Posts Tagged ‘Pet Food Recall’

Veterinarians report mysterious link between dog food and hypercalcemia

Veterinary Information Network (VIN) reports:

Veterinarians are trying to discern whether roughly a dozen dogs testing positive for hypercalcemia and consuming the same high-end diet is merely coincidence or a problem with the pet food in question.

 

The reports have cropped up on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), an online community for the profession and parent of the VIN News Service. In message board discussions, veterinarians have revealed cases of hypercalcemia secondary to vitamin D toxicosis occurring in dogs that eat a single brand of dry pet food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Diet, chicken flavor. In each of the cases, veterinarians report that dogs’ conditions have improved after switching brands.

 

So far, nothing concrete has identified a causal relationship between the food and illnesses in dogs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while reportedly alerted to adverse events tied to the food, has not prompted a recall, though the VIN News Service has been unable to reach officials with the regulatory agency directly.

 

Officials with Wilton, Conn.-based Blue Buffalo report that “tens of thousands of dollars” and hundreds of hours have been spent analyzing various batches of dog food, including samples from bags directly linked to specific cases of dogs testing positive for hypercalcemia and vitamin D toxicity.

 

Richard MacLean, vice president of business affairs, says one thing is certain: Test results thus far have shown nothing unusual about the product’s formulation; amounts of calcium and vitamin D, in particular, are within the company’s specifications and well below levels that might be considered toxic.

 

The company’s focus has been on Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe, manufactured in April 2010 with a best-used-by date of July 2011.

 

Vitamin D toxicity, or hypervitaminosis D, induces bone loss and abnormally high serum calcium levels, which could result in kidney stones and the calcification of organs like the heart and kidneys if left untreated.

 

“We really do take very seriously our commitment to providing health nutrition to pets,” MacLean says. “From the moment this issue came up, we are looking to find out if this is something we can do something about.”

 

Dr. Joy Mueller, a veterinarian in Santa Rosa, Calif., says the condition isn’t one that an owner will likely miss.

 

Recently, her two-year-old Australian shepherd became lethargic, releasing copious amounts of extremely dilute urine throughout her house and drinking large amounts of water. Heeding the red flags, she tested the dog’s blood and noted elevated calcium levels and a low platelet count. Hypercalcemia is often associated with kidney cancer and lymphoma.

 

Yet after ruling out possible problems with kidney function, Mueller turned to the Blue Buffalo Wilderness chicken and turkey flavored dry food that the dog had been eating for two weeks and changed brands.

 

The result was dramatic; the dog’s condition improved within 24 hours.

 

Mueller came to the association between the food and her dog’s condition independently of the VIN discussions on the topic, though she did not test her dog for elevated levels of vitamin D and cannot be certain that toxic levels of it prompted the animal’s illness. Still, she e-mailed the VIN News Service last Friday to spread the word about her findings to other veterinarians.

 

Reflecting on the turn of events, she says: “Vitamin D toxicosis was not my first thought. Various types of cancer including kidney cancer were the big rule outs. I wasn’t thinking food until I switched him.”

 

While Mueller believes that the food is tied to her dog’s condition, she suspects the reaction was idiosyncratic.

 

“It’s such a dramatic response that if a large number of dogs that ate this food had it, you would hear about more cases,” she says. “You can’t miss it peeing all the time and going through gallons of water.

 

“I suspect this has more to do with the dogs than the food,” Mueller adds. “I’m thinking beyond vitamin D. There may be dogs that have a genetic predisposition to the developing this condition after eating this food. It’s quite a mystery.”

 

Dr. Kathryn Cochran, a practitioner in Michigan, agrees. She reports that dogs of two different clients were examined in the practices where she works on June 30 and July 16. Both presented with hypercalcemia and test results showed high levels of vitamin D.

 

Another common thread: Both ate Blue Buffalo Wilderness Diet, chicken flavor, purchased at a PetSmart in Traverse City, Mich.

 

Cochran’s employer, Dr. Charles Morrison, posted the cases on VIN, and called the company. As a result, Blue Buffulo’s MacLean reports that seven bags were pulled from the Traverse City PetSmart, and tests were conducted on two. He reiterates that nothing unusual has come back on any of the samples analyzed by the company’s labs.

 

Cochran reports that the dogs have since recovered after being switched to a different brand of pet food. She notes that Blue Buffalo has been proactive about paying for tests, sending out claim forms and preparing to make restitution to owners if the product is found to have caused illness.

 

She’s concerned that other cases might not be identified.

 

“I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to get people to talk to me on this,” she says. “Maybe there are more cases out there like this.”

 

Experts in the field of diagnostics think so, too. Dr. Kent Refsal, an endocrinologist with the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University, works at one of the only labs in America running tests for vitamin D toxicity.

 

“So if a veterinarian has an animal with an abnormality of calcium, they go through lists of differential diagnoses,” Refsal explains. “Our tests can sort through that. In terms of the kind of test outcomes we get, we do not see many instances that raise concern about vitamin D toxicosis.”

 

Considering the rarity of such events, Refsal took notice when the sample from Cochran tested positive for elevated levels of vitamin D.

 

Three weeks later, when Refsal received two samples in the same assay run from dogs in Texas showing evidence of vitamin D excess, he contacted the clinics in question and determined that the dogs were eating food from Blue Buffalo.

 

Since then, Refsal reports that similar tests results from two dogs in Colorado have Blue Buffalo-produced food as the common factor. The lab, he says, has contacted the Michigan Department of Agriculture with the findings, though the VIN News Service could not immediately reach agency officials concerning the cases.

 

“If someone is presented with a question of vitamin D toxicosis, you wonder whether the animal has been put on some kind of unusual dietary supplement. Our assay is just an indicator of vitamin D intake. It does not identify the source of it,” Refsal says.

 

Apart from diet, there are other possible explanations for hypervitaminosis D in animals, including exposure to vitamin D analogs like calcipotriene-based psoriasis creams or pest control products made of cholecalciferol.

 

Veterinarians like Mueller say those explanations are highly unlikely, and even MacLean, of Blue Buffalo, believes that it’s possible that there is a relationship between the food and the handful of sick dogs eating the product.

 

Yet, he cautions, no one has scientifically proven the link. He also notes that reports of at least three other dogs exhibiting signs of hypercalcemia and elevated vitamin D levels without a connection to Blue Buffalo products have surfaced on VIN.

 

MacLean reiterates that the company’s tests of its dog food have come back as low to mid-level for vitamin D content.

 

“Everything that we have suggests that it’s not our food,” he says. “We have 30,000 bags of this stuff out there and literally a dozen animals that have a common symptom. On an incident rate, that doesn’t invite the conclusion that there’s something defective about the product.”

 

 

August 31, 2010
By: Jennifer Fiala
For The VIN News Service

 

 

American Coton Club
Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tulear
http://www.AmericanCotonClub.com
info@AmericanCotonClub.com

 

 

Menu Foods reaches sale deal

Pet food maker was involved in massive recall in 2007

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/08/09/menu-foods-simmons-deal.html#ixzz0w8urgAsg

American Coton Club

Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tulear

http://www.AmericanCotonClub.com

Merrick Recalls Texas Hold’ems 10 oz. Bag Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Merrick Pet Care Recalls Texas Hold’ems 10 oz. Bag (Item# 600616 Lot 10127 Best By May 6, 2010) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

08.03.2010

Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is extending its July 2, 2010 recall of 10oz “Beef Filet Squares for Dogs (Texas Hold’Ems)” pet treat (ITEM # 60016 LOT # 10084TL7 BEST BY MARCH 24, 2012) to also include 83 cases of “Texas Hold’ems” (ITEM # 60016 LOT # 10127 BEST BY MAY 6, 2012) because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

The Beef Filet Squares (Texas Hold ‘Ems) were shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the US. These individuals have been notified and have activated their recall procedures.

The treats are sold in 10oz plastic bags marked with “Lot # 10127 Best By May 6, 2012” on the top of the bag and on a sticker applied to the bottom.

No illnesses have been reported to date for either lot of product. A sample tested positive for Salmonella.

Consumers who have purchased 10 ounce packages of “Texas Hold’ems” are urged to return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-664-7387 M-F 8:00 – 5:00 CDT.

Source:  http://www.merrickpetcare.com/about_us/news_article.php?tid=434

American Coton Club

Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tulear

Visit ACC at:  http://www.AmericanCotonClub.com

Pet Food RECALL EXPANDED: See the Brands Affected

In a nutshell: Some brands of Iams & Eukanuba dog food are being recalled nationwide because of possible salmonella risks.

From the P&G Press Release

CINCINNATI, July 30, 2010 – The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is voluntarily expanding its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported.

The following products are included:

  • Eukanuba Pure, all sizes and varieties
  • Eukanuba Naturally Wild, all sizes and varieties
  • Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin, all dry sizes
  • Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas, all sizes and varieties

The affected products are sold in veterinary clinics and specialty pet retailers throughout the United States and Canada. No canned food, biscuits/treats or     supplements are affected by this announcement.  A full listing of UPC codes can be found at www.iams.com

These products are made in a single, specialized facility.  In cooperation with FDA, P&G determined that some products made at this facility have the potential for salmonella contamination.  As a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling all products made at this facility.

Consumers who have purchased the specific dry pet foods listed should discard them.  People handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.  Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.  If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.  Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or a product refund call P&G toll-free at 877-340-8823. Click here for an extended product list.

Procter & Gamble Expands Food Recall

P&G Expands Recall to some Eukanuba Products

CINCINNATI, July 30, 2010 – The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) (NYSE:PG) is voluntarily expanding its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.  No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported.
http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/pg-expands-recall-to-some-eukanuba-products.html

Report from Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report
www.TruthaboutPetFood.com

FDA asks for Public Comment

The FDA is planning to implement an initiative called “The Pet Event Tracking Network” that will allow FDA and State partners to exchange information about outbreaks of illness associated with pet food.  Comments are welcome until September 27, 2010 on the proposed PETNet (Pet Event Tracking Network).

PETNet will primarily be a system for States and FDA to communicate.  The Federal document announcing request for comments on PETNet states it was “developed in response to the 2007 outbreak that occurred in companion animals that was associated with the deliberate adulteration of pet food components, such as wheat gluten, with melamine.  …PETNet would include a system for reporting outbreaks and would be supported by adequate diagnostic laboratory facilities and an established mechanism for conducting national epidemiological investigations.”

Further excerpts from the PETNet announcement “PETNet will be a secure, internet-based network comprised of the FDA, other Federal agencies, and State regulatory agencies/officials that have authority over pet food. The Network will provide timely and relevant information about pet food-related incidents to FDA, the States, and other Federal Government agencies charged with protecting animal and public health.”

PETNet is a beginning to change.  But…I see some problems.

PETNet will be “entirely voluntary”.  The FDA will invite all U.S. States to participate, but they don’t have to.  This is a problem.  State and Federal government on different pages regarding pet food (or human food) adverse event reporting doesn’t benefit anyone.

Pet owners will not have access to this pertinent information.  While I understand that much/some of the PETNet reporting would be speculative – not confirmed pet food adulteration or contamination – I also understand that pet owner access to this information could save lives.  Existing conditions of pet food has forced pet owners into becoming their own researchers and detectives protecting the lives of their pets.  Federal and State agencies have shown us (pet owners) time and time again a lack of concern for our pets.  Withholding this information from pet owners furthers an already great divide between pet owners and regulatory agencies; it furthers a lack of trust that desperately needs to be addressed.

As example, several weeks ago I shared a story of seven puppies that died due to a suspect pet food.  Their little bodies were studied at the University of Oklahoma vet school; the FDA and the State Department of Agriculture got involved.  The pet food was tested; tissue samples were closely examined.  The pet owner has signed a release providing her permission for the University to speak publically on the test results.  Yet, the veterinarian won’t return calls.  The investigation by the FDA provides us no information; the investigation of the State Ag Department provides us no information.  This could be a serious issue with the pet food, or it could be some other concern that killed these puppies.  But no one is providing us with answers.  Seven of eight puppies died, one survived.                      To read the original story, visit:

http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/seven-puppies-die-suspicion-of-pet-food-contamination.html

No information is not a good thing.  I appreciate this beginning from the FDA.  I suggest to them this reporting portal needs to be accessible to pet owners.  It is too late for pet owners to turn back to unconditional trust of pet food and regulatory agencies; those days are gone.  As well, I suggest to FDA to require all State agency participation; we don’t need more pet food mass confusion.

To read about PETNet visit:

http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480b21d8c

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report
www.TruthaboutPetFood.com

The American Coton Club wishes to thank Susan for her dedication to educating pet owners!!

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