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Farragut pet owners spared

Symptoms of kidney failure such as lethargy, loss of appetite, disorientation, vomiting and excessive thirst, have haunted Farragut pet owners since a March 16 pet food recall.

The deaths, 13 cats and two dogs as of press time, are enough to scare any pet owner into action. And they have.

Many Farragut veterinarian offices and animal hospitals report an increase in the number of phone calls and office visits they have received since the recall.

Of the 12 Farragut vets contacted, only Admiral Veterinary Hospital, Lange Animal Hospital and Morgan Rhea Village Veterinary Clinic said they have not seen an increase in either calls or office visits as a result of the recall.

However, some animals have been treated for symptoms similar to those listed in the recall,

Dr. Webb with Rocky Hill Animal Hospital said, “None of the animals I’ve treated had been said to have eaten the food.”

None of the contacted Farragut vets have seen any recall-related deaths. None have had to treat any animals as a result of the recall. As a precautionary step, though, five Farragut vet offices have relied on lab work to confirm a pet hasn’t been affected by the contaminated food. These offices include Banfield The Pet Hospital, Bluegrass Animal Hospital, Concord Veterinary Hospital, Farragut Animal Clinic and Northshore Animal Hospital.

All this good news doesn’t mean pet owners shouldn’t take additional precautions. All office personnel concurred any recalled pet food should be thrown away, or returned to the retailer for a refund. Pets that have consumed the recalled food should be closely observed for any of the symptoms listed by the Federal Drug Administration and Menu Foods, manufacturer of the recalled food.

In a press conference March 23, Paul K. Henderson, president and CEO of Menu Foods, said the drug aminopterin has been identified in the recalled food, and is believed to be the source of the renal failure in cats and dogs.

“We are happy and relieved that the experts from the New York State Department of Agriculture and from Cornell University have discovered the root of the issue that has harmed North American cats and dogs,” Henderson said. “Our immediate next steps will be to begin testing of all suspect raw materials with the goal of quickly identifying the means through which this substance entered our supply chain.”

The recall affects 42 brands of cat food and 53 brands of dog food, manufactured by Menu Foods, the leading North American private-label/contract manufacturer of wet pet food products sold by supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers and other retail and wholesale outlets. Though the recall only applies to food manufactured Dec. 3, 2006, through March 6, 2007, Menu Foods has asked retailers to withdrawal all varieties, regardless of the date of manufacturing, as an occasional contaminated package has found its way onto grocery store shelves despite the widely reported recall.

Dry pet food of any brand is not affected by this recall, as Menu Foods does not manufacture dry pet food. For a full list of all affected brands, please visit or call the Recall Information Hotline at 866-895-2708 or 866-463-6738.


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