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cats07
April 12th 07, 07:28 PM
http://www.mcalesternews.com/local/local_story_097160826.html

Published: April 07, 2007 04:08 pm

Vet says pets could develop problems long after eating bad food

By Susan Brittingham
Features Editor

A local veterinarian cautions that animals who ate contaminated pet food,
and who are acting fine right now, might actually have kidney damage that
could show up later.

"We may not see it for a year or two, but they could have premature renal
problems that may shorten their lives," Dr. Brian Renegar said.

And as if that statement, along with the recent recall of cuts and gravy
type of pet food from Menu Foods, wasn't frightening enough for pet owners,
yet another company is recalling food.

Sunshine Mills Inc. is voluntarily recalling dog biscuits made at its Red
Bay, Ala., biscuit plant during part of March.

Some of the brands included in the recall are Nurture Chicken & Rice, Ol'
Roy Puppy Biscuit, Pet Life Large and Pet Life People Pleasers Dog Treats. A
complete list can be found at www.sunshinemills.com, along with codes and
sizes. Sunshine Mills says small and medium sized biscuits were not
affected.

Also, Menu Foods has broadened the scope of its recalled products. Look at
www.menufoods.com/recall to see if your pet's food is listed. If so, stop
feeding it immediately and watch your animal closely for signs of illness.

Dry dog and cat food has not been a part of any recall.

The wet food that has been pulled from store shelves was made with wheat
gluten from China. Testing has revealed that the wheat gluten was
contaminated with melamine. Melamine is used to make plastic kitchenware,
glues, countertops, fabrics, fertilizers and flame retardants. According to
the Environmental Protection Agency, it is also a contaminant and a
byproduct of several pesticides.

In short, it can be a killer when eaten.

Any animals that just aren't acting like their normal selves should be taken
to the vet, where they can have their kidney enzymes checked. Unfortunately,
Renegar said, there may have been animals who died before the recall whose
contaminated food-related deaths can't be confirmed.

That means their owners may not be compensated for any vet bills.

Dogs that are still alive, though, can have their kidney enzymes tested to
see if they are high. If they are elevated, "and we know they've been eating
this food, we can stop feeding them the food and give them treatment, which
would be IV fluids," Renegar said. "But there may be some dogs out there who
haven't been tested because they're acting fine right now, but in a year or
two they'll start getting sick.

"We're telling people that if their dog or cat starts acting different from
what they normally do, if they lay around a lot or have changes in their
daily routines, they should have them checked. Then we can treat them.

"But if your dog is bouncing off the walls you don't have to worry about
it."

Renegar does have some happy news to impart. "It's remarkable, with the
number of dogs we've done kidney function tests on, that we're not seeing
any damage at all. If there was some kidney damage, we'd be picking up on
it."

He said that means that some of the animals who ate the contaminated food
might not ever get sick from it.

And that, the vet said, is his hope.