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Have you been affected by the recent pet food recall?

Asked at Petco, 3115 Iowa on March 21, 2007

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Photo of Laura Jones

“Absolutely. I just picked my cat up from the vet. She was sick, so they checked her kidney functions and they were fine. I checked the product code on the Web site and they matched, so I’m going to send it back.”

Photo of Austin Black

“No, not me. I only feed my dog dry food.”

Photo of Donita DeMersseman

“Yeah, that’s why I’m here. The particular type of food wasn’t on the list, but the brand was. I just want to get a different brand until they know what’s causing it.”

Photo of Ed Treaster

“I was. I had three boxes of Ol’ Roy, so I checked on the Internet. It was on the list, so I went ahead and boxed it up. My dogs have been fine, though.”

Comments

Linda Aikins 8 years, 5 months ago

I have no pets, but hope those of you who do don't have to go through this kidney failure. How very sad to lose your pet this way.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

Ummm...isn't that what I said before? That all the cats I've had preferred the wet food, and I had difficulty getting them to eat the dry?

I mentioned this because one of the websites you listed said that it's the other way around...which I've never found to be true in the least.

It also claimed that cats that are on dry food are always extremely dehydrated. I find this false and misleading. My cat is NOT dehydrated. Most cats only get dehydrated when they're sick...usually because they'll stop eating and drinking when they're sick.

There's a very easy test that anyone can do to see if an animal is dehydrated: just take a fold of skin and gently pull on it. If it bounces back to the animal right away, no dehydration. If it takes awhile, you'd better be seeing the vet NOW.

Actually, the same test will work on humans, too.

Oh, Marion...I think dogs and cats both only eat poop for one simple reason...because they can.

ohjayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Luckily the food we use for our two dogs was not on the list. We even went so far to check the ingredients and found that it had corn gluten in it, and not wheat gluten. So, we were quite relieved.

paladin 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes indeed! I'll be eating only the dry food for awhile. It'll be pretty hard, ha ha, cause my favorite canned food is mighty tasty.

sourpuss 8 years, 5 months ago

My two cats are very upset by the recall because they can't have their wet food and have been kept on dry. I didn't find any recalled product in my house, but as it's been in the commercial pipeline for a bit, I don't know if prior food I've fed them was recalled. I've been watching them and they seem fine, but it is definitely a worry, especially since cats are more affected. It makes me mad because we as consumers trust companies to manufacture safe products. Imagine the uproar if baby food was causing kidney failure in babies! I hope the problem is discovered for certain so that this does not happen again.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Sourpuss- you can still feed your cats wet food, go up to the Natural Pet Supply store on 6th street. They carry lots of brands that aren't made with wheat gluten. Wet food is SO much better for cats. I hate that this is happening, the company doesn't know why and isn't being forthright about what they do know!

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

Cats are not by nature corn or grain eaters, so I look for cat foods that don't contain these, or at least have them way down low on the list of ingredients. My babies and I have been very pleased with Prairie, Merrick, and Solid Gold, both kibble and canned varieties. Yes, they're more expensive than "grocery-store" foods, but I figure good health starts with a good diet. Plus, I don't have to feed as much, and the cats don't seem to feel deprived any by having their food rationed - it seems to be filling enough for them.

Ceallach 8 years, 5 months ago

No, my dog and cats eat dry food.

dulcinea, why is wet food SO much better for cats?

SloMo, where do you find those brands?

Katie Van Blaricum 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes, my cats have been put on a grain-free diet anyways, which is better for them (cats don't eat corn in the wild). Go to Natural Pet Food or Pawsh Wash and get high-quality cat food with no fillers.

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

One reason why canned foods are better for cats than dry is that cats are evolved (hope I can use that word here!) to get most of their water from their food. They're not designed very well for lapping water.

However, most cats really like kibble. I tried to switch my cats to canned-food-only, but I gave up on that.

Here's a good article: http://www.catinfo.org/

Ceallach, I shop at the Natural Pet Food and Supply store on 6th street.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

My vet has always told me that dry food is better, too. For one thing, in the process of chewing the dry, they get their teeth cleaned, too.

And he said they tend to have fewer weight problems with dry.

ms_canada 8 years, 5 months ago

My little darling eats only dry cat food and has done all her life (10 yrs). and she is very healthy. But my Camille, who I lost 2 years ago at age 20 ate nothing but canned. I could not get her onto dry, which I believe is best. No problems with pet food up here in the North Country. But we did have more snow yesterday and it is wickedly cold. We are totally sick of this winter, totally sick, I say.

Janet Lowther 8 years, 5 months ago

I had a case of Shep dog food, which I had been using for treats. Fortunately it was made well before the suspect batches. In any case he only gets a can or two a week, not a steady diet of it.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 5 months ago

I had a guy once try to get me to eat Little Friskies - thought it would help with the libido.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

As for the "dry food cleans their teeth" argument: Do pretzels clean your teeth?
Also, the health benefits of wet food far outweigh any teeth-cleaning that gets done by dry food. Cats and dogs don't even really chew their food, they're designed to rip chunks off their prey and gobble it down. They don't have flat molars for chewing grains like we do.

SloMo linked to an excellent resource as to why cats need wet food.

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

Not any problems. Our pets eat dry food,(Iams - one of the brands recommended by a vet) although they would probably eat any food put in front of them. Yes, they are only pets, but it would be sad if anything happened to them.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Bob, just so you know, vets take one course on animal nutrition, that covers all animals large and small. Not really an extensive education. Plus, most of the courses are sponsored by Hills (Science Diet) and if they sell Hills products at their office they make a huge profit off that. Take the vets recommendations with a grain of salt.

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

Probably the best sources of information would be professional journals (ask your vet to copy articles for you) and, for cats, the Cornell Book of Cats.

By the way, if you look closely, that article I linked to above references some professional vet-med publications. And I didn't randomly google it. I was steered to it by my vet.

I hope I don't appear to be telling anyone what to feed their pets - I really just want to offer some info that I think some people will be interested in.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I do view my own medical doctor in the same light.

What I'm saying is, science diet does not have high quality ingredients. Look it up. Tell me what ingredient in a bag of science diet dry food is "high quality".

Here's the curriculum for KState's vet school. Spot the one nutrition course. http://www.vet.ksu.edu/admit/program.htm

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Slomo, do you mind me asking, who is your vet? I like the fact that he/she recommended that site to you.

Bob, LOL, they will probably be fine in the basement as long as that's not where you're keeping the tainted cat food.

Bone777 8 years, 5 months ago

Tainted food? Only the best for my dog. Iams or nothin.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

A little more on the topic of "you can find a website to back up whatever point of view you have". True, but some make sense and some don't. Cat & dogs eating meat makes a lot more sense than cats & dogs eating corn.

Kat Christian 8 years, 5 months ago

does anyone know if Friskey's can food was affected?

Jace 8 years, 5 months ago

I only feed my pets dry dog food.

Canned pet food gives my pets bad breath!

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

My babies go to the great folks at Animal Hospital. I really like all three of the vets on the staff there (William Bayouth, Marsha Heeb and Matthew Coles). I don't remember which one it was who recommended this reading to me. I'm never particular about who I see, because I regard them all as equally good.

Bob- I understand - kind of like finding quotes in the Bible!

sgtwolverine 8 years, 5 months ago

Nope. Dry food here for the cats. And they supplement their diet with their choice of wild appetizers every now and again.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

SloMo, that's where I go too. I usually see Dr Heeb as Dr Bayouth once told me that buying canned food is "just paying for extra water." Um, wrong. Never seen Dr Coles yet.

Sunshinenoise- Friskies is not listed in the recall. (Not that I trust that all the affected foods are listed, but that's just me being paranoid about how they've handled the whole thing.)

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I remember Dr. B saying that, but he has told me recently that he's changed his mind based on recent studies and articles he's seen.

I don't trust people who never change their minds!

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

They don't know what it was due to. They "suspect" the wheat gluten, b/c grains are susceptible to toxic fungus that would cause the kind of kidney failure that's happening. But they don't know for sure and for some reason it's taking them ages to figure it out.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket. You assume I base my ideas, for instance, on "a cursory look at KSU's online curriculum." That was an example. I don't plan to sit here all day and look up every single vet school's courses and post them. I found you an example of what I'm talking about, how about you go find me an example of a vet school with lots of great nutrition courses?

You've also neglected to tell me what all the fine quality ingredients are in Science Diet.

Not all vets are "in science diet's pocket" and I don't hate all vets. Sorry if you got that impression. However I do think that the food that they commonly recommend is a mcdonald's cheeseburger touted as prime rib.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 5 months ago

R_I: animal. Our cats like to make use of their teeth and claws. Typically just small stuff -- chipmunks, squirrels, small birds, whatever.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Funny how I get attacked for not having copious evidence of what I'm saying, but when I ask for the same it's "nonsensical".

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Bob, I lurk around here enough to know that some posters like to be inflammatory. ;)

Anyway, my point was supposed to be, grain has no business in wet pet food, and if there wasn't, this whole thing could have been avoided.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Raw chicken necks are good for the teeth of cats and dogs who are too small to handle beef bones.

sourpuss 8 years, 5 months ago

I have a cat with digestive issues and only a certain food keeps her regular. I have even tried "better" more expensive foods that cause her great upset. I guess people can tut-tut me for not giving her the "best" but if she can't digest it, she can't. The food she can handle happens to be a mid-range. Even "organic, non-gluetin" foods upset her system.

As for wet food, I have the same problem with it. Only the Iams gravy packs don't upset her, so I give my cats a couple of packs a week (and they mostly just lick up the gravy and leave the "meat" anyway) as a treat.

As for cats not eating grains, boy you guys haven't met my cats. They LOVE grain, especially grass seeds of any type from those tiny seeds on "fairy grass" to wheat. They are more keen on the seeds than on the grass itself, though they do like the grass. Since my cats are indoor cats (though they are leash trained so they take outdoor walks sometimes) I bring grass in for them and they love it, especially if there are seeds. They simply scrape up the stalk of grass with their little front teeth and strip off all of the seeds rather systematically. They then reject the stalk. It is true though, I couldn't see them enjoying corn, but then again, corn is a human hybrid plant like rice - it does not occur naturally.

As for the corn problem... everything eats too much corn. Cows don't eat corn, naturally, but we feed it to them to get them fat for eating. In fact, corn is in almost everything Americans consume, even Coca-Cola, due to the widespread use of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yep, those corn people have their tentacles everywhere.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

75x55, I'm not 100% sure how you'd define "grain-based product." For all I know you could be thinking that a chicken is a grain based product b/c it eats grain.

Sourpuss, I am so with you on what I call the "corn conspiracy". It's cheap & widely available, and therefore in everything.

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

The argument is that grain is not a large part of a cat's natural diet, and should therefore be far down on the ingredients list. Personally, I don't think corn should be there at all, but a little bit probably doesn't hurt.

Of course, a "natural" hunting cat will get grains indirectly because that is what their prey has eaten. Plus, cats do nibble on grasses.

Ceallach 8 years, 5 months ago

SloMo, thanks for the referral and the website. I'll check that store out. Maybe I will find something natural that will help my "psycho" cat calm down.

Although some might say I should take my own advice :) don't let posters ruffle your feathers. I strongly suspect that some feel compelled to play devil's advocate (oh-oh, can I say devil without being branded a member of the christotaliban?). Oh well, c'est la vie. Oh no, now I sound like a wanta be european liberal. There's no end to the possibilities of insulting slurs around here :)

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

My vet recommended several dry foods for my dogs. And I believe something was also mentioned about helping keep the placque off the teeth.
But my dogs will eat about anything.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 5 months ago

I knew a cat once that would play fetch with the plastic ring taken off gallon milk jugs.

And I don't know what he ate.

Ceallach 8 years, 5 months ago

One of my cats likes to knock around the plastic caps that cover the spouts on bottled water.

:- yes, I drink bottled water, please restrain from educating me on the purity and worth of the Lawrence water supply. (That would be an exercise in futility.)

kcwarpony 8 years, 5 months ago

Much to my surprise, no.

My cat will be turning 19 years old in June. Two years ago x-rays showed that her kidneys were starting to shrink so kidney failure was already in her future. She would never eat dry food and within the past year and a half started to become very picky about what canned foods she would eat. I got her to eat Wellness canned cat food from Natural Pet Food and Supply store for about six months but she stopped eating that as well. BTW, in case you didn't realize, Natural Pet Food and Supply will only give store credit on returns. I got stuck with a case of Wellness and there isn't any other food they carry that the cat will eat. We're talking about $1.25 a can!

Anyway, about three weeks ago it finally happened, there is not one cat food, brand or type, that she would eat. She was down to eight pounds and vet said to let her eat what she wants to eat, mostly hamburger and turkey, and just make her happy...and be prepared for the end. Now I have a new problem. She has gained two pounds, is acting more like herself, and seems happy. The problem is that I can't get a vitamin in her! I tried grinding it up and putting it in her food but there is no sneaking it passed her! But it's a problem I don't mind having :)

So, with her being so dog done picky, the recalled didn't affect us but it did teach me to lookout for wheat gluten and other fillers. Best wishes to those who were not as lucky.

Does anyone know how to sneak a vitamin pass a cat?

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

Posted by dulcinea47 (anonymous) on March 21, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bob, just so you know, vets take one course on animal nutrition, that covers all animals large and small. Not really an extensive education. Plus, most of the courses are sponsored by Hills (Science Diet) and if they sell Hills products at their office they make a huge profit off that. Take the vets recommendations with a grain of salt

Pywacket, just to be fair, I don't think this means that "veterinarians can't be trusted (because presumably they are making such a bundle from selling DRY Hill's products)" or that "vets are so cynical about the well-being of their patients".

Taking the vets' recommendations (about diets) with a grain of salt is pretty good advice - nutrition really isn't emphasized much in medical school (for DVMs or MDs). We really do need to educate ourselves.

Ceallach - have you tried the pheromone (sp) plug-ins? They don't work on every cat, but on some cats they work miracles!

sunflower_sue 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow! Who knew today's ? would be so debate worthy? But then, I guess we love our pets. My critters get nothing but dry. (Whatever critter they may happen to be.) The cats suppliment their diets with mice, birds (only the really pretty ones), moles, and such. They also like to eat grass. They love wheat grass. The dogs will eat whatever nasty thing they can drag home. Our 90 lb. lab mix (somethingorother) will uproot an entire stalk of sweetcorn, find a nice place to sit, and eat the ears...cobs and all. Freaky dog! Despite the fact that I keep plenty of fresh water out in bowls, the animals all prefer to drink out of the pond or out of a nasty flower pot saucer. The one indoor cat prefers to wait until I get out of the shower and then go in to lick the shower floor. Freaky cat!

Jace 8 years, 5 months ago

It has been my experience that when I used to give my pets canned food.....you could smell their "chicken liver breath" one room away!

And you could smell the cat's "chicken liver pee" about a block away! (And, yes, her kitty litter box was changed often enough, thank you!)

So, anyway, I switched over to dry food....problem solved!

But that's just my experience.

To each his own (as far as pet owner preference goes).

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket, this is probably not the place to cite a bunch of veterinary journals. But please know that everything I said has evidence to back it up. And yes, it's not 100% cut & dried but obviously I have strong beliefs about it.

I have to make one comment about the last thing you said. Adding water to dry food is not the same as wet food. They simply don't have the same ingredients. You're paying for meat (protein) instead of grain. If that's what you want to do you go right ahead, but don't think the two are the same.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

I've had many, many cats during my life, and in my experience, it's much more difficult to get a cat to eat dry food than canned. I have never had a cat that preferred dry to canned.

And I don't think this is because they think it's better for them...they're drawn to it because it tastes good...kind of like someone who loves donuts, even though they know eating that many isn't good for them.

Cats DO eat plants, though. A cat that goes outside will eat grass, clover, wildflowers, etc.

Then again, they will also eat poop and vomit, as do dogs. Does this mean they were originally part of their natural diet?

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Crazyks, I've had the opposite experience. One of my cats wouldn't eat anything but wet food. I agree, they don't know what's good for them and just eat what they like.

Cats do eat plants, but what percentage of their natural diet do you think that is? I don't know, but I couldn't imagine it'd be more than a third and probably less. The rest would be protein- nice juicy birds, rodents, etc.

Crossfire 8 years, 5 months ago

It now costs twice as much to feed the bum under the bridge, but he seems happier.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 5 months ago

Crazyks, sorry, I meant to say most of my cats have preferred dry... they go crazy over it and if given free choice between that and wet, they'd eat mostly dry (and get really fat.

Pywacket, you said: "anyone needing peace of mind that their cats are well hydrated can add after-market water to a quality dry product instead of paying through the nose for the manufacturer to add it for them." Doesn't that suggest that adding water to dry food is the same as wet food? It does to me. But oh wait, I'm a stupid vet hating moron, so whatever.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, that can be pretty gross all right, Marion, but...oh, well. They don't know any better, after all.

I guess a lot of people don't know that human babies have this trait, too. If you leave them alone for one minute with a full diaper...well, you know the rest. And it doesn't mean they're lacking anything nutritionally, either. They will play in and eat mud, too. Doesn't mean they're lacking mud in their diet.

They just think it's FUN!

Perhaps the reason animals do this is territorial...feces has the scent of the other animal, just as urine does, and perhaps they're trying to erase any traces of the other animal in what they consider their territory.

I don't really know, I'm just guessing here!

Animals seem to be able to injest and process germs without making them sick. Probably comes from the days when the species were in the wild. It's not like their food source was refrigerated or anything back then.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

Although I always find it interesting that dogs and cats are able to distinguish thousands of scents, but only a few hundred tastes. Humans are just the opposite.

Maybe they can't even taste the poop. Or it tastes like something totally different to them. Maybe they think they're just rocks.

Oh, and if you're not careful, dogs and cats will also eat coins...just as human babies will. They usually pass through okay, though with a bigger coin it could be a little painful.

Gee...seems that dogs, cats, and human babies have a lot of traits in common...when it comes to eating habits, anyway.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

Cat mommas do the same thing. Anyone ever wonder why you never see messes in the big old box where mama kitty has her kittens?

Cats and dogs wash their own butts. I don't think it's a smell that really bothers them much, if they even smell it as acutely as humans do.

So someone suggesting that pets that eat poop have some sort of nutritional deficiency is ludicrous to me.

bevy 8 years, 5 months ago

As for cats and their odd drinking habits - I have four house cats (3 of them are indoor/outdoor at times) They get a fresh bowl of water daily (sometimes more than once daily). Their drink of choice?

The water from the filter in the top of my daughter's turtle aquarium! We joke that they prefer the "turtle-flavored water".

I know that they prefer fresh water, so running water is what they like. The ironic thing is, a few years ago I bought a cat dish with a built in filter (just like a fish tank filter) that circulated the water so it would stay fresh. They were TERRIFIED of it and wouldn't come near it!

CATS!

By the by, I bought it at a yard sale, so perhaps the former owners had the same issue.

BTW, all my pets eat dry food and they do quite well on it. The cats supplement with crunchy/furry/feathery/slimy critters from their excursions outdoors.

SloMo 8 years, 5 months ago

OK, one more thought for Pywacket and Dulcinea.

The article I referenced above is by a DVM who references an article from a professional journal by another DVM. Both of them address the issue of whether cats on kibble diets get enough water. Both say that cats fed kibble do indeed increase their water intake on their own, however, they still end up getting only about half as much water in their diets as cats on canned or raw-food diets. Both of these DVMs conclude, for this and other reasons, that canned or raw food diets are better than kibble. Now, I'm not necessarily accepting that conclusion, because of course this study won't be the last, but I can certainly imagine that this (whole article - not just the part about water intake) might be conclusive enough for some.

As for cats' water intake, it's possible that cats on their natural diets get more water than they need, or it could be that kibble-fed cats tend not to get enough. I've had kibble-fed cats live to be 17, 18, even 20 years old, and what more can you ask? However, kidney failure got every last one of them in the end. Is kidney failure inevitable if an animal lives long enough? Would my babies have died peacefully in their sleep (that's what more you can ask) if I had fed them a diet that was closer to their natural diet?

Emily Hadley 8 years, 5 months ago

"Natural Pet Food and Supply store on 6th street" -- definitely--when you feed your pets human-grade food, you have fewer worries about quality control as well as much healthier pets.

Why would you buy food from Petco when they sell so many of these brands? They sell low quality food from irresponsible manufacturers and sell bred pets that take away from shelter adoptions.

These recalled products are tested on animals in laboratories in the worst conditions, and obviously it doesn't prevent death and illness from the food.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/21/14266/0685

The company knew the food was killing animals but continued to ship it out and sell it.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/20/national/main2587087.shtml?source=mostpop_story

Again, the company knew the food was killing animals but continued to ship it out and sell it.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/20/national/main2590696.shtml

There will be a class action lawsuit against them. Stay updated!

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