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Kidney Failures from Contaminated Pet Food

Tainted Pet Food Strikes Sonoma County, CA, Rest of Nation

SONOMA COUNTY , CA -- April 2, 2007 -- At least one cat in Sonoma County has suffered near fatal kidney injuries, resulting in five nights in the animal hospital and a $7,000 veterinary bill, after eating pet food manufactured by Menu Foods that may have contained a chemical used in making plastics. Several other cases have been reported in pet care facilities around the county.

Nationwide, 15 cats and one dog have died from these products, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has fielded at least 8,000 complaints. The number of reported kidney failures is even higher--471, according to the Veterinary Information Network, a web site serving veterinarians. It predicts that animal deaths and illnesses could increase in the coming weeks.

So far, Menu Foods has recalled 60 million cans and pouches of pet food. The list includes 53 dog foods and 42 cat foods and ranges from grocery store brand names such as Winn Dixie to more specialized foods such as IAMs and Eukanuba. The recall involves the "cuts and gravy" style of pet food plus one dry cat food product, Hill's Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry Food.

Last month, the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University and the New York State Food Laboratory found that the pet foods were tainted with aminopterin, a chemical used as a rat poison and also prescribed in certain cancer treatments. Although the FDA could not confirm that the pet foods contained aminopterin, it discovered that the products contained melamine, a chemical used in making plastics and fertilizers.

Both the melamine and aminopterin were contained in wheat gluten imported from China. Wheat gluten is an ingredient used as a gravy thickener. Del Monte Food Products, which also received wheat gluten from the same manufacturer, has now recalled several of its pet beef jerky treats (Press Release, March 31, 2007). Sunshine Mills, Inc. has recalled several brands of its dog biscuits containing wheat gluten, and Nestle Purina PetCare has recalled some dog food sold under the Alpo® and Mighty Dog® brand names.

Getting Help for Your Sick Pet

The FDA provides a complete, up-to-date list of the recalled pet foods as well as press releases from the companies involved in the recalls (FDA, Pet Food Recall). Menu Foods has said on its web site that it will take responsibility if its product "is the cause of sickness or death" (FAQ, Menu Foods). It advises pet owners to save their veterinary bills and to call 1-866-895-2708.

At Brayton Purcell, we care about pets and want to help. If you believe your Sonoma or Marin County cat or dog was a victim of tainted pet food, and you are unable to afford veterinary bills while waiting for the manufacturer to evaluate your claim, we are willing to try and help you obtain interim financial assistance. If you are having trouble dealing directly with the manufacturer regarding your veterinary bills, we can also assist you. Please feel free to call us at 1-866-809-5240 or to contact us through this web site for an evaluation of your case.

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