ago

There are brands of pet food that do not contain corn or grains, or at least list them way down low on the list of ingredients. This is especially important for cats, for whom grains are not a large part of their natural diets.

It is also important for dogs, who shouldn't be getting nearly the amount of corn or grains that are in most pet foods.

And, these foods are pretty expensive (but well worth it).

I think aquakej's point is, feed your pets the absolute best foods you can afford.

Of course, not everyone can afford to, and these people should not be deprived of the joys of having pets.

Personally, I think it's better to make your pet's food yourself than to feed the "grocery store" or "department store" foods. But of course, you need to do a little reading up on dogs' or cats' dietary needs before you do so.

Katie Van Blaricum 8 years, 4 months ago

no, the ingredients dont remain the same. My cat food is not made with fillers or grain. It is 100% human-grade meat. The contamination here is wheat germ, and what business do cats have eating wheat?? I realize that even human-grade food gets contaminated, however I think the chances of that are significantly reduced.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

I would guess you've never seen a cat or dog beg for and eat crackers or potato chips, if you give them the chance. They may not be part of what you consider their "natural" diet, but they love them anyway.

Even if you feed your pets food that contains no grains at all, if you buy processed food at all, you could someday be in the same boat. It may not always be the ingredients involved, but the production process itself.

My cat is on prescription cat food, Hill's Science Diet, and even though this cat food is expensive, it's on the list, too. Fortunately, the recall only affects canned and pouched foods, and my cat eats the dry. If the recall had included dry food as well, I would have been very upset. My cat is on this special food to begin with because he already has urinary tract problems.

And by the way...the man in the article fed his cat Special Kitty. Though Wal-Mart sells this brand, it is not a Wal-Mart brand.

I suppose all those people who ate salads with lettuce and spinach thought they were special, too, because they were eating healthy. Look where it got them.

How dare you look down your nose at people who have to buy cheaper brands of pet food.

It doesn't matter how much the pet food costs. The FDA should still make sure it's all SAFE, regardless of cost.

wildcat86 8 years, 4 months ago

seriously people, there are veterinarians for a reason so their advice for your pet's nutritional needs is a whole lot better then reading it on websites. quite frankly, pet food manufactures design the labels and bags to appeal to you the owner and not your pet; your pet could care less of what brand they're eating. cats are carnivores, yes, but there is an amino acid in cat food that needs to be there that dogs do not need in their system. this is called taurine and it is a form of methionine which can be toxic to dogs. dogs are carnivores in a sense but don't need this amino acid so meat products aren't always important to a dog's nutritional stance. grains are used more often in pet food because there are some nutritional needs in grains that can't be found in animal products so the maufacturer is forced to find something else to use such as grains to make up for the missing nutritional needs that can't be found in animal products. it has to do with finding nutritional needs and not having the lack of money to make the pet food.

and maybe some of you out there are thinking that i've said some pretty stupid stuff in the past, but this is factual stuff that i'm saying. it's called getting an education from one of the top 10 veterinary schools in the nation. your veterinarian is there for a reason so i would suggest listening to what they have to say.

SloMo 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, food contaminations can happen anywhere at any time, but I do believe it's more likely to affect you if you buy from the large-scale operations, as has been shown by the Jack-in-the-Box scare, the spinach contamination, etc. etc. And this latest pet food recall so far anyway fits the pattern. I just don't see these things happening to small-scale production operations, unless it happens and doesn't make the news somehow?

I think Marion has the best idea - educate ourselves about our nutritional needs and make our own meals, for ourselves and our animals, as much as possible.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

As some of you have already touched on, you have to look at the ingredients for any pet food to see whether it's good for your pet. Shiney packaging or the fact that the vet says it's good doesn't mean it is. Science Diet is actually the biggest load of crapola. It's main ingredients are corn, corn gluten meal (which is like husks & stuff) and meat by-products. Cats are carnivores, and dogs are too to a lesser extent. They should not be eating corn. Nor should they be eating any form of wheat or wheat gluten. Corn & wheat are both used b/c they're cheap and both are prone to toxins (fungi) such as what they suspect is causing the current problems.

Personally I won't trust any foods made at the MenuFoods plant until they say for sure what's causing the problems!

Crazyks- I hate to tell you, that dry urinary tract health food is not the best thing for your cat. Cats have urinary tract problems a lot in part because they do not get enough moisture. Eating wet food helps resolve this problem.

If you want to know more about what's really good for your cat please read here: http://www.catinfo.org/

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Urinary tract health doesn't have nearly as much to do with whether the food is dry or wet, as in what ingredients it has. Even a cat fed only canned food can have problems.

In the case of my cat, it is because he's more prone to the formation of stones, which cats, especially male cats, cannot always pass. This causes a dangerous infection.

And the build-up of stones is due to the ingredients in the cat food, not moisture content. Same as the formation of kidney stones in people.

My cat used to be on a combination of dry and canned food, but a cheaper brand. He was having problems all the time. Since he was changed to the prescription dry food, he has had no problems with it at all.

kansasnative 8 years, 4 months ago

Here is the link for the recall so you don't have to search.

www.menufoods.com/recall.

Call me a bad pet owner by some standards I have read on this forum but I consider myself a loving "parent" to my pets. I have always served canned Special Kitty to my cat (labels don't differ much at all from other brands honestly). She is over 12 years old now and very happy, healthy and energetic so I must be doing something right. I see her food is not in the recall, for that I am thankful.

My heart goes out to those pets and parents that are effected by this.

First Peanut Butter - now pet food - what next!

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

Crazyks- Actually, sometimes people get kidney stones b/c they don't drink enough water to wash the minerals out of their system, and they build up. Just like the crystals/stones in a cats bladder. (My brother had kidney stones b/c of this, and my cat had crystals, so I'm basing this on real experience.)

In cats it has to do with the pH of the cats urine, the phosporous content of the food, etc. There is a good article here:http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1372&articleid=2729 It does list water intake as a key factor.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

Crazyks- Actually, sometimes people get kidney stones b/c they don't drink enough water to wash the minerals out of their system, and they build up. Just like the crystals/stones in a cats bladder. (My brother had kidney stones b/c of this, and my cat had crystals, so I'm basing this on real experience.)

In cats it has to do with the pH of the cats urine, the phosporous content of the food, etc. There is a good article here: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1372&articleid=2729 It does list water intake as a key factor.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

My cat has no problem with water intake, believe me!

You'll laugh, but he has his own water glass...it used to be mine, but I was sitting on the floor one day and had the water next to me, and he just started drinking from it. I let him have it. Before that, I had trouble getting him to drink, as he didn't like drinking from a regular cat water dish. He loves the glass (a plastic one), and drinks quite a bit every day.

I know people are trying to be helpful, but I would rather trust my vet than some website. He knows what he's doing. My cat was so sick at one time that he was passing blood, but the vet pulled him through. And since that time, he has not had any problems at all with stones.

The only other thing my cat eats is Friskies moist nibbles, hairball remedy. He loves them, and they DO help with the hairballs. I also brush him daily. These were approved by the vet. I also checked to make sure that they weren't on the recall list, since they come in a pouch.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually my cat (now passed away) had his own drinking glass too... and he had diabetes, from eating dry cat food. But that's a whole different story.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

I had a cat once that had diabetes, too...and he ate nothing but canned food...so you can never tell.

All cats are different, just as people are.

amyc 8 years, 4 months ago

Several issues surrounding this recall appall me.

1, Published lists in major news outlets the first few days of this recall did not include the so-called premium brands which are in fact manufactured at the same facility and are in fact being recalled by their in-name-only manufacturers. Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba, Nutro, and Purina products are on the inclusive list one can find only on websites. How did they escape the initial publicity?

2, I used Science Diet and Nutro products, including the specific recalled ones, for many years. I believed (like "aquakej") I was feeding my pets a high grade product.

3, Trusted pet professionals remain loyal to these marketers in spite of this debacle, as quoted in this article.

We are told relatively few animals became suddenly ill in this case: how many decline gradually due to unchecked issues with their daily ration?

The pet food giants emphasize that only certain of their products are being recalled, and only voluntarily. The fact is, their practices have been exposed.

Having worked in the natural (human) food industry, I consider myself savvy about label reading and ingredient quality. I know label language can be manipulated to make products appear to be of higher quality than the reality.

We've been conned, folks.

The recalled products, from WalMart's to Hill's, are made with the same ingredients at the same facility under the same standards. Do you honestly believe that other varieties, wet and dry, sold under the giants' labels are any different?

Pure products much closer to natural diets are readily available. They are more expensive by the pound but in practice lack of fillers, high quality ingredients, and high nutrient content result in more efficient digestion and lower feeding cost. Factor in reduced medical bills. Factor in happier pets: you can't put a value on that.

Check out choices available at the local natural pet supply market, natural food grocery, and local feed store. Read about your pet's natural diet and options for homemade and semi-homemade foods. Check the research behind these options. As for cost, do the numbers.

Give yourself and your pets a gift of six (or three, or two) months on a pure, more natural diet. Keep track of the cost, and compare the six month cost of your current pet food. Note any differences in your pet's health and behavior. Make a decision, then, about whether to go back to "cheaper" foods.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

The first day of the recalls included "store brands" only, because those brands were subjected to a mandatory recall. Hills, Iams, and Eukanuba were allowed to do a voluntary recall, which stinks to high heaven IMHO.

lynnd 8 years, 4 months ago

science diet is not manufactured by menufoods, it's manufactured by hill's. that's why they weren't included on the recall list released by menufoods. my understanding is that hills is voluntarily recalling certain products as a precautionary measure due to the menufoods recall.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually, some Science Diet products are on the recall list and are in fact manufactured by MenuFoods.

Aflotoxin has not been proven to be the problem.

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

If my cats are thirsty and their water dish is empty, then they will look drink from the dogs' dish (who drank the cats due to convenience), the water in the bottom of the shower, a glass on the cabinet, or the occasional drippy faucet.
The cats are have occasional problems with hairballs, and the hairball food helps, but doesn't completely cure it. It could be the dog food I have caught them eating from time to time.

marxisnotdead 8 years, 4 months ago

Another wonderful experience brought to you by large-scale industrial food producers and large-scale industrial agriculture. When will we "wake-up" and smell the large-scale industrial coffee?

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 4 months ago

I want to thank all of you. I have learned a lot from reading these comments today. Thank you, Lynn

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 4 months ago

Sorry I forgot to ask. If anyone knows a lawyer that handles animal health cases on a percentage basis please e mail me at: Lynn731@yahoo.com. I prefer a lawyer that specializes in animal health cases. Our cat is ill, and she has been eating Walmart's Special Kitty in a pouch for a long time. This could be related to her illness as the food is on the recall list. Thank You, Lynn

lynnd 8 years, 4 months ago

oops, sorry, you're right dulcinea. i had only looked at the dog food list as i don't have cats.

ECM 8 years, 4 months ago

Wow lots of self proclaimed experts relaying completely incorrect information. Before you act on any of the "advice" you have just read I would strongly encourage you to talk to your veterinarian.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 4 months ago

I bought some of the recalled food back at the Lawrence PetCo in December. I feed it to my cat and she immediately became sick. It was IAMS food, name brand stuff. I kept the other cans and packets of it and just checked to see if they matched up last night and they did. My boyfriend's mom's cat also had some of the recalled Science Diet stuff, but wouldn't eat it when she had tried to feed it to her. It's scary stuff, but I don't really know what to do short of hope it doesn't happen again and be thankful my pets are okay.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and I purchased the food on December 6, 2006 (the receipt was still in the bag.) It was produced from December 3 to I believe February or March at an Emporia, KS plant, so it's definately possible it could've traveled to Lawrence in 3 days. Also, 4197 is the number on the barcode (according to the menufoods site) that is for the Emporia, KS plant. That was on the packets I had in addition to the recall numbers. So please be careful if you purchased food in the area!

Bladerunner 8 years, 4 months ago

Cycle 5 ......for dead dogs. I think it was an old SNL skit.

Dixie Jones 8 years, 4 months ago

does anyone know how patches is doing today??

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Okay, guys, tell me if I have reason to worry...

I just opened the new bag of Science Diet Prescription c/d last night, and this morning my cat is vomiting.

I know they didn't list any dry foods in the recall...but I'm worried.

Emily Hadley 8 years, 4 months ago

Rat poison. Odd, the report now says that "at least" 16 animals died.

The company is obviously not including the "at least" seven animals that they killed by forcing them to ingest the poisoned food in laboratory cages after the initial reports, in addition to the "at least" 15 cats and "at least" one dog who ate purchased food.

They could have just done lab tests ON THE PRODUCT as they would with human food; forcing 50 cats and dogs to eat the poisoned food was not necessary.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/03/23/rodent_poison_found_in_pet_food/

Again, low quality food produced by an irresponsible company more concerned with profits than the consumers of its products.

I see that the number of brands in the recall has now increased as well. There are now NINETY-FIVE brands listed at http://www.menufoods.com/recall/index.html That is strange, considering that the food has been identified as deadly for over a month. Not a good sign for quality control.

Again, the food was identified as deadly at least a month ago, yet the company did not recall the food.

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/22/menufoods-knew-products-were-deadly-and-shipped-them-out-anyway/

I guess the key phrase here is "at least".

We can count on seeing, at least, a class action suit against menu foods.

TheEleventhStephanie 8 years, 4 months ago

Crazy KS, I think it would be worth it to take your cat to the vet. I'm worried about the dry Iams that my dogs eat and I'm considering just feeding them chicken and rice or something until this gets straightened out.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Just got back from the vet...they said he's very healthy, and they tested his kidneys, and no problem yet...they're functioning normally...

But they said to keep him off the food and water all day today (not an easy task with MY cat!), and then try him on a little of the food tonight.

Well, as soon as I opened the kitty cage when we got back, he ran in and ate some more before I could get it put away...and he immediately vomited again...

Poor little thing...he's hungry, and I don't know what to do...

My cat has never been one who will stop eating when he's sick, even if it's vomiting...

If it's the pet food, they need to find out right away...if it's not the pet food, they need to find out what it IS.

I suspect the food, however, because he was perfectly fine until he ate some of the new bag...

Now I have to keep a close eye on him...

TheEleventhStephanie 8 years, 4 months ago

CrazyKS, I really hope this turns out ok for you and your cat. I hope it's just a stomach bug and not the food.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

He's a totally indoor cat, Marion...I could bring some grass in to him, but honestly, he's been sick so many times today that I hesitate to do that.

The vet gave him something for vomiting, and that didn't even seem to help.

They wanted me to withhold water from him, too, and I know his tummy was upset, but that didn't even make sense to me, since vomiting can cause dehydration. And dehydration in a cat can progress so rapidly.

He's settled down now...I still had a little bit of the food from the old bag, and tried to give him that. He ate some of it, and it stayed down...so I'm still suspecting the new bag of food.

I'm going to call tomorrow and see what they think about the new developments. As for no dry foods being listed in the recall...well, that doesn't make me feel any more secure. I've seen many a time when a recall started out with a few particular brands, or types of things, and then later was expanded to include others.

I'm mainly worried because he's not a sickly cat at all; I don't recall a time when he's been vomiting all the time or appeared to have the flu or a cold. He just rarely gets sick at all. I've had him since he was a tiny kitten, and he's 8 now. So they were really pleased that his kidney function (so far) is excellent for a cat his age.

Does anyone know of any place that will do testing on samples of pet food or anything, to see if there are any toxins in it?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

My kitty is fine this morning...no more vomiting.

He isn't eating much yet, but he had some of the new food overnight, and nothing yet.

The vet decided that, for whatever reason, he was just reacting to that bag of food, so today they traded it for a new bag with a different batch number.

We'll see how it goes...at least they have emergency care after hours, if he needs it.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

What threw me, Marion, is that he's never been a sickly cat...never, and I've had him since he was a tiny kitten.

Even when he had the bladder infection and stones, I didn't even know he was sick until he passed blood...he never stopped eating through the whole thing! And he had to go through two rounds of different antibiotics to clear that up.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

crazyks, glad your cat is better. hope your vet tests and checks on that bag of food. "reacting" to that bag of food sounds a little goofy to me.

good luck.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 4 months ago

Quality control being what it is, I supposed a few bags may have had a different level of ingredients or something...I don't know.

But it sounds pretty goofy to me, too, considering he's been on the same stuff for four years, and nothing like this ever happened before.

All I know is I'm glad I'm rid of it...and oh, yeah, I wrote down the batch number on it, and I still have a ziplock of it here at home. If need be...

kcwarpony 8 years, 3 months ago

I just came across this today. Posted Tuesday.

Menu Foods CFO sold shares before pet food recall

"TORONTO (Reuters) - The chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund sold nearly half his units in the pet food maker less than three weeks before it announced a massive product recall, according to insider trading reports."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070410/wl_canada_nm/canada_menufoods_cfo_col

Linda Endicott 8 years, 3 months ago

I heard on the news a couple days ago that now the FDA is concerned that the contaminated wheat gluten might be in the human food supply.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.