Monday, April 02, 2007

Pets may be dying from vitamin D toxicity

While veterinarians have reported 104 deaths linked to contaminated pet food, and pet owners have reported around 2000 animal deaths, the actual number of animals in the US and Canada affected by contaminated food may be closer to 10,000, and the cause remains uncertain.

Though a rat poison called Aminopterin found in Menu Foods products was identified as the agent responsible for animal deaths, experts suspect other contaminants might be involved.

"Clinical signs reported in cats affected by the contaminated foods are not fully consistent with the ingestion of rat poison containing aminopterin that, according to Menu Foods, is at the 'root' of the contamination issue," the ASPCA stated in a release issued March 27, 2007.
Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, says that animals poisoned with aminopterin should have other symptoms in addition to renal failure.
"To be consistent with the effects of aminopterin, we should also be seeing a significant number of affected pets showing the accompanying signs of severe intestinal damage, as well as bone marrow suppression, including 'leukopenia,' which is a serious reduction in white blood cells," he says. "This is the missing connection that we want to alert veterinarians around the country to.”
A Toronto lawyer who has filed a $60-million class-action suit against Royal Canin says that excess vitamin D may be the real cause of renal failure deaths.
"We have taken hundreds of samples of (Royal Canin) food from across the GTA. I can't give you accurate numbers ... but there is an awful lot of (vitamin D) ... some tests have shown more than 10 times the normal amount ... might even be more."

Royal Canin admits excess levels of vitmain D3 led to the recall of seven vet-only products in March 2006, but its web site assures its foods "are safe" and unaffected by the Menu Foods recall.
Another contaminant identified
The FDA now says the contamination in wet pet food that has injured and killed pets across the country may not have been the pesticide aminopterin, but possibly a fertilizer and plastics agent called melamine.
Recalled food list expands

Purina has added some of its canned dog food products to the list of recalled foods since discovering that its wheat gluten supplier was the same supplier that provided Menu Foods with the contaminated product. Tainted wheat gluten also prompted Hills-Pet Nutrition to recall Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food, the first dry food recall.

The lack of quality assurance standards for pet food production in Canada has become a big concern.

Prevention, detection and treatment: renal damage can be arrested

Early detection of renal damage and disease in dogs and cats.
Chronic renal failure in dogs and cats.
Hypercalcemia in Cats.

3 comments:

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Dawn Coyote said...

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Dawn Coyote said...

I’d meant to make explicit the conclusion that damage to the kidneys is 1) caused by vitamin D toxicity, by dental bacteria, and by a variety of other agents; 2) that it is cumulative; 3) that it can be treated, and further damage prevented, if caught early enough.

I’ve been feeding one of my cats the Royal Canin dry food for years.

I’m going to get work-ups done on both my cats, and get their teeth cleaned. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t realized the importance of teeth cleaning until now.