Wednesday, June 6, 2007

ASPCA issues alert on Acetaminophen in Pet Food

From petconnection.com
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has just issued a warning following the reports of acetaminophen in pet food:

With reports that acetaminophen has been found in brands of cat and dog food not included on the Menu Foods recall list, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today reminded pet parents that vigilance is the key to keeping their pets safe and healthy—coupled with a strong dose of common sense.

“Though reports of dogs and cats poisoned from the Menu Foods recall seem to have abated, this news is extremely worrying,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), located in its Midwest Office in Urbana, Ill.

“Our data show that if an average-sized cat ingests as little as one extra-strength acetaminophen pain-reliever caplet and is not treated in time, it can suffer fatal consequences,” continued Dr. Hansen. “Depending on the amount ingested, clinical effects can include a condition called ‘methemoglobinemia,’ which affects the ability of blood cells to deliver oxygen to vital organs, or even liver damage.”

“At this point, we have very little information as to the actual level and concentration of this reported contamination, so it’s extremely important to be able to recognize any potential warning signs of this kind of poisoning.” However, early information on this contamination suggests that concentration levels are not high enough to have an adverse effect on most dogs; cats are more at-risk.

Dr. Louise Murray, director of medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital (BMAH) in New York City, and a board-certified internist, elaborates further. “Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen toxicity for two reasons. First, they don’t have enough of a specific enzyme that enables the body to metabolize the drug well. Second, cats are typically more susceptible to red blood cell damage than certain other species of animals. Put these together with a high dose of acetaminophen, and you have a potentially deadly combination.”

The most common effects of acetaminophen poisoning in cats include swelling of the face and paws; depression; weakness; and difficulty in breathing. “We also see a condition called ‘cyanosis,’” said Dr. Hansen, “which is literally when their gums and tongue start turning a muddy color due to the lack of oxygen.”

In 2006, the APCC received more than 78,000 calls to its hotline involving common human drugs such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements—a 69 percent increase over 2005.

Until more information is provided by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the ASPCA urges pet parents to keep an eye out for any signs of illness in their pets, and also report any changes in dietary consumption or behavior to their veterinarian immediately. Those considering a home-cooked diet for their pets should do so in consultation with their veterinarian, or visit the ASPCA’s Web site for more information.

“It is important to remember to never give any medication to your pet without first talking to your veterinarian, and always store potentially poisonous substances in a secure cabinet above the countertop and out of the reach of pets,” said Dr. Hansen. “If you think your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, you should take her to your veterinarian immediately.”

The ASPCA continues to monitor the pet food recall situation, and is providing regular updates and advice for pet parents, at its Pet Food Recall Resource Center at www.aspca.org/recall .

The release is not yet up on the A’s Web site. Will link when it is.

1 comment:

fedupinpa said...

Thank you for keeping us all aware, I am sorry to hear about your loss.

I hope you don't mind, I have posted a link on my blog at http://thehub.yes.debtfree.org

please come visit me and comment on what my visitors have posted about petfoods and their potential harm to our family members.

Volunteers Needed! Get food off shelves...

howl911.com, itchmo.com, thepetfoodlist.com, petconnection.com, petfoodtracker.com and spockosbrain.com have joined together to ask for your help.
Update 6-10: Recalled food was purchased from a
California store on 5-29th – this stuff is still out there!
We need Volunteers to help get recalled food off store shelves. Read this post at Spocko’s Brain for instructions. Print a list (or two) on this site. Visit stores, then report safe stores here at Itchmo.com.

Printing Information:
1. Print the main FDA Pet Food Recall page http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html – this will be handy to show retailers who haven’t heard anything about the recall. (3 pages)

2. Print the list of 14 Major National Brands - it includes flavors and date information where applicable so you can tell if specific products for these brands have been recalled. The brands are: Alpo Prime Cuts, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Doctors Foster and Smith, Eukanuba, Gravy Train, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Jerky Treats, Lick Your Chops, Mighty Dog Pouches, Natural Balance, Nutro, Pounce, Royal Canin. (It’s 7 pages and includes FDA contact information.)

3. Print the List of All Brands – it will remind you what products have been recalled - but it does not give you date and flavor information, there is just too much to put in one document. (7 pages, but the 7th page is links to more detailed information so you don’t need to print it)

If you want, and are going to a store that you know has store brands that have been recalled (such as Walmart), go to that recall information at the links on the summary or at the FDA site and print it out. Some of the information is formatted in ways that make it difficult to read (one of the main reasons for this site), but it’s better than nothing.

Note: The FDA is the official source for all recall information and recalled products. This is an unofficial volunteer effort to help get the word out and get recalled foods off of shelves. We’re doing the best we can but can’t guarantee these lists are completely accurate. Again, here is the official recall site: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html