Urgent pet food recall, deaths
March 17, 2007 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Urgent pet food recall. Apparently, some pets are suffering kidney failures and death after eating some pet food. 60 million pieces have been recalled.
posted by elpapacito (112 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Among the affected owners the lovely Amanda Congdon using her blog to warn pet owners.
posted by elpapacito at 5:52 PM on March 17, 2007


Official FDA recall notice.
posted by brownpau at 5:55 PM on March 17, 2007


I'll take this opportunity to pimp biscotti's response to my question about a gassy dog. He lists the Whole Dog Journal's top recommended foods, none of which, I believe, are included in this recall.
posted by papakwanz at 6:04 PM on March 17, 2007


Its the "cuts and gravy" style of wet food. All bland dry kibble is excluded.
posted by rsanheim at 6:09 PM on March 17, 2007


I went through all my pet food earlier today. I had 5 different brands which was kind of surprising. Only one of them was affected by this recall though.
posted by puke & cry at 6:10 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: All bland dry kibble is excluded.
posted by bardic at 6:11 PM on March 17, 2007


Great, now we need CanMyPetEatThisFilter.
posted by ontic at 6:12 PM on March 17, 2007


Better call the retirement home.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:13 PM on March 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


catshitinsane.
posted by pruner at 6:28 PM on March 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


"ANIMALS ARE DYING" made me chuckle.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:29 PM on March 17, 2007


Your comments stay with you forever, Citizen Premier.
posted by cgc373 at 6:35 PM on March 17, 2007


"ANIMALS ARE DYING" made me concerned.
posted by fire&wings at 6:41 PM on March 17, 2007


my cat was eating nutro natural choice (packets within the recall date) and a week ago starting losing appetite - was diagnosed with mysterious kidney failure yesterday. i have been trying to contact nutro and the various other numbers out there with no success - interesting that nutro claims they have no reports of animals falling ill from eating their products...
posted by morerio at 6:42 PM on March 17, 2007


This guy loads up Yahoo! News and oh shi
posted by griphus at 6:45 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am glad my pet does not eat that toxin. All jokes aside, I hope all the MeFi's do what they need to do for their furry critters.
posted by absalom at 6:51 PM on March 17, 2007


I used to work at a dog food manufacturer (yeah, great gig, I know) and the smell from that joint always made me wonder what kind of iron stomachs dogs have. Dogs getting sick sucks. Cats, no problem. But dogs... sad.
posted by AspectRatio at 6:52 PM on March 17, 2007


Yeah, we could really use a dog lover vs. cat lover flame war right now. Good on ya, AspectRatio.
posted by bardic at 7:06 PM on March 17, 2007


Figures a thread about peoples pets getting sick would bring out all the assholes. Keep the stupid comments coming.
posted by puke & cry at 7:10 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Genius PR move by nestle/purina, btw.

1. Voluntarily recall worst selling product
2. Shout this out to everyone
3. Make sure to let readers know their other products ar eperfectly safe
4. Grab customers from pet poisoning company
5. Profit
posted by IronLizard at 7:13 PM on March 17, 2007


wow, thank you morierio, I hadn't realize that Natural Choice was one of the affected brands. Figures that the hotline offered by menufoods is busy.
posted by lalex at 7:15 PM on March 17, 2007


It's great links like this that keep me coming back to MetaFilter!
posted by eyeballkid at 7:21 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh crap. I feed the dog purina kibble, but my wife buys these things listed on the foods site (gravy packets) from the local grocery. Guess what? He's been puking all day.
posted by IronLizard at 7:22 PM on March 17, 2007


What's the treatment, if any?
posted by IronLizard at 7:31 PM on March 17, 2007


What on earth is the root cause? A bit of something hugely poisonous, or a huge amount of somethign a little poisonous?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:38 PM on March 17, 2007


What's the treatment, if any?

Get to a vet.

From the FDA recall notice:

"Dogs or cats who have consumed the suspect feed and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) should consult with their veterinarian."

You should probably hang on to all the packages you have (including any empty ones) and the vet bills to see what you can do after/if they figure out what's going on with your dog and with the dog food.

I really hope your dog has something minor and normal, though. My SO is cringing in sympathy.
posted by dilettante at 7:40 PM on March 17, 2007


Um, so am I. Cringing sympathetically, that is. Damn it.
posted by dilettante at 7:41 PM on March 17, 2007


Yea, hope all doggies and kitties affected will feel better soon!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:42 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


According to the local 24hr vet there are a great number of these cases. Not 10.
posted by IronLizard at 7:42 PM on March 17, 2007


IronLizard, may I ask what the vet said? Are you to bring your dog in immediately?
posted by lalex at 7:44 PM on March 17, 2007


My neighbor's dog, a great and loyal animal, died on Christmas day from getting into a bag of raisins. The list of foods which dogs cannot eat in any quantity without the possibility of kidney failure is long and quite odd to us. In sum:

* Onion, leeks, and other "onion" family plants
* Chocolate, coffee and cocoa
* Grapes and raisins
* Mushrooms
* Macadamia nuts

Here's raising a glass to you, Sam, you were a Good Boy.
posted by maxwelton at 7:46 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but it's expensive and may not even work if this is the problem.
posted by IronLizard at 7:46 PM on March 17, 2007


My cat died on Feb. 1. She was 16 years old, so old age may have been a factor. But she was eating Special Kitty cat food, which is on the list for recall, and she was vomiting after an extended period of declining health. She had been to the vet several weeks earlier.

My dog woke me up that day, doing the Lassie thing. He jumped on my bed and poked me with his cold, wet nose, then ran into the kitchen where my cat lay, then repeated the back-and-forth until I got up to see what was wrong.

When I took my cat to the vet, we didn't discuss kidney failure or bad food or any other possible cause. We discussed putting her to sleep, and then did so. It was time.

Did bad cat food kill my cat? Was it old age? Or something else? I'll never know.
posted by Seabird at 7:48 PM on March 17, 2007


Incidentally, a 50lb labrador can be killed by eating the equivalent of 2 or 3 of those small snack-size boxes of raisins.

Not all dogs are affected equally. But the onions and mushrooms are why it's not a good idea to shovel the remains of your burrito into Rover's dish. There probably isn't enough onion there to kill them but you never know, and they might be very sick.

If your dog is throwing up and you know he's ingested something likely to cause renal failure, you need to be in a car heading toward the emergency vet. Time is a critical factor.

IANAV.
posted by maxwelton at 7:51 PM on March 17, 2007


While it's not unprecedented for even high quality pet foods to have problems (Go! Natural had a recall a few years ago), generally, if you feed cheap food made with cheap ingredients (often the cheapest possible), you're not really getting a bargain - you feed more, you have to clean up more poop, and you often end up with a pet with more skin and other health problems.

The issue here is being attributed to wheat gluten, which the company spokespeople call "a protein source" (even though dogs and especially cats cannot properly digest vegetable protein, and it can cause problems for many animals even WITHOUT being contaminated). Dogs and cats should get the vast majority of their protein from meat (in kibble, ideally, you want to see identified meat meals like "chicken meal" or "beef meal" as AT LEAST the first ingredient - in cheap foods, the first ingredients will be things like corn or wheat gluten or if you're lucky, some kind of by-product meal, all of which still means reduced bioavailability, which means feeding more and cleaning up more poop, and it also means there's more likely to be a problem, since the cheaper ingredients have less stringent rules about identification and handling). Since most of these recalled foods are made by the same generic manufacturer, you have the added bonus of not knowing from batch to batch where the various (cheap, low-quality) ingredients come from, or how they are processed (since they're sourced according to price as the top priority), and so you have cases like this.

Buying pet food according to the cheapest per-pound price is false economy, and can sometimes be far more costly than you'd think, as this story proves.
posted by biscotti at 7:58 PM on March 17, 2007


Biscotti, some of the products listed in this recall hardly fall in the "cheapest per-pound" category.
posted by lalex at 8:06 PM on March 17, 2007


I am suddenly thankful for my cat's stubborn loyalty to Fancy Feast. I'm thinking good thoughts for all the other pets out there who are not so lucky.
posted by kimdog at 8:13 PM on March 17, 2007


IronLizard, I hope your pup is OK.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:16 PM on March 17, 2007


in cheap foods, the first ingredients will be things like corn or wheat gluten or if you're lucky

So far I believed the bulk of the pet food meat came from machine separated meat, leftovers, rendered hydrolized feathers, things that aren't aesthetically fit for human consumption, but that properly processed woulnd't -harm- cat or dogs.

But corn, goddamn. They feed cows with corn, which afaik isn't the food a ruminant should eat. They make HFSC out of it. Now I learn it is used also for pet food....chrrissake is there anything they wouldn't do with that state subsidized corn ?

I wonder what else is in ordinary _human food_ is being pushed as "consumable" while the real understanding so far is that there was no dramatic death < -> therefore it is "safe". I can imagine marketing drones finding ways to sell shit for gold.
posted by elpapacito at 8:20 PM on March 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Not to sound snarky, but it's strange to think dogs could have made it this far along the evolutionary chain with such glaring weaknesses to those things. I mean, what do you do if you live on a farm? Or a winery?

And yeah, I know cats have issues too with certain foods. But still.
posted by bardic at 8:23 PM on March 17, 2007


Purina Cat Chow here.

I'm very sympathetic -- my family's dog died almost two years ago from what may have been kidney failure, which came on out of the blue, more or less. I still miss her a lot.

This sounds like it could mean a whole lot of owners missing their pets.
posted by dhartung at 8:26 PM on March 17, 2007


Wow--reading some of the ancillary links here, I guess I should stop tossing my pup the occasional grape. And start being more careful about where the stray pieces fall when I'm chopping onions. (On the other hand, this is the first I've heard of nephro-doom from those foods, so Lola's eaten her fair share of them, and without any ill effects AFAICT.)
posted by staggernation at 8:27 PM on March 17, 2007


A list of other foods you shouldn't give your pet.
posted by elpapacito at 8:31 PM on March 17, 2007


IronLizard and morerio, here is hoping your pets pull through. And Seabird, I'm sorry for your loss.

The idea of tainted food harming animals brings out feelings of despair and anger in me that most people would reserve for protecting their children.

My children are all furry and four legged, so I take this seriously.

Well, they are all four legged except the feathered ones. And some that are four legged have scales.

And some have no legs, but they swim.

I have a lot of pets.

posted by quin at 8:36 PM on March 17, 2007


Not to sidetrack here, but isn't this how we started to have Apes as pets? Damn dirty apes. Sure they require more training than dogs but did your dog ever bring home the dry cleaning?
posted by Gungho at 8:43 PM on March 17, 2007


did your dog ever bring home the dry cleaning?

No, but he can fetch a beer.
posted by ericb at 8:49 PM on March 17, 2007


some of the products listed in this recall hardly fall in the "cheapest per-pound" category

No, but they all fall into the category of foods with cheap, low-quality ingredients, I'm afraid. Just because there may also be some better-quality ingredients (as with Nutro Natural), doesn't mean that the entire ingredients list is good (also as with Nutro Natural).

Pet food companies must meet certain nutritional requirements (so much percentage of protein, fat, etc.), it's how they get to those requirements that's the issue, better foods get there with high quality and species-appropriate ingredients, poorer foods get there as cheaply as possible. Look at the top five ingredients in Purina Cat Chow: poultry by-product meal (since it's a generic meat meal, it has far lower standards for contents and handling), corn meal, corn gluten meal (because cats, being obligate carnivores, of course should be getting a large part of their nutrition from corn), ground whole wheat, brewers rice - there's only one meat ingredient in the top five constituents of this food (and it's a generic by- product meal, which is the lowest quality meat ingredient you can get other than "animal digest", which is on this ingredients list too!), and the rest is vegetable, and low-quality vegetable at that. Look at the top five ingredients in Nutro Natural Choice Large-Breed Dog: Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice Bran - yes, the top ingredient is an identified meat meal, which is good, but the next four highest constituents of the food are vegetable sources, including cheap, low-quality ingredients like corn (a common allergen for dogs).

it's strange to think dogs could have made it this far along the evolutionary chain with such glaring weaknesses to those things. I mean, what do you do if you live on a farm?

Sure, but in a more "natural" state, animals wouldn't eat these things in the first place. It's only because they're processed and flavoured and sprayed with fats and otherwise messed-with to make them palatable that animals eat them at all. Historically, farm dogs tended to eat human leftovers (meat, potatoes, small amounts of vegetables), farm cats hunted for themselves (mice and other small mammals - a diet that's almost entirely protein, which is what cats should eat), neither was likely to encounter something like wheat gluten in any major amount, and certainly not as a main protein source in their diet. We've only been feeding commercially-prepared pet foods for a relatively short time.

As for grapes and raisins, it's only recently that we've learned about this problem, and as far as I know it's still not well understood and it's very unpredictable.
posted by biscotti at 9:07 PM on March 17, 2007


Could this be a GMO corn thing? Have there been any corn or wheat crops rejected by the EU? Those sorts of things would end up entering the pet food supply chain.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 PM on March 17, 2007


Re: My dog

He only gets these things as a treat (oh, the irony) on top of purina kibble and it's not too oftern (though he did get two 5.3 oz packs yesterday). He seems O.K. for any other dog but not his usual insane self. Also: he hasn't vomited since this afternoon and will run around the house if I chase him so I'm pretty optimistic.

He's going to eat nothing but table scraps and kibble from now on.
posted by IronLizard at 9:35 PM on March 17, 2007


Here's hoping, IronLizard. Keep us posted.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:44 PM on March 17, 2007


I used to think we had entered crazy cat lady territory by preparing batches of cat food ourselves, but am not so sure anymore.
I mix up fresh meat (fit for human consumption), tinned salmon, a tiny quantity of veggies, a pinch of brewers yeast and linseed, canola oil, butter and chicken hearts. They love it, their coats are healthy and shiny, and their poo is far less horrid than when they were on commercial pet food. We also give them raw chicken ribs regularly (good for their teeth and dramatically improves their breath).
Although it's a bit of work every couple of months or so, it's not only healthier but also much, much cheaper than what you buy in the shops.
posted by ponystyle at 10:13 PM on March 17, 2007 [16 favorites]


The list of foods which dogs cannot eat in any quantity without the possibility of kidney failure is long and quite odd to us.

Actually, each of these foods has a different biological effect on dogs, each of which is obviously negative. While raisins and grapes do cause renal failure, onions cause Heinz anemia, chocolate causes cardiac arrythmia and ultimately failure, and the toxicological mechanism of macadamia nuts in dogs is unknown.

Not to sound snarky, but it's strange to think dogs could have made it this far along the evolutionary chain with such glaring weaknesses to those things.

Yes, clearly some sort of cosmic mistake has occurred; hopefully Darwin will rise from the grave and annihilate the entire doggie race from this wretched earth.

Could this be a GMO corn thing? Have there been any corn or wheat crops rejected by the EU? Those sorts of things would end up entering the pet food supply chain.

I think it's more likely that the dogs and cats are being poisoned by an actual toxin.
posted by mek at 11:37 PM on March 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


To IronLizard and others with problems:
I hope your pup is OK. We had to put one of ours to sleep just last Monday (intestinal lymphoma) and it was really really tough.

Our other dog has been on the Nutro Natural Choice for a while now, but at the advice of biscotti (from the link I posted way up near the top) we're switching to a more expensive but higher quality food. We're going to try Blue Buffalo -- why? because it was the only WDJ-recommended brand for sale at our nearby petstore ;).
Anyway, top 5 ingredients: Deboned Whitefish, Whole ground brown rice, whole ground barley, Menhadden fish meal, oatmeal. Also a big plus: no byproducts, no corn, no wheat, no soy. It's $40 for 30 lbs of food, whereas the Nutro was something like $25 for 40lbs, but I'd rather pay a little more for better food, and it'll be cheaper in the long run.
posted by papakwanz at 11:40 PM on March 17, 2007


Are there any recommendations for cats? I feed mine Nutro dry cat food, and I'm concerned about feeding it to them now.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 11:51 PM on March 17, 2007


"ANIMALS ARE DYING" made me chuckle.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:29 PM on March 17

Your comments stay with you forever, Citizen Premier.
posted by cgc373 at 6:35 PM on March 17 [+]


I'm not necessarily speaking for Citizen Premier, but I find this statement funny too. Certainly not because I find pets, or animals being harmed amusing at all, however! The chuckle is at the expense of the person who said it. The reason the statement is amusing is because now, and in pretty much all human society ever, animals are regularly killed for food, sport, and clothing. Animals also kill each other, and die of sickness frequently.

The statement writer made a really poor/hackneyed attempt to call forth the gravity of the situation by taking the familiar "people are DYING" line, and mechanically turning it into "animals are DYING," but in the process, lost just about every bit of the very gravity he was hoping to achieve, since, as stated above, if you think about it animals are always dying. This incompetence on the part of the writer (or the sense that the reader knows something the writer does not) is what is funny.

In a way, it's almost kind of sad that the person who wrote the statement doesn't think of non-pets as even 'animals', or of non-pets' deaths as noteworthy at all.

(If the writer had gone for "pets are DYING", I wouldn't have found the statement amusing.)
posted by blenderfish at 11:54 PM on March 17, 2007


Not to sound snarky, but it's strange to think dogs could have made it this far along the evolutionary chain with such glaring weaknesses to those things.

Yes. Its strange how those dogs evolved in Asia could have survived not being able to eat New World chocolate.
posted by vacapinta at 11:58 PM on March 17, 2007


Hey Four-Eyed Girl,

According to the recall, the only foods that were affected were wet foods sold in cans our pouches. I feed my dog Nutro dry kibble, so she's not in any danger (nor is your cat), I just happened to be in the process of switching dog foods anyway right when this recall came along.

I don't think that Nutro Natural Choice is *bad*, at least compared to the budget stuff. All the brands listed in Biscotti's post also sell cat food, and from comparing ingredients, it looks like Blue Buffalo might be one of the best as far as ingredients go. Check out their website, http://www.bluebuff.com You should be able to find a store nearby that sells it.

Also, just from some searching around, it looks like WDJ and others recommend rotating between 3-4 premium brands (I guess per year?) rather than just sticking with one brand. Of course, for dogs at least, you have to switch food on them slowly, gradually replacing their current food over a course of 10-14 days.
posted by papakwanz at 12:10 AM on March 18, 2007


Thanks, papakwanz for the advice. I knew the recall didn't directly affect my cats because I feed them dry food, but Nutro being involved in this whole mess didn't make me feel any better. I just switched my cats over from Nutro Kitten to Nutro Adult Indoor, so I think I'll wait a bit before switching them again. Blue Buffalo looks like the best bet for when I do switch.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 12:18 AM on March 18, 2007


My condolences to all the pet owners here who have experienced recent loss.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:22 AM on March 18, 2007


Of course, for dogs at least, you have to switch food on them slowly, gradually replacing their current food over a course of 10-14 days.

What? Hey look, I switch food on my KIDS without any notice whatsoever. My dog eats plastic hose nozzles, when given the chance. What the hell are you talking about?
posted by IronLizard at 12:27 AM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


mek writes Yes, clearly some sort of cosmic mistake has occurred; hopefully Darwin will rise from the grave and annihilate the entire doggie race from this wretched earth.

Oh please, get bent. You're either too dumb to understand my question or trying to paint me as some sort of animal hater. Don't be ignorant and/or a dick, mkay?
posted by bardic at 1:23 AM on March 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


ANIMALS ARE DYING to be food for your dog.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:34 AM on March 18, 2007


Not only do animals die to be food for our pets (which I'm OK with), but euthanized animals from shelters are sent to rendering plants, and their protein and fat often end up in lower grade pet foods (less OK with this), along with a dose of the barbiturates that killed them.

My cats eat organic, hormone-free, grain-free, human-gradefood. It's insanely expensive, but they both have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and I think it's worth it. IBD is an immune-disorder that seems to be on the rise in felines, and I'm convinced it has to do with the crap food we feed our animals. Hindsight is 20-20, but perhaps if I had fed them the good stuff from the start I could have avoided the 5K in vet bills for the diagnostics, as well as the life-long steroids to control the disease.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 2:09 AM on March 18, 2007


Hindsight is 20-20, but perhaps if I had fed them the good stuff from the start I could have avoided the 5K in vet bills for the diagnostics, as well as the life-long steroids to control the disease.

Wow. Your pets get better health care than I do. And probably better food.
posted by blenderfish at 2:18 AM on March 18, 2007


Oh, they definitely eat healthier food than I do. And the monthly cost of their food isn't that much less than my monthly grocery tab.

But hey, you can't put a price on unconditional love, ya know?
posted by ereshkigal45 at 2:48 AM on March 18, 2007


Ironically, we had to take our dog off the nice food (Canidae) because she was getting colitis. She is now on high-fiber prescription food, from Purina. It's probably made of corn and sawdust, congealed in hamster tallow. @#$8*. I've been meaning to ask my vet if there's something better we can get her. I guess now's the time.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:56 AM on March 18, 2007


My Boxer vomited most of Thursday night, but I didn't think it was a big deal. He'd been to the day care kennel that day, and ran himself ragged. His stomach is sometimes queasy after a day there. He also gets lethargic because of all the runing and playing he did.

Well, I'd fed him one of the suspect foods. He hasn't had any problems since then--peeing OK, energy, no other symptoms. Lucky dog or iron constitution? Did his body know the food was bad and cause him to vomit all over the bedroom carpet? I dunno...Just glad I found out in time and that he seems to be doing OK.
posted by paddbear at 5:39 AM on March 18, 2007


We had a Boxer with colitis in the 1990s, palmcorder_vajna, and we had to feed him a special diet of homemade ground lamb and rice. (Fry the ground lamb, drain, then rinse to remove obious grease and fat. Then mix with rice.) I'd spend a Saturday every two weeks cooking up huge pots of this and freezing them.

One vet suggested an antifungal pill once a day ( I wish I could remember the brand name--very common [Flagol? Flagil?], give to humans, to). We were able to transition Kirk on to a regular diet of Nutro Lamb and Rice canned with Hills Prescription Diet i/d Canine Dry. The colitis disappeared within a few days, with only a one a year or so bout with it returning.
posted by paddbear at 5:53 AM on March 18, 2007



Of course, for dogs at least, you have to switch food on them slowly, gradually replacing their current food over a course of 10-14 days.

What? Hey look, I switch food on my KIDS without any notice whatsoever. My dog eats plastic hose nozzles, when given the chance. What the hell are you talking about?


I think that's an "always safe" rule. I had a dog -- robust in every other manner -- that for whom abrupt changes in diet would proove, um, disasterous. Two words: "poo explosion".

You cannot imagine the horror.

We like to think of dogs as these robust food processing machines, but they can be kind of delicate. (Also, while I believe your dog destroyed plastic hose nozzles, I'd be surprirsed if he actually ingested them...)
posted by Ogre Lawless at 8:10 AM on March 18, 2007


IronLizard: Here's another article on the subject of gradually transitioning food. Remember that dogs' digestive tracts are much different from and not quite as flexible as humans'. Many dogs will be OK with a sudden shift, but others will reject the food, or vomit or have the aforementioned "poo explosion."

My boxer is like your dog, constantly destroying (and ingesting) plastic shit, bits of socks and plush toys, my wife's shoes, etc. She almost never gets sick, though, because its in such small amounts, and she doesn't actually digest them, she just passes them right through. But I do try to switch her food gradually, although usually its more like 5-7 days than 10-14. It keeps her less gassy, prevents her from feeling bad, pooping or puking everywhere, etc.
posted by papakwanz at 9:19 AM on March 18, 2007


Also, just from some searching around, it looks like WDJ and others recommend rotating between 3-4 premium brands (I guess per year?) rather than just sticking with one brand. Of course, for dogs at least, you have to switch food on them slowly, gradually replacing their current food over a course of 10-14 days.

I rotate super-premium kibbles (including the main protein sources) every 2 months or so with my current dog and have done from day 1 - I never switch gradually and I almost never have a problem. however, he doesn't just eat kibble, he eats raw food, suitable table scraps and a variety of other species-appropriate things, so his system is used to variety. Dogs who don't eat a varied diet tend to have more trouble with sudden changes in food.

As to the dog with colitis - perhaps investigate a high-quality grain-free food (like Innova EVO or Prairie) but add fiber to it if your vet insists (canned pumpkin is a great source of fiber for dogs) - the increased fibre just reduces the liquidity of the stool but doesn't actually address the problem, and it can actually make the problem worse in some dogs (even though the diarrhea appears to be improved, the fiber masks the symptom). More info here.
posted by biscotti at 9:29 AM on March 18, 2007


poo explosion

This is indeed terrifying. Luckily, no dog in the family has ever suffered from it due to diet change, but I agree that avoiding this is worth jumping through more hoops than slowly replacing dog food. Liquid turd bazookas are to be avoided at all costs.
posted by IronLizard at 9:31 AM on March 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


When I brought my pup home from the shelter, she had really bad kennel cough & I soon found that she had major allergies. Poor little thing was just kinda delicate. It's true, you do have to switch their diets gradually. I didn't know that at first, so I have 3 different bags of unused food in the garage that I don't know what to do with now because I found out she was allergic to them. (Apparently nobody wants big open bags of dog food...) She'd seem fine for a few days on the foods, but then she'd start regular vomiting. Poor thing. Until the kennel cough went away I was feeding her cooked chicken and rice... she was eating better than I was. Then I eventually was able to very gradually switch her to a natural food that she's been able to eat just fine ever since. Her stomach really couldn't handle an immediate shift though.

She didn't have much of a problem digesting my favorite pair of shoes in November, though...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:58 AM on March 18, 2007


It boggles my mind that we have human starvation. Not only in this world, but I'm fairly sure within our continent.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 AM on March 18, 2007


If you're looking for an alternative, I primarily feed my cat Innova EVO. There's no grain, and the first two ingredients are turkey and chicken. It's very close nutritionally to a raw-food diet.

Also, there's no such thing as "human-grade" meat. There's no FDA, AAFCO, or USDA certification or definition for it. It's a marketing ploy.
posted by lunalaguna at 10:19 AM on March 18, 2007


Has anyone seen any sites where people with sick pets can correspond with one another? Would be helpful to connect with other people...
posted by morerio at 10:37 AM on March 18, 2007


miss lynster: won't the shelter take the dog food? Most shelters are generally in need of all kinds of donations, especially food.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:24 AM on March 18, 2007


Any word on the root cause yet?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:55 AM on March 18, 2007


They won't take it if the bag is open. Don't know what someone might've put in there.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:13 PM on March 18, 2007


Our beagle died two weeks ago after a sudden and alarming descent into kidney failure. When we found out the other night that his pet food might have been the culprit, we were floored.
posted by blucevalo at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2007


miss lynster: try asking around on Freecycle -- if your local lists are anything like the DC-area ones there are probably tons of rescue folks there who would be more than willing to take even opened kibble off your hands.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 1:50 PM on March 18, 2007


A Menu Foods spokeswoman said the company is "diligently testing" its products, but as of yet cannot point to the source of the problem.

Veterinarians note that kidney failure is a common ailment of pets, especially cats. It's among the top killers of older cats, so the full scope of the pet food problem might be difficult to pinpoint.


I think a lot of this is scare due to the massive recall, where there may have only been one or two "tainted" batches, whatever they contained. Every single pet owner who's lost a pet to kidney failure in the past month or two (and I'm sure there are thousands across North America) is going to blame the pet food, regardless of whether or not the increase in kidney failure in pets is statistically significant.
posted by mek at 2:59 PM on March 18, 2007


fyi older cats with kidney failure show signs of kidney disease - in my case when i brought my cat in - the vets were puzzled by the kidney failure and immediately suspected poisoning. he shows no signs of previous kidney sickness or disease - normal, healthy cats generally don't suddenly go into kidney failure - the vet also said "older" cats generally means towards end years of lifespan when their systems are wearing out...i don't think they would be doing such a rapid and massive recall if there wasn't a genuine concern that something could be wrong...
posted by morerio at 3:12 PM on March 18, 2007


(Also, while I believe your dog destroyed plastic hose nozzles, I'd be surprirsed if he actually ingested them...)

You're kidding, right?

This is anecdotal, but just based on posts I've seen on various fora around the intarwebs about formerly healthy pets of all ages dying of sudden kidney failure in the past couple of weeks, I think this is going to be huge. Yes, kidney failure is common in older pets, but as morerio noted animals going into kidney failure usually show signs for some time before it becomes critical. Sudden kidney failure in an otherwise healthy animal is usually a sign of toxic exposure.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 3:45 PM on March 18, 2007


Every single pet owner who's lost a pet to kidney failure in the past month or two (and I'm sure there are thousands across North America) is going to blame the pet food, regardless of whether or not the increase in kidney failure in pets is statistically significant.

One point that, afaik, isn't measured by a binomial distribution of probability are the false negative and false positive, but please correct me if I am wrong I am just studying statistics.

Now, there may be a number n of events of pet sickenss that are caused by the unhealthy food units, but maybe they will be registered as 0=lived (as opposed to 1=died ) ..how large could that error be ?

I doubt will ever know , as the owner of the 0=lived pet isn't likely to be reported in any death rates/causes series.

Yet I agree with the point of likelyhood of "mass panic", but if anything it may focus some people on consider food qualities other then price.
posted by elpapacito at 5:42 PM on March 18, 2007


Our beagle died two weeks ago after a sudden and alarming descent into kidney failure. When we found out the other night that his pet food might have been the culprit, we were floored.
posted by blucevalo at 12:40 PM on March 18 [+]
[!]


I'm so very sorry for your loss, and for anyone who has lost a companion animal recently. It's always so hard to lose them, but especially difficult to take when a perfectly healthy, thriving creature is stricken down by the very thing meant to keep them healthy and thriving.

This is always pretty scary stuff - not just dog and cat food but all food seems to be increasingly infested with various forms of lethal nastiness lately. My roommates' dog and cats eat some of the brands that are on the recall, but only the kibble/dry food, not the wet - at least not lately. Luckily, they hadn't had any of that wet food from any of those brands in a while.

This is a big recall, and just another in a prolonged spate of seriously major food recalls lately of both human animal and non-human animal varieties. I personally would like to know what the hell is going on that despite our food costing more and more and more, we are getting less and less and less from it, more people are hungry or starving in this country and around the world from lack of it, and the chance of death if you actually eat it appears to be increasing exponentially.
posted by perilous at 5:46 PM on March 18, 2007


Far from wanting to star an idiotic pet vs human false dicotomy, it's worth noting that human can die from ingesting perfectly good food . According to this site
Although an individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. These are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
A little prevention can pay big dividends.
posted by elpapacito at 5:52 PM on March 18, 2007


There was a hullabaloo recently about a GMO corn that has liver toxicity in rats, causing them to keel over dead in an alarming fashion. There was some opinion that this product not have been taken to market as yet: that there wasn't enough evidence that it would be safe. It might have even proven harmful to pigs; I don't accurately recall.

The Occam's Razor conjecture for me is that this GMO corn hit the pet food supply chain. It could easily have been rejected by a food manufacturer, or originated as waste sweepings from a food manufacturer.

Next thing you know, it hits the pet food supply chain and all hell breaks loose.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:03 PM on March 18, 2007


Hey, there's also been a problem with mercury in fish lately. I don't think mercury symptoms look like those of the GMO corn (the latter is ?kidney?liver? failure; the former would be, what, violent tremors and seizures?)

The scary thought is that if it's in the dog feed supply chain, it could well be in the human feed supply chain.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:07 PM on March 18, 2007


There was a hullabaloo recently about a GMO corn that has liver toxicity in rats, causing them to keel over dead in an alarming fashion.

Not because it's genetically engineered and impure, or because scientists corrupted it. Because it had been specifically engineered to produce a toxin to kill bugs.

The Occam's Razor conjecture for me is that this GMO corn hit the pet food supply chain.

If this is so, it should be reasonably easy to isolate the toxin from the dead animals. Given that they think the problem is in a wheat gluten supplier, this seems unlikely.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:08 PM on March 18, 2007


FFF, you do realize there's a difference between the liver and the kidneys, right? Occam does.
posted by staggernation at 9:52 PM on March 18, 2007


Feel free to go look up the report and reiterate the details. The overall point remains.

Another conjecture: could be fungal. Bad batch of wheat, say. Maybe the dogs go out dancing to an acid trip.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 PM on March 18, 2007


Four-Eyed Girl, I feed my cat Newman's Own dry cat food. The ingredients are pretty good, better than Nutro's, and it's not as pricey as some of the premium cat foods. It's also relatively easy to find - I've bought it at a Whole Foods in addition to the local pet store.

I, unfortunately, had been alternating the Newman's dry with the Nutro wet, so I am keeping a close eye on my poor kitty.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2007


Bit late; but thanks blenderfish. That's exactly where I was coming from, but I was too lazy to explain it.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2007


I'm suddenly very freaked out about this because my cat has vomited three times in the past week and we just got a new bag of Science Diet sensitive stomach food - but it's dry kibble, and she never eats wet food. Do I have cause for concern? Augh, I hate this.
posted by agregoli at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2007


agregoli, I don't think dry food is a concern at this point. All of the recalls and symptoms seem to involve wet food.
posted by blucevalo at 11:48 AM on March 19, 2007


That's what I've seen so far, so I'm going to chillax a bit. My husband called and said my kitty is currently chasing a superball around the bathtub so I think she's fine. =)
posted by agregoli at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2007


Puppy is also fine now, btw.
posted by IronLizard at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2007


agregoli and IronLizard, I'm glad to hear that both of your pets are okay!
posted by blucevalo at 1:13 PM on March 19, 2007


Good to hear your pets are ok, agregoli and IronLizard.
posted by misskaz at 1:18 PM on March 19, 2007


Pet Connection is compiling a database of pets who have been sickened or killed by eating contaminated food. I urge anyone here with a sick pet to enter their info in the database, to help get a more accurate picture of the scope of this issue.

This is much, much bigger than "10 animals dead". According to this article, those 10 dead animals were Menu Foods' own lab animals; 1 in 6 animals fed comtaminated food were killed, and this was in February. What I want to know is why was the recall not issued until March 16?

I'm utterly horrified, and immensely relieved that all three of my cats eat nothing but dry food. My deepest sympathies go out to anyone whose beloved pet has been affected by this.
posted by tomatofruit at 7:16 PM on March 19, 2007


One in six mortality rate? This story gets more infuriating every day.

It's hard, if not impossible, to say whether our dog would've been saved if we'd known this information a month ago, but it's hard to believe that his survival chances wouldn't have been higher.
posted by blucevalo at 7:49 PM on March 19, 2007


yep - menu foods = death. and as those of us who have tried getting any sort of human response would know - menu foods doesn't seem to really care. they aren't even asking for information on your pet. hence no surprise to hear they have been sitting on information that has cost lives.
posted by morerio at 11:25 PM on March 19, 2007


I'm still paranoid. My cat threw up again this morning. Still only on Science Diet Sensitive Stomach. She's going to get some new food tonight if we can find something that hasn't been recalled. I have no idea what to get, she's finicky besides. I want to hope this is hairballs (big one this morning) but I'm still scared.
posted by agregoli at 9:03 AM on March 20, 2007


i'm so sorry to hear about people's sick pets.

i've tried to research my cat's specific diet on the net and i've read most of this thread, but i'm still not 100% sure... i'd really appreciate a knowledgeable "yes, keep on feeding him that stuff- you may eventually kill him with that cheap food, but it won't be this week via kidney failure."

my cat eats
PURINA CAT CHOW SPECIAL CARE KIBBLES (hairball prevention)
PURINA KITTEN CHOW KIBBLES (sometimes)
PURINA FRISKIES CANNED CATFOOD (paste style)
WHISKAS CHUNKY CANNED CATFOOD (paste style)
is that okay?

thanks. sorry for asking a dumb Q.
posted by twistofrhyme at 9:17 AM on March 20, 2007


agregoli, I said yesterday that dry food isn't implicated in the recall, but what I've been hearing on the news since last night leads me to believe -- and this is what they're saying on the news too -- if there are any symptoms that seem suspect to you, even if you don't think your pet food is part of the recall, call your vet.

It can't hurt, and as we learned with our dog -- to our sorrow and regret -- it's better to be a little paranoid now than to have a disaster on your hands later.
posted by blucevalo at 11:15 AM on March 20, 2007


twistofrhyme, I've heard on the news that Purina is doing recalls now too (though it looks like only wet dog food is being recalled at the moment).

It's not a dumb question at all, and if you're at all concerned, I would call your vet.
posted by blucevalo at 11:19 AM on March 20, 2007


Hey, I live in the world, I'm aware that it's only wet food that's supposedly the problem. Doesn't stop me from worrying.
posted by agregoli at 11:36 AM on March 20, 2007


agregoli: Sorry, it wasn't my intent to imply that you don't "live in the world." I was trying to be helpful, and it came out wrong, I guess. Anyway, I hope your pet turns out to be okay.
posted by blucevalo at 11:51 AM on March 20, 2007


The lawsuits have begun. Gosh, the lawyers must be licking their lips in glee.

I understand these are pets and all, but there are places in this world where people eat these animals. A $40k vet bill could have gone toward another, better cause, ie. ones involving humans.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:55 PM on March 20, 2007


5fish : please don't engage in RIAA's "logic" of "if it wasn't for X, then Y" . There isn't a shred of proof that the $40K would have been spent in helping some humans.

While I agree that if a choice was to be made I would rather spend 40k on a human then on a cat, on the grounds that we are better off by helping each other , I don't agree with false dicotomies suggesting it's all black or white, live or die.
posted by elpapacito at 1:51 PM on March 21, 2007


I know there's no proof the $40K would have been spent on humans. The creep would probably have bought a Hummer instead.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on March 21, 2007


Rat poison found in tainted pet food --
"Animal deaths have led to nationwide recall; news conference scheduled."
posted by ericb at 9:01 AM on March 23, 2007


« Older 1909      >      1920 One of the GuysWhen It Was...  |  Since January 1st, men in Sham... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments