The word is pretty much out about the Menu Foods pet food recall but conscientious consumers should continue to keep up to date and alert to any new discoveries on the matter.
Menu Foods, a manufacturer of over 90 popular brands of canned wet cat and dog foods made a national announcement March 16, 2007 that they were recalling several of their products. The products in question carry such known brand names as Iams, Eukenuba and Paws and have been linked to incidents of illness and death, as a direct result of kidney failure in cats and dogs across the country.
Despite a universal sympathy toward this tragedy from US pet owners in general, those who were fortunate enough not to be affected by this crisis took some comfort in the fact that dry food was not a risk. That is, until just a few days ago. Recently, Hill’s Pet Nutrition of Topeka, Kansas was forced to also recall their products after the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) testing found that some of their products, too, were tainted. The brand they have so far determined to be a problem is called Prescription Diet m/d Feline and it is dry cat food that is sold through veterinarians only as opposed to public retail locations. So this one should be a little easier to realize you have and a little harder to accidentally newly obtain.
So what is causing this national pet food related tragedy? Originally, due to a statement by the New York State Department of Agriculture, a certain illegal rat poison called Aminopterin was said to be the culprit. However, this assertion was just determined to be incorrect. The FDA suggested on March 30, 2007 that the actual toxin found in the contaminated Menu Foods products is called Melamine. Melamine is apparently a kind of substance often used in certain plastic household products including cleaning agents, flame retardant foam, hard stain-resistant laminates and soundproofing materials. The Melamine is supposedly pretty safe as a product ingredient, at least more so than Aminopterin, but in high doses it can affect small animals and rodents according to Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and Senior Vice President with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). He claims that while cats are especially sensitive to adverse reactions to such things as Melamine, further investigation is require to understand the direct link between renal kidney failure and this supposed toxic suspect.
This catastrophe certainly calls for increased awareness from pet owners in regards to the details on this matters as they hit the press. People should try their hardest to remain calm, though, and avoid overreacting with hyper-paranoid concerns over any little possible abnormality in their cat or dog’s behavior. To help ease their client’s understandable worries, and also to likely take some extra phone call responsibilities off of their staff, veterinarians and pet stores who have customer’s contact information would be very wise to devise an informative and reassuring email or printed newsletter addressing this matter to help ease some of their worries. And concerned pet owners can hopefully calm themselves significantly by simply keeping in touch with the latest findings, seeking out additional information through Internet searches, and by educating their families on warning sings to watch out for. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) and the FDA claim the following symptoms as pet food related kidney failure red flags: vomiting, increased thirst, abnormally frequent urination, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting.
Pet owners who do notice these changes, though, in the their pets, should by all means contact their veterinarian or poison control immediately. The ASPCA’s APCC is also a very good place to seek devoted assistance. Their toll free number is 1-888-426-4435.
If you do indeed feel your cats or dogs could be suffering from illness as a result of contaminated food, the ASPCA recommends such measures as keeping food samples and packaging to submit for analysis and logging certain product information as date codes, production lot (if applicable), date product was fed to your pet and the time you first noticed symptoms. If you feel certain that your animal has not been effected by the Menu Foods products in question, you should either dispose of the recalled brands or you may return them to the appropriate location of purchase for a refund.
The FDA and other related professionals will continue to perform research on the Menu Foods pet food recall and the found toxin, Melamine. In the meantime, pet owners are advised to stay far away from any of the recalled brands. Before you go shopping for cat or dog food, whether it be wet or dry, in any form of packaging, the smartest thing you can do is print out the official list of recalled brands, as released by the Menu Foods company and found at the following link: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/
Take it with you to the store and steer clear.
Many people worry that they will have trouble finding adequate cat or dog food that is safe, especially if their pet had gotten used to one of the brand name products that have been recalled. Unfortunately, they really have no choice but to stray from their normal food, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be detrimental for the animal. At first thought, it may seem as though your pet will be at some sort of loss over this, but perhaps you should look at this as an opportunity. This may be the perfect chance for you and your animal to discover a new brand of food that works even better for them. Yes, there are a huge amount of brands that have been called unsafe, but there also are still a great deal of pet food types on the market that are okay. Below are just a few examples and where you can buy them:
Blue Buffalo brand: PetSmart or PetSmart Online.
Mars Petcare: http://www.mars.com
The GoodLife Recipe
Animal Food Services-http://www.animalfood.com/ 1-800-743-0322
Diamond Pet Food– http://www.diamondpet.com 1-866-895-2708
Holistic Blend – http://www.holisticblend.com 1-800-954-1117
Newman’s Own Organics– http://www.newmansownorganics.com
Old Mother Hubbard– www.omhpet.com/wellness 1-800-225-0904
The FDA requests that any incidents of death or illness to pets in connection with this pet food crisis be reported immediately to your official state FDA representatives. A list of contact phone numbers according to state can be obtained by going to the following link: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html