update ii : emergency pet food recall
The culprit responsible for the emergency recall of 60 million or so cans and pouches of pet food spanning almost 100 brands of dog and cat food — numbers attributable to MENU FOODS being the sole supplier for an enormous number of different brand labels’ contents. Interestingly, “They” is not Menu Foods. “They” is New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and Dr. Donald Smith, dean of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, who issued a JOINT STATEMENT Friday after initiating an independent investigation Menu Foods played no role in.
“Rat poison.” “Cancer treatment.” “Chinese wheat.” That is what people are saying it is all about. “AMINOPTERIN,” a chemical used some places to kill rodents, and others to treat cancer patients. [I am so glad I am not a cancer patient. Or rodent.] And allegedly nowhere in the United States or Canada, two of the three countries hit. Mexico being the third.
[Someone needs to ask if aminopterin is manufactured in the United States. Plenty of stuff we allegedly do not use in the U.S. — can anyone spell DDT? — we still manufacture here, we just ship it — we say — other places. Anyone asked that question yet?]
While a majority of news reports have habitually reported nominal numbers of animals effected and/or killed by the Menu Foods incident, [anything ranging from 10-16 fatalities in most reports — based on Menu Foods’ lab reports], on March 22 THE ANIMAL MEDICAL CENTER IN NEW YORK CITY reported they were already aware of 200 cases and expected thousands of pets to eventually be affected. [ABC NEWS : DOCTORS CAUTION THOUSANDS MORE PET DEATHS EXPECTED].
That is just one veterinary facility in one city in the U.S. You do that math. The last count of self reported pet fatalities on PET CONNECTION was 1,188 deaths. [713 cats | 475 dogs]
Other contaminants mold and heavy metal have been ruled out. However, while aminopterin has been identified in recalled pet food, vets are not all convinced aminopterin is the only contaminant present : ABC NEWS : SOME VETS REMAIN SKEPTICAL :
Some veterinary experts say they are still skeptical as to whether the chemical is responsible for the kidney damage the pets endured.
“With the information that we have, none of us feel that this product fits the lesions we are seeing, but there may be information we don’t know yet,” said Lawrence McGill, a veterinary pathologist in Salt Lake City. “The feeling is that there are more questions than answers with this product.”
“Renal failure is not the expected response to these drugs,” said Susan Weinstein, executive director of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association. She added that most rodent poisons work as severe anticoagulants — meaning they cause the rats that ingest them to bleed to death.
“Whether this particular toxin in this case can create renal failure depends on how this drug works in the body, which may be an entirely different pathway than the anticoagulants,” Weinstein said. “Because we aren’t yet familiar with this toxin, we can’t be confident of the causation link.”
Investigators also have not yet determined whether aminopterin is the only contaminant in recalled food.
“If it is not the only culprit, as I suspect, the problem isn’t over,” McGill said, adding that it is also uncertain as to whether the finding will be much help to veterinarians.
According to McGill, even if the aminopterin is the culprit, “most veterinarians have never heard of this product. There will need to be more information put out to suggest therapeutic regimens.”
There are still a lot of glaring questions here. For starters, is aminopterin the sole cause of the animal fatalities and illnesses? Why did it take a lab less than a week to identify poison in Menu Foods pet food, but Menu Foods over a month to even ascertain anything might be wrong with food after reports of fatalities reached the company from consumers and vets? And why didn’t a single Menu Foods production facility stop production during investigations or the pet food recall?
It is kind of difficult to take a company seriously that professes concern over the discovery of contaminated food on one hand, while continuing to manufacture and distribute the food on the other.
PREVIOUS POSTS ON THE EMERGENCY PET FOOD RECALL :
UPDATE : EMERGENCY PET FOOD RECALL 03.21.07 [this includes a list of recalled foods as well as links to sources for information on feline and canine renal failure and the fda’s posting on the pet food recall]
EMERGENCY PET FOOD RECALL 03.17.07 [this includes the original posting and discussion on the pet food recall]
IMPORTANT LINKS :
SYMPTOMS OF POSSIBLE KIDNEY FAILURE :
• Increased water intake
• Increased volumes of urination
• Unwillingness to eat
• Eating litter [cats]
Animals exhibiting these symptoms should be taken for veterinary care immediately.
OTHER INTERESTING SPOTS :
Pooks posted a pretty INTERESTING PIECE on just who is selling wheat to Menu Foods — while simultaneously funding the war on Iraq and buying up the U.S. And oh yeah, who owns Wal-Mart? I do not think that proves the Chinese just poisoned all those dogs and cats. I do think it means they paid a lot of advertising dollars into FOX NEWS. The biggest propoganda arm the current White House regime has. Wow. Thanks, Chinese Guys. We really needed four more years of Bush. Zee has posted a LETTER FROM PETA about the recall. I do not approve of all of PETA’s methods. But hey, the idea is right. Protect animals. Animals cannot protect themselves.
EDITED MARCH 30 TO INCLUDE LINK : UPDATE III : EMERGENCY PET FOOD RECALL
EDIT 04.02.07 : If you are looking for a list of foods that is safe for dogs and cats, and that list is shrinking daily, I do not have that list but NATURA FOODS FOR DOGS AND CATS APPEAR SAFE