Recalled foods for dogs and cats
 
HorseFeathers Veterinary Service, PLLC 1

Within the past year there have been multiple brands of dog and cat foods that have been recalled due to inclusion of a component that is toxic to the animal.  Thankfully, most retail outlets have removed the specific foods from their shelves, but, for the poor animals that have already ingested these foods, the damage is done.

There is a list, maintained by the American Veterinary Medical Association, that exhaustively delineates which foods have been contaminated.  This list is enormous and contains some brand names that have previously been considered trustworthy.  The link to this list is:

 http://www.avma.org/aa/petfoodrecall/products.asp

 

An article from Canada explains political and legal ramifications and somewhat the mechanism of action of these tainted foods.  That article is:

Recall News, US study ties 27 pet illnesses and deaths in Canada to recall

 

Dec. 28, 2007 -- From Mytelus.com

TORONTO - In a year that saw dozens of recalls of products made in China, perhaps none had people more up in arms than a wide-ranging and repeatedly expanding recall of pet food tainted with a deadly combination of chemicals.

In March, Menu Foods recalled about 60 million cans and pouches of its "cuts and gravy" style food, sold under 95 brand names after it received reports of kidney failure and death among dogs and cats.

The problem was eventually traced to wheat gluten contaminated with melamine, used in making plastics, from a Chinese supplier. It was a massive recall, the largest in the industry, but just one of many recalls in Canada in 2007 of products manufactured in China.

At the time, a company spokesman had said Menu Foods would "take responsibility" for any expenses people incurred if they could prove the tainted pet food sickened or killed their pet.

But any compensation is now stalled by ongoing legal action.

At least 100 class action suits were filed against the company, and mediation is now being handled by a court in New Jersey with an eye to reaching an all-encompassing resolution to the claims.

A court order prevents Menu Foods from communicating with unrepresented pet owners. That means that nine months after the recall, any pet owners waiting for the promised compensation for their dead pet or vet bills for a pet that fell ill will have to wait even longer.

A statement from the company said it could not comment at this time because of the mediation process.

In March, the company said it had confirmed only the deaths of 16 pets. Various pet and veterinary organizations had estimated the death toll could be in the thousands But the actual numbers appear to be much lower than that, though much higher than Menu Foods' original count.

The American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians commissioned a voluntary survey of accredited and commercial laboratories and veterinary clinics across North America. It tied 347 cases of pet deaths and illnesses to the contaminated food.

Of those cases, 235 were cats and 112 were dogs ranging in age from two months to 19 years. The study found 61 per cent of the cats and 74 per cent of the dogs died. The rest were either ill or had recovered at the time of reporting.

Nearly all of those cases came from the U.S., but 27 cases were reported from Canada, 20 cats and seven dogs. Dr. Dalen Agnew of the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University, one of the study's authors, called the results "a bit skewed."

"These are cases that made it all the way to a tertiary care facility and cases where owners wanted to go the extra mile," he said.

"I suspect that there are probably at least as many other cases where the owners never bothered to go any further, to work up a complete diagnosis, because it did require money and an investment of effort and time."

The study also found what the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph in Ontario had suggested, that melamine wasn't the only chemical responsible for sickening and killing pets. It was actually a combination of melamine and cyanuric acid, commonly used in swimming pools to stabilize chlorine.

"Melamine alone is not toxic and cyanuric acid alone is not toxic," Agnew said.

But when the two are mixed they form an insoluble crystal that obstructs the kidneys and causes renal failure, he said.

"You can dose cats with very, very, very high doses of melamine and there's not a problem. And you can dose cats with a very high level of cyanuric acid and there's no problem. But even at a low level if you mix the two, it can be fatal within days."