Tainted pet food blamed in death
Dog suffered kidney failure, put down
Friday, March 17th, 2006
By Alexandra Paul
A Gimli woman is grieving her dog that was euthanized after getting sick from eating a bad batch of tinned pet food. Christine Smith says she had her six-year-old collie-cross, Molly, put down when the pet suffered kidney failure from its diet of Royal Canin pet food. The parent company for the makers of the pet food, Mars Inc. in Hackettstown N.J., recalled seven lines of its Royal Canin dog and cat foods after discovering an error in the vitamin formula from one of its suppliers. Canin company executives say they recalled the food as a precaution because it contains elevated levels of vitamin D-3. It can cause a loss of appetite, lethargy, excessive drinking and urination in some pets. That's what happened to Molly in November. In her case, the reaction proved fatal. Smith's dog was eating one of the affected brands -- voluntarily recalled everywhere in North America in February -- when her symptoms cascaded and her kidneys failed. At the time, Smith and her vet believed the dog had cancer. It wasn't until last month when the brand-maker discovered the problem, recalled the food and not ified thousands of vets across Canada and the United States that the real culprit was uncovered. Molly is believed to be only pet in Canada to be euthanized after eating the pet food. "The unfortunate circumstances surrounding Molly makes this a very unique and sad case," said Royal Canin veterinarian Dr. Brent Matthews in a formal statement from his office in Guelph, Ont. The dog suffered from a condition known as hypercalcemia, which is treatable. Smith said her vet in Gimli notified her about the problem after taking a call about the recall from the pet-food maker. This week, Royal Canin company executives made a trip from their Canadian headquarters in Toronto to see Smith at her Gimli home on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Royal Canin is reimbursing Smith for vet bills. "It was an awful shock. I loved her and Royal Canin has been wonderful. We all feel terrible, but I feel they've been exceptional with me. When I cried, they crie d. They're wonderful people," Smith said. Vets are substituting other brands for the recalled pet food. Canin is covering the costs. Royal Canin has a hotline for concerned pet owners and vets to call. It is 800-567-8900. email@example.com
What was recalled Recalled Royal Canin pet food lines: * Canine LOW FAT LF canned (best before 06/07). * Canine CALORIE CONTROL CC in gel canned (best before 04/07 and 07/07). * Canine Urinary SO (best before 05/07 and 06/07). * Feline Sensitivity VR canned (best before 05/07). * Feline Sensitivity CR canned (best before 01/08 and earlier). * Feline CALORIE CONTROL CC canned (best before 01/08 and earlier). * Feline RENAL LP pouch (best before 06/07 and earlier). © 2006 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.
Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
City vet played critical role in food recall
Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
By Alexandra Paul
A Winnipeg veterinarian who tipped pet-food maker Royal Canin off to a problem in their prescription pet food played a critical role in prompting a massive pet food recall. Dr. Pat Dorval -- who was treating two sick cats at the time -- and her colleagues at Tuxedo Animal Hospital called Royal Canin to alert them to a vitamin D overload in some pet food, distributed exclusively through veterinarians. "At the time, we'd heard nothing about this in Canada. There was no product recall until we made this report about the two cats," Dorval said. But after the manufacturer ran tests that confirmed her findings in Winnipeg, they issued a nationwide recall. "Once Royal Canin received the testing results, we voluntarily withdrew specific products," said Royal Canin spokeswoman Tara Shields. It was a call from the Winnipeg clinic that made the brand-maker run extensive tests that confirmed a potentially lethal vitamin overdose in the pet food, the spokeswoman said in an e-mail yesterday. Royal Canin issued a voluntary recall last month of seven of their brands of tinned and dry dog and cat food. Royal Canin, whose parent company is worldwide confectionery company Mars Inc., is paying for tests to check animals for elevated vitamin D counts and for pet owners to trade in their tainted pet food for safe substitutes. The recall affects seven brands of Royal Canin dog and cat food. Word of the Winnipeg connection surfaced last week after a report about a Gimli woman, Christine Smith, whose dog was euthanized after eating a bad batch of the tainted dog food. Meanwhile, another pet owner last week reported her cat was euthanized after suffering the sa me symptoms as the dog. In both cases, the animals ate the same brand of pet food and had the same symptoms -- urinating excessively, drinking a lot, losing weight and losing their appetites. "The same thing that happened with that dog happened with my cat," Connie LeBlanc said. Dorval discovered the problem last fall when two cats with the same symptoms showed up at her clinic within a week. Blood tests on both showed elevated levels of vitamin D. At the time, the pet-food maker was already at work investigating similar complaints from dog owners in the United States. In January, the Canadian connection was confirmed, when Royal Canin called Dorval back to let her know she'd nailed the problem. firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO KEN GIGLIOTTI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
© 2006 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.