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« Liveblogging the pet food recall hearings | Main | Friday iPod Challenge - something new »

13 April 2007

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Sarah

Here's a link to the survey, then click on "AAVLD Pet Food Toxicity Survey"



http://www.aavld.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=35762&orgId=aavld



For some reason, the link to the survey itself says "do not copy this link".

Gwen

A question.. so, does this mean that those of us who don't meet two of the four criteria won't be considered "confirmed" cases?



I haven't had a urinalysis performed on my cat, and I don't have any remaining pet food to have tested..

catlover

I just got a call from Nutro! I'm kind of in shock. I don't even remember giving them my phone#.



My cats ate some of the food recalled 4/10 (which should have been tested & recalled way back in March!@#$) - about 30 cans worth. I sent 2 emails to Nutro that night. I do not have any cans left - I stopped feeding them Nutro around 3/16 and the only cans I have left arenot on the recall list. I brought them to the vet yesterday to be tested. They are doing a chem profile/CBC. The cats do not seem to have any symptoms.



The Nutro rep told me they were very sorry and and asked questions about the cats, such as how much of it they ate, whether I still had any cans left, what flavors, what symptoms. I asked him if Nutro was going to pay for the lab tests and he would not really answer me, he told me to callthem tomorrow after the results come back. He stated that my cats would have gotten sick right away if they ate the bad food, within a couple of days, even if they only ate it once.



I told him how angry I was over these cans not being recalled until 4/10, since they should have proactively recalled ALL of their food with wheat gluten around 3/16, or at the very least tested it at that time. He then asked me if the food in question had wheat gluten in it - I told him it did according to the website. (I wonder if some of the newly recalled cans do NOT have wheat gluten???)



Every time I asked if they were going to pay for the lab tests, or complained about how irresponsibly Nutro has behaved during this tragedy, all he could say was something along the lines of, We understand your pets are a part of your family and we are so sorry for all of this, yadda yadda yadda. He did say he was taking all of my comments down, but what they do with it remains to be seen.

David

Nice move on the part of the "AAVLD" to help rgwe FDA minimize the impact of this debacle... thanks for nothing, tools...

David

"AAVLD advises that cases should meet two of the following four criteria:



1. known exposure to one of the recalled pet foods

2. histologic lesions consistent with crystal-induced tubular nephrosis (pictures are posted on the AAVLD Web site)

3. urinalysis with crystals (also posted on the site) and/or

4. chemical confirmation of the presence of melamine or other marker chemicals in pet food, tissues, or urine."

----

Oh, and by the way... your regular vet probably is not set up to help you with #s 3 - 4... but don't worry... you can pay extra to have a member of the "AAVLD" document this for you....



If the FDA really agreed to this ridiculous arrangement, it it is one more piece of evidence that the FDA is run by gullible fools...

Jenny

I can't believe it. What about the people who had pets die before they announced the criteria and are long gone and buried - or even more those that died before the recall!! So, they will miss the majority of the cases with their criteria. And poor people like Gwen who knows the cause of her pets illness or death - but just can't prove it. And as David said - the vets that aren't set up to do the tests they mention.

David

Jenny,



As you no doubt realize, that's the whole point... minimize the "official" count...



It's a sign of our times that "professionals" in "veterinary medicine" would so transparently agree to stack the deck this way....

PJ

Are vets required to be members of the AVMA? Or is it a convenient-looks good on my CV- organization? I know that in the Mental Health field Psychologists are not required to be members of the American Psychological Assoc. (APA). If AVMA is not required, then this is not an adequate tool. It will not reach ALL vets. The formation of "new" groups (of the same people) to look at problems always sounds reassuring and comforting.....NOT!

Carole

No, vets are not required to belong to the AVMA however the majority of them do. THE AVMA is not a governing institution, it serves as a focal point for vets and provides help in numerous area such as education, legislation, emergency care, ongoing research and cures, etc.

Sarah

Comment by Gwen — April 12, 2007 @ 6:51 pm



Gwen:



Is your cat dead? If not, then have a urinalysis completed right away. Have them check for both crystals and melamine, then you'll qualify for #3 and #4 if both are found.



Is your cat sick? If your cat saw a Vet, why didn't they do a urinalysis? If they didn't do a urinalysis, how did they decide it was a kidney issue?



If your cat isn't either sick or dead, then why would it need to qualify?

Gwen

My cat needs to qualify because he was sick, and I'd like to see Menu compensate me for the (sizable) veterinary expenses.



I purchased a few pouches of tainted food approx. 36 hours before the recall broke. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 hours after I started feeding him the stuff, he began exhibiting signs of renal failure (vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, increased urine output, etc.)



Bloodwork was done (significant elevation of both BUN and creatinine).. multiple times.. but no urinalysis. Not sure why it wasn't performed.



It's been nearly a month since he last ate the recalled food, and he's been asymptomatic since we started him on fluid therapy 3/17. Would there be any benefit to performing a urinalysis at this point?



I could be wrong, but I would assume any residual melamine would have been flushed out by now, seeing as he's spent the past four weeks receiving a combination of IV and SQ fluids. Additionally, if his kidneys are functioning within the normal range now (fingers crossed- going in for more bloodwork tomorrow), would anything show up on the urinalysis?



Just wondering.. I'll see what the vet has to say about it tomorrow.

Gwen

I should probably add that the cat in question is a FELV/FIV- previously healthy four-year-old who had recently been to the vet for his yearly check-up (everything checked out fine). He's an indoor cat, and hasn't set foot outside since he was trapped on 1/16/04.. so no access to antifreeze, no possibility of intentional poisoning courtesy of unfriendly neighbors. There are no poisonous plants in the house, (partly because I'm careful about this, and mainly because there ARE no plants in the house, period, as if I so much as look at a plant, it promptly keels over and dies). There is no question in my mind that this cat's illness was food-related.



Two of my other cats were also offered the food. One was excited when I opened the pouches, but after inspecting the food, refused to have anything to do with it, and yowled until the bowl was out of sight. The other happily ate it the first night, threw it up almost immediately, then refused to touch it again.. instead dumping the bowl and attempting to bury its contents. (This cat is not one to turn down food, particularly when said food happens to come in a can.) He exhibited no symptoms, and precautionary bloodwork came back normal. These cats knew something was amiss with that food.

Betty

I lost my beautiful little 21-year-old gray tabby cat, Luck, and my brother, who lives in another state, lost his dear 17-year-old tabby cat, Misty, to the contaminated food. My cat was put down on January 22nd; my brother's cat was put down after the recall announcement. Both cats unquestionably had eaten food on the recall list. Since this was not the usual food I fed my cat, I certainly did not have leftover food two months later. My brother did have leftover food and it did have the relevant code number. The cats had identical symptoms--those of acute kidney failure--but both of our vets were less than willing to declare these to be certifiable cases of deaths from the contamination because the cats were elderly. Mine, for example, had been previously diagnosed as having hyperthyroidism, and my vet said that it was nothing less than a miracle that she had survived as long as she had. However, Luck had not been at all sickly before she ate the contaminated food. I have to wonder how many other vets are not reporting legitimate cases because the "criteria" are uncertain or too stringent.



So, if the cat was elderly and perhaps had other chronic problems, the owner hadn't recently had the pet to the vet's for a urine and blood exam ($160 for one of these just done on my other cat) because either the pet was healthy or the owner couldn't afford the cost, the owner can't remember the precise flavor of the food but knows it was the gravy and hunks type and of a recalled brand, the owner doesn't have leftover food to be analyzed, the animal was put down months ago or even recently without an autopsy having been done, then the poor owner has to grieve privately for a much-loved cat who was poisoned without having that cat even being given the "honor" of being counted as "a casualty statistic."



I want Luck and Misty to be counted. However, I have not even registered the death of these pets on Pet Connection because the data base requires the information from the veterinarian, and I don't want the vets called under these circumstances. We still need to work with these vets.

laura S

****EVERYONE.....A GREAT NEW WEBSITE, GO TO www.pnv2.com. THEY HAVE A NATIONAL MAP TRACKER OF ALL ANIMALS WHO HAVE DIED DUE TO POISONED PET FOODS, TESTIMONIALS, PHOTOS AND MEMORIALS OF FAMILY PETS AFFECTED BY THIS, etc.. A FRESH APPROACH TO THIS HEARTBREAKING SUBJECT. PLUS....



THERE IS A NATIONWIDE MARCH PLANNED THAT THIS SITE TELLS ALL ABOUT...ANOTHER GREAT TOOL IN OUR INFO. ARSENAL!!!

Sarah

Gwen:



If it were me, I would have the urinalysis done now, by a competent laboratory who can look for both the right crystals and the melamine. You'll need to call your Vet and ask if their Lab has the analytical capacity to test for the melamine. If not, then ask your Vet to identify an appropriate lab and make sure that sample shipping and chain-of-custody are completed appropriately.



I don't know the retention time of melamine in the system. I agree with you that it's unlikely that it would still be present in your cat's system, but you certainly won't know unless you test for it, right? I don't know if anyone knows the retention time of melamine in the feline system. Perhaps you could call some of the researchers who are working on this and ask if they know. But my point is that NOT running a urinalysis means you will never stand a chance of proving there are crystals and/or melamine in the urine. But if you run the test, you MIGHT find something, right?



You also need to ask your Vet why he didn't do a urinalysis the first time around. And ask your Vet if he will write you a statement saying that he believes your cat's ARF was caused by the recalled food.



Lastly, just because your cat won't be included in the NUMBERS doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to be compensated. A numbers-tracking database isn't necessarily related in any way to the results of a class-action lawsuit. Write up (document) everything you have written here, including detailed info about your cats' reactions to the food, how that differs from their normal reactions, etc., including dates and times, and obtain your sales receipts for the food, all your Vet records, any phone calls you have made to report your case(s), to whom, what time, who you spoke with, what you spoke about, etc. If you don't have sales receipts, see if the store can print out an itemized receipt from their computer if you paid with a credit card, etc. Your documentation should read like a scientific diary of sorts, in chronological order of what happened and when. Keep a copy of it all. And contact one of the class-action attorneys and join the class-action suit.



Don't get caught up in whether or not your cat will be "counted" on the database or official numbers. Does it really matter? Thousands will be counted, so they'll know it's a big problem. Isn't the main concern that (a) they know the problem is big, and (b) that you get compensated for your Vet bills? Does it really matter if they record 7000 cases or 7001 ? No, it really doesn't. There will NEVER be an accurate count. Period. We all have to just accept that.

Cassie Davis

I'm not sure if this will help anyone trying to prove the presence of melamine but, during the three weeks my kitten ate the poison, his whiskers grew in black. After he came off the iv, they began growing in white again. So now he has white whiskers with a small band of black in them. The band of black and the new growth since his recovery appear equal in length. He ate the food for three weeks before I learned of the recall on March 18. He was in the hospital for 1 week with a drip and he has been home for three weeks. This is an indication to me that the poison can be found in the whiskers of affected pets using technology similiar to the drug analysis test for human hair. Drug residue remains trapped in hair, so testing the whiskers of affected pets may give confirmation of melamine poisoning even after the time period has expired for confirmation with a urinalysis.

Sarah

Cassie - that is AWESOME science sleuthing on your part!!! GREAT idea! And it's probably the same in all hair on the body, probably not just the whiskers, but maybe it only resulted in a color change on the whiskers and/or it was easier to notice on the whiskers due to the original color, the thickness of the hair, the short hair surrounding the whiskers, etc.



Gwen: This could be applicable in your case. Contact laboratories to find one who is capable of doing this kind of testing. If you don't seem to have much luck on your own finding a laboratory that is capable of this kind of testing, then I would contact the police and the military to ask what laboratories they use for this kind of testing.

catlover

To Cassie Davis - the black whiskers is very interesting, I had not heard about this before your post. It seems they should be able to test the whiskers, since they are able to test human hair for drugs.



It's also interesting that your kitten ate bad food for 3 weeks, and survived. This is great news! This certainly contradicts what the Nutro guy told me last night, he said if my cats had eaten any of their bad cans, they would have gotten very sick immediately within 2 days, after only a meal or so.



I am encouraged to hear the stories of pets surviving this ordeal, while saddened by the stories of those whose pets did not make it.

catlover

I had my cats tested on Wednesday, my vet did a CBC blood test since the cats had no symptoms, and the results came back today - it was good news, their BUN & creatinine(sp?) were within normal ranges. These are for kidney function. So we lucked out, the recalled food they ate must not have been contaminated yet. They ate at least 24 cans of the recalled Nutro kitten food, and 6 cans of the adult food. And by the way, the kitten food was loaf style, not cuts&gravy.



My vet did a CBC blood test since the cats had no symptoms. So if there is a silver lining here, I now have baseline blood tests for my young cats that we can refer back to if they ever get sick in the future.



I also now feel pretty comfortable with the new food they have been eating since March 16. I have been researching different brands and will be going to the "Pet Health Food Store" this weekend to try a couple other brands so I can give them some variety. I have also been giving them cheese & cooked meat for treats. I also got some freeze-dried 100% chicken treats at a cat show last week, they really love it, but it's tooexpensive.

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