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30 November 2007


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Taken from Itchmo blog:

The MSU vet/researcher that did the study for the AAVLD survey saying that 226 pets died in North America owns a toxicology consulting business.

Here it is

Wilson K. Rumbeiha is the founder and CEO of a corporation called the Clinical Toxicology Consultants International:


Dr. Wilson K Rumbeiha

President and CEO, CTCI

1828 Yosemite Dr.

Okemos, MI 48864


So, my question is — Did Wilson Rumbeiha conduct the survey as an independent scientist at MSU?

Or was Wilson’s corporation, CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY CONSULTANTS INTERNATIONAL (CTCI Corp.), his corporation, hired to conduct the survey?

…Just asking because I didn’t see any info posted in the articles.



Centralized early warning system for vets?

Sounds great, but in my experience some vets - a lot of them - are so one-track-minded that they don't see what is right before their eyes.

My (former) vet does, to this day, not believe that our cat got poisoned by Iams' Premium Pet Poison. He is still convinced that the cat has CRF.

Not even lab results can somehow sway his opinion, and whatever the owner says is not finding any interface between his ears.

This vet thinks that the whole scandal was some over-hyped reaction of some over-hysterical pet owners who can't face the truth that animals get old and die.

Would he change his outlook if there would be a centralized databank that tells him, oh, yes, that pet poison *is* real and *thousands* of pets have already died...?

steve a

I'll only say about the media that their business is entertainment. Regurgitators, I mean reporters, just have to sound basically right to their editors who are not interested in facts so much as ratings or copy sold.

As to proof, I accepted days after the recall that we would never have proof. We just have a cat which had consumed food of brands that were recalled and suddenly had kidney failure which has improved but never quite fully recovered from. Technically nothing more than a coincidence...

The Vet is convinced there are no cases whatsoever in the county so it is unlikely we are the only ones therefore contaminated food is not the issue with our sick kitty. What more proof do you want. (By the way, City of Renton, King County, Washington) by this standard of (ahem) analysis nobody at all in this community fed any of the contaminated products and had sick animals at all.

I do wish there were a way to check the local statistics, but that lack of data has been hashed here many times...

Nope, the burden of proof is greater than the vast majority of cases can carry. Heck the majority could probably not even meet the preponderance of the evidence standards, forget about proof.

Since one cannot prove it then one is just seeking attention by chasing after a story found on the Internet and trying to become a victim by being part of it. One really probably should seek professional help, shouldn't one.

Well, there is what I can prove, what I know, and what I think. At least I know the difference from a legal standpoint. It does look like a duck, it sounds a lot like a duck, but I can't provide the DNA evidence, so it really could be a chicken with melamine gravy...

Live securley all you paranoids out there ;)

On the other hand, my investments in Monsanto have paid the vet bills to date, there's a kind of twisted justice there I guess...


I've often thought that there is a huge conflict of interest when most of our media outlets are owned by big business. Big business has a vested interest in keeping the reported numbers low. I guess informed consumers will have to regard most information disseminated today as highly suspect.

Nadine L.

It's being reported all over the media everywhere! This could be a golden opportunity for Dr. Pion and VIN to immediately challenge those numbers with it's own right now while the story has resurfaced and is hot (at least for the moment).

I'm wondering why the great media coverage now. Perhaps there's some funding behind the findings? Which agency is paying for this? Or is it just that there's no big celebrity crisis in the news this week?


My cat also ate Nutro recalled cat food. He didn't die or have kidney failure and I stopped feeding that food at the first hint of problems with "cuts and gravy". He did have bladder issues and was also very very sick at the same time the recall began. Now he is affected by crystals too. I certainly think I was affected but Nutro denied my claim. No det pet, no kidney failure. What about future issues? This doesn't stop with the dead but continues with the living.

BTW. Menu foods closed a $1 yesterday, an all time low. Maybe the 224+ souls are haunting you.


Terrific job on this story Christie. Certainly wish there were reporters and vets out there that would be more on top of this like you and Gina are. Keep up the great work. When I heard the report by the news media last night (only one channel in my area reporting it), thought what a

slap in the face to all the people whose pets suffered and died or the pets who will be forever at risk because of money and profit.


My cat, George, was dead and buried by the time we realized what had killed him. But we still had some of the food, blood tests done 2 months prior to his becoming sick, and the blood test after he got sick showing profound kidney failure. The combination of these plus a letter from my vet describing George's condition and prior health history resulted in Proctor & Gamble's paying our claim for the vet costs very quickly. A recent observation - the supermarket (a Pathmark) where I used to buy George's food (Iams) no longer carries any Iams products.


My cat ate those Nutro packets almost every night for dinner. I think it's only by the grace of Providence that she's still alive and healthy.

A week after the recall was announced, when I had her at the animal hospital for blood tests to make sure her kidneys were still ok, my own vet told me I was probably overreacting because only sixteen animals had gotten sick. It scares the living daylights out of me that they weren't any more informed than the rest of us. (I've changed vets, by the way.)

Greer H.

Thanks for the update, when I read the Reuters release on MSNBC.com I was incensed and shocked at the small numbers but I am glad to hear they are still studying the data but no I am not holding my breath.

I am sure that my 4 1/2 year old Sheltie, Roxy will never be counted as she died a few day prior to the recall and we (my family and our vet) just didn't have an explanation for it. No we didn't save the food containers why would we, yes she died of acute kidney failure.

Still I have no faith in the FDA or any other government agency in protecting us or our pets. Animals are a great barometer of our environment and we should pay close attention to them. Thats why getting the word out is so important as hours not days can be the difference between life and death.

I consider petconnection.com to be a great resource, thank you.

Greer H.

Oak Park, IL


Gina, Dr. Pion obviously has brain cells that synapse. He deserves credit for speaking out and creating an awareness.

I want to see that early warning system - a centralized knowledgebase that ALL veterinarians, world-wide, can access. A place where they can learn of epidemics, a place where they can enter any suspicious findings at their own practices, so that all information can be collateralized.

Bill and Melinda Gates! Are you listening???

Gina Spadafori

To your point, Lynn: Dr. Pion in fact said at the conference that he believes problem of tainted food has happened before but wasn't recognized as such -- and would happen again, not only to pets but to people.

As Christie and I were back-and-forthing on this story today, someone else asked me if since the pet-food recall I make my own food choices differently.

"You bet I do," I said.


I'll say it again: the media and particularly the Associated Press was largely responsible for so many professionals dismissing the matter. AP's insistent use of "16 deaths" was reported over and over again, leading most people to conclude that these were isolated cases. AP should have stated that there was a potential of thousands of deaths. That, at least, would have stirred up some scientific interest and could have paved the way for earlier investigation and laboratory work.

But AP stuck to "16" deaths. And not once did they state that the FDA [who came up with the 16] simply STOPPED COUNTING AFTER THEY VERIFIED 16 DEATHS.

And shame on all the other media outlets who parrotted AP's numbers.

And now they come along and try to insult our intelligence by telling us that only a few hundred died?


This has to be said: the entire veterinary community has one of the POOREST "early warning" systems in the US. And after all this, has anyone linked all the vets into a common knowledgebase so that the vets aren't in the dark next time this happens. And yes, with so many safeguards still lacking I cannot help but believe this has the potential of happening again.

We are no better off then we were the first time.


What about the pets that sickened, but lived?

Lindsey is now on special meds for the rest of his life, but after no one contacted me for 3 months, I tossed the food (then the PA FDA field office called me 2 weeks later! :-P). Iams refused our claim, so I'm stuck with a $1,000 vet bill to save his life and $50/month in meds to keep him going.

Sure, he's worth it, but it galls me that he won't show up on any stats except the ones here on Pet Connection -- while I filed complaints with the FDA and IAMS, since Lindsey is alive, they haven't bothered to follow up.

The only thing I can do, it appears, is stop buying items from China and be more careful about what all of us eat. My husband's having a fit right now because he needs a new toothbrush and we can't find one that hasn't been made in China. We've stopped going to our favorite seafood restaurant because they won't tell us where the seafood is from. I toss every box at the grocery store that says "Made in China" back in the freezer/shelf.

I don't know what else to do -- a faceless bunch of greedy corporate and Chinese wannabe-corporate bastards poisoned my cat and damaged him for life -- and they are getting away with it because he'll never show up in anyone's statistics. Makes me very, very mad.



Dare I ask if Rumbeiha got a USG grant to do th e study?

That would be the ultimate barf.

Nadine L.

"The AAVLD formed a work group that wrote a white paper in May proposing to expand the focus of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network beyond infectious disease to include toxins. According to the paper, the NAHLN Veterinary Analytical Toxicology Response and Surveillance system would complement the Food Emergency Response Network by concentrating more on animal health than on food."

From the JAVMA News


IMO some sort of conclusive evidence was necessary to come up with in order to win government funding.


Nice sleuthing, Nadine L.

I second your opinion about them having enough evidence by May in order to substantiate their claims [in orer to win funding].

Why doesn't that surprise me? Makes you wonder what other information they've got in their offices that we don't know about.

It's always about money.


Apparently this lab has been awarded USG Homeland Security federal grants for some time now.



It's six months old, but what do you make of this?


Nadine L.

Comment by Lynn — November 30, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

Another dog and pony show. Just like this press release today.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

When I first learned of this Brandy was laying in the back of my pickup wrapped in a tarp already dead from the missed diagnosis - old age and bladder problems.

That was March 16, 2007.

The new food we had just started her on was Sprout Beef Cuts & Gravy which was already on the list but with Feb. dates, not the October 28 lot # we had. When I called the vet to see if Brandy could be examined to determine if she was in fact a victim of the poisoning she blew me off saying that the lots didnt match so she was "comfortable with the diagnosis".

On Wis. Public Radio www.wpt.org you may still be able to find the program archive with Dr. Sandy Sawchuk that day saying that she thought it was "... a slow news day."

Brandy's symptoms were so spot on and the food change of an affected brand was so marked that I was stunned by the lack of curiosity on the part of our local vet community. Looking back, the lots steadily marched backward in time and eventually ended with 11/09, one batch short of the 10/28 date we had.

As a result of all of this I remain convinced of three things.

1. The slow uptake of individual vets resulted in gross under reporting of the illness.

2. All of the lot numbers and history of usage of the Xiong products have not been discovered or disclosed.

3. Many animals certainly died due to the high cost of diagnosing and then treating the problem which meant that many many more never even saw a vet.

I think it is not only 10,000. This guy is right. Its TENS of THOUSANDS.

Here is one that was never counted officially but see this image and count at least one more...



Out of all the thousands and thousands of bags of dog and cat food, they actually want us to believe only 300+ people fed their pets this poison. Are we some kind of idiots or what that they think we will buy this dumb logic?

Colorado transplant

Well, don't hold your breath, now.

On the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, there is information Pfizer is starting up production pretty soon in ASIA for drugs.

Maybe stats for humans will be there--as to how many humans are poisoned from imported drugs.

So scary. We will now have China making a lot of drugs. WOW

Colorado transplant




Where do you suppose all the $4 prescriptions Wal-Mart is advertising are coming from . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Colorado transplant

Where are all the labels "Made in America"?

Did our standards get too tough?

Why was I so naive that I kept giving my cats poisoned packets of Nutro even though I saw red blood in the stools of one cat and blamed it on her "old age"?

And I thought everything was being scrutinized by our "government".

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

At the end of his book now ironically titled "Animal Farm" George Orwell described the animals peering into the house formerly occupied by the farmer and saw the pigs sitting at the table with the other farmers and his words were something like this....

"And the animals looked from pig to man and man to pig and could not tell the difference..."

Earlier Lennin said that "...the capitalists will sell us the ropes to hang them with!"

Both have come true and we in our lazy self interested ways have allowed it to happen encouraged by the zealous mythology created by men like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan and hundreds more.

While we cower in our boot from the terrorists under our beds our lives are being sold to the highest (or in this case lowest) bidders.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

One correction: I gave an innacurate link to Wis. Public Radio. It should have been www.wpr.org - not wpt (radio not television).

Check the Larry M. show archives.

Colorado transplant

I am getting out from under my bed, Bernie, and am trying to avoid my family (including cats) and me from being sold to the "lowest bidder".

Very well stated, Bernie, and I look forward to the day when the fear propaganda is converted into positive solutions and keeps us from wanting to hide under the bed.

Gina Spadafori

Interestingly enough, I asked the vendors of anything edible (food, treats, toys) at the AKC Championship show about where ingredients and manufacturing were done. Answers were interesting, everything from "We're an American company" (yeeessss, but where was this made?) to "I think it's on the label" (um, no) to "Our products are safe" (how do you know?) to "Oh, that was all media hype. That China thing wasn't big at all!" (Uh-huh, really?)

There's definitely concern about consumer concerns regarding overseas manufacture and ingredients, if not a hecka lot of action.

Nadine L.

Comment by Colorado transplant — December 2, 2007 @ 7:04 am

Many U.S. companies are building manufacturing facilities in China. Their allegiance is no longer to the U. S., but rather to Global Economy.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

I give my new pal Scout my food whenever possible even if it means sneaking pieces of steak or whatever literally under the table.

The commercial dog food is scrictly a free choice thing when he gets peckish.

He is particularly fond of McDonald's double cheeseburgers at $1.00 ea. and has gotten to know that good things come out of the little window.

When you calcualte it out, how much more expensive is it really? Unless you eat much better or higher priced stuff than I do, I think not much.

My mom used to buy stuff like chicken necks and other scrap meats on sale for the dogs we had back then. She would cook them up and parcel them out along with left overs and other scraps and we bought really very little "pet" food. All of our dogs lived good long lives unless they met with an accident or such.

What do you think is in those little nuggets but much the same thing if not much much worse.

I recently was going thru the pet section of the store that sold us the Sprout dog food that killed my old friend Brandy and a woman was there handing out samples. I told her about Brandy and said that my new guy east what I eat. I was somewhat surprised at the well rehearsed answer I got... "He may not be getting the suppliments!"

Really? Isnt that was Xiong was selling? If Nadine had not posted that info from their website I may never have put together what these people were doing. Suppliments my big Polish butt! More better living through chemistry...

I think we have been marketed into believing that you have to have the right label on the bag or can to make it "dog" or "cat" food which is I think... stupid.

Nobody in the grocery store ever said that I was not getting all the right suppliments. What's next? Purina Human Chow?

Yeah, right.

Cathy Z.

Purina Human Chow? Soylent Red and Soylent Green? I for one will not be shocked when they come on the market.

Nadine L.

Bernie and Cathy Z - How do we know that we're not already getting human chow? Meat and meat-by-products...what do these mean? What KIND of meat? And exactly whose bones are in bone meal?! I know...stop already. We could make ourselves sick just playing around with nebulous terms.

Erich Riesenberg

The problem is not the country in which a product is made, or corporate greed. Companies don't have greed, people do. Find a company run by people you trust and understand what they are saying is in their product.

One brand I use, Flint River Ranch, never experienced any recall. Another, Natural Balance, has had at least two different recalls.

Also, I buy bags several months in advance, keeping them in enclosed, cool containers. If there is a recall, I hope I will hear about it before I feed it.


I'm doing a lot more of "the pets eat what I eat." If it's a whole food that won't hurt them (raisins and alliums being out) and it falls to the floor or it's a scrap, the pets get it.

I'm buying less junk for the humans (since I don't know where all those ingredients came from), so the pets are eating better, too.

Bernie, I'm shocked that YOU are eating at McDonald's, let alone your dog. As a teenager, I was part of a summer touring singing group and I knew when we'd been eating at McDonald's too often because I broke out in cold sores. Poor Scout is going to need supplements if you keep feeding him there! Surely, you've got friends you could buy a side of grass-fed beef (or bison -- lots of folks switching over here in PA as they take care of themselves and get big quick on grass) from so that everyone eats better! :-D

Sandi K

Comment by Erich Riesenberg — December 3, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

Erich, I dont want to dash your hopes and sound paranoid but unfortunately we were buying our cats food several months worth at a time (we would buy up to 12 cases because we had to get it thru mail and living in Alaska you cant always trust the weather). Well we got our shipment of food in Nov 06 and all of it turned out to be recalled in April 07. Our cat died in March. So buying food several months in advance doesnt guard your pet or you from coming into contact with tainted food. And Im not knocking Flint River as a food as we never tried it but I think it does have corn gluten meal in it, do you know where they purchase that from?

Sandi K

I need to add that it was the cat food from Flint River Ranch that has corn gluten meal in it, I dont know if the dog food has it or not. And I dont know where they get their corn gluten meal from.

Erich Riesenberg

I don't think Flint River has ever had a recall, if so it is not mentioned on their site. Some of their foods do contain wheat but not wheat gluten. I don't think any of their foods contain corn. They talk about buying from major US suppliers, using USDA plants and such.


I may start buying even further in advance, I think it is one of the few ways I can find out about a recall before feeding my pets. With all the problems with toys and food, I don't think anything can be assumed to be safe. Hopefully the federal government will begin working on consumer safety again in January 2009.


Thought you might be interested in this re the FDA's role


Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

I had to come and revisit this today.

My old pal Dr. Sawchuk was on the Larry Meiler show again today and happily repeated the Michigan numbers as if they were fact. This is the same vet that as the events were unfolding described it as "... a slow news day."

It makes my head want to explode when I hear a teacher from a major vet school sounding so oblivious to the actual science that is out there.

The show is still on as I type so it wont be on the show arhive page yet today but click on this tomorrow and you should see it.


Re: Eating at McD's. Although I am in my mid 50s I have no significant cholesterol or BP issues. Just lucky I guess. Also, Don Gorski from the movie "Supersize Me" who eats at McD's every day from Fond du Lac Wi.was my college chem lab partner. I also went to highschool with his wife. Go figure!

Not to worry. We dont do it every day ourselves! But I bet its still better than the crap in those "dog" food cans!

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

Just a little addendum:

Dr. Sawchuk also suggested that washing your hands after handling pet food is a good idea since it frequently contains things like salmonella.

Yum yum! I bet that makes you want to feed that stuff to fido or fi fi!

Those double cheeseburgers looking a little better maybe?


Some so-called professionals have the common sense equivalent of an amoeba...or maybe less.

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