Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Pet Treats Recalled, Salmonella Found

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

The Associated Press is now reporting that another company, not connected with Menu Foods, is recalling dog, cat and ferret treats that could be contaminated with salmonella. The announcement that came yesterday from Eight in One Inc., is unrelated to the more extensive recall of melamine-tainted dog and cat food that led to kidney failure in pets around the country.

Eight in One Inc., a division of United Pet Group Inc., is recalling all packages of Dingo Chick’N Jerky, Dingo Kitty Chicken Jerky and Dingo Ferret Chicken Jerky.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in pets and children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. In pets, salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and abdominal pain. Animals that do not get sick can infect other pets or humans.

The bacteria could also infect people handling the pet treats. Humans infected with the salmonella can experience fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It could also cause more serious problems such as arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract problems.

Eight in One said they received a report of a dog infected by salmonella, which lead to further testing of this product. Some, but not all, of the samples tested were contaminated.

The treats were sold around the country at Target, PetSmart and other stores.

Speculation is that the Menu Foods recall and testing has led to more diligent testing of other brands and may have revealed the presence of salmonella in the Eight in One treats.

New Foods Added to Recall List

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

As a precautionary measure, Del Monte Pet Products is voluntarily recalling select product codes of its pet treat products sold under the Jerky Treats®, Gravy Train® Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels® brands as well as select dog snack and wet dog food products sold under private label brands.

Nestle Purina PetCare Company also announced late Friday that it is voluntarily recalling all sizes and varieties of its ALPO(R) Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes. The company is taking this voluntary action after learning that wheat gluten containing melamine, a substance not approved for use in food, was provided to Purina by the same company that also supplied Menu Foods. The contamination occurred in a limited production quantity at only one of Purina’s 17 pet food manufacturing facilities. Purina says they are confident that the contaminated wheat gluten has been isolated to this limited production quantity of ALPO Prime Cuts canned products.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is also voluntarily recalling Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry food from the market. Hill’s is taking this precautionary action because during a two-month period in early 2007, wheat gluten for this product was provided by a company that also supplied wheat gluten to Menu Foods. Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry represents less than one half of one percent of all Hill’s products.

Hill’s is reiterating that there is only one product affected by Hill’s voluntary recall announcement yesterday: Hill’s Prescription Diet™ m/d™ Feline Dry Food. This is the only product Hill’s currently sells in the United States and Canada that contains wheat gluten from any supplier. No other Hill’s Prescription Diet® or Science Diet® products are affected by this voluntary recall.

As always, we will keep you informed as new reports are released. Do continue to check your cupboards and monitor your pets for illness. If they are vomiting, lethargic, not eating, drinking excessively or urinating excessively, have them checked by your veterinarian. Again, our sympathies go out to everyone affected by the recall during this stressful time.

FDA Blames Melamine, Not Rat Poison

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that testing of Menu Foods pet food had revealed the presence of melamine, a chemical used in fertilizer, but has not been able to confirm the findings of aminopterin, the rodent poison that was reported last week to have been the likely culprit.

In a news conference earlier today, it was also reported that the tainted wheat gluten was sold to an undisclosed manufacturer who produces dry food, as well. The FDA could not say whether or not dry food had been contaminated, only that it was under investigation and that it would alert the public quickly if melamine was found in any foods other than the recalled pet food.

MSN is also reporting today that Menu Foods has received more than 300,000 calls from worried pet owners, and the most recent numbers from the Veterinarians Information Network, a website of 30,000 veterinarians and veterinary students, said members had reported nearly 500 cases of kidney failure since the recall was announced.

As a pet family dad of six dogs and two cats, I want pet owners to be armed with the best information and financial assistance to provide the best healthcare possible and prevent disease and illness when possible, and we will continue to post updates as we are made aware of them.

Pets Best Offers to Pay 100% of Bills Related to Food Recall

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

On Saturday, I spoke with yet another pet owner who only recently learned of the Menu Foods recall. She said that she hadn’t taken her cats in yet, though one of them had been vomiting. Cats (and dogs to a certain extent) tend to hide symptoms of illness. This is troublesome and means that even if you have stopped feeding the recalled food and think that things are fine, if your pets show any signs of illness, it’s best to have them checked. Kidney failure can sometimes take weeks or months to manifest signs, but early detection is truly the key to saving your pet and reducing the trauma to the kidneys.

At Pets Best, our heartfelt sympathies go out to every pet family affected by the recent pet food tragedy, especially those who are financially unable to pay for their pet’s care, as we read about last week. In response, we have committed to all policyholders affected by the recall to pay claims at 100% up to policy limits, waiving the deductible and co-payment, which we will recoup ourselves from the manufacturer.

We believe that pet owners have been affected enough by the stress of the recall and want to do what we can to help ease the emotional and financial burden for pet families.

We also learned over the weekend that Menu Foods has expanded their recall, and it was announced today that the New York State Food Laboratory is continuing their tests on the food to confirm that aminopterin is to blame for the deaths and illnesses of pets who consumed the “cuts and gravy” style food.

Pet Deaths Reportedly Linked to Rat Poison

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

ABC News and others this morning are reporting that a rodent-killing chemical is the toxin in the tainted pet food that has killed pets across the nation.

A source close to the investigation told ABC News that the rodenticide, which the source says is illegal to use in the United States, was on wheat that was imported from China and used by Menu Foods in nearly 100 brands of dog and cat food.

The Food and Drug Administration, which was notified of the tainted food one day before the recall, said it’s frustrated and realizes the growing crisis is an emotional one.

“This is tragic,” said Stephen Sundolf of the FDA’s Veterinary Medicine group. “It is certainly uncommon. We expect pet food to be safe.”

The New York Department of Agriculture has announced a press conference for 1 p.m. EDT.

Again, if you believe your pet ingested any of the foods on the recall list, stop feeding the food immediately and call your veterinarian to schedule a blood test.

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