As you probably know, Menu Foods found out about its tainted product through its “quarterly feeding trials”. The Sacramento Bee has obtained an email (registration required) that described what happened during those first few days following the trial. The testing in question was partially conducted to test a new product.
In summary, the email obtained by the newspaper indicates that pets may have severely limited kidney function even if they survived the toxin.
Household pets who ate suspect food and survived could have suffered life-shortening kidney damage, veterinarians say, and might need sophisticated kidney function tests and special diets.
“This could potentially be an issue for years and years for some of these animals that didn’t get sick,” said Jay Griffiths, who has six veterinary centers in the Sacramento area, including Sunset Animal Medical Center in Fair Oaks. “I’m very concerned that some of these pets are going to pop up with kidney failure down the road.”
The SacBee.com site requires a slightly elaborate registration process, so we have quoted the best bits after the jump.
(Thanks to PetConnection)
The e-mail, from Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center, outlined that in one test of 20 cats, only four escaped apparently unscathed. A Cornell expert who reportedly visited the test site did not return phone calls from The Bee.
While the e-mail describes the same overall number of deaths as the FDA, it indicates that one test in which cats had access to the food the longest ended with a 35 percent death rate and kidney damage in another 45 percent.
As described in the e-mail, the 20 cats were given a choice of two foods, including a product not yet on the market, to see how well they liked each one. That test ran for four days, Feb. 27 to March 2. The first cat died March 2, the second March 5, and later five more died. Of the 13 survivors, tests showed nine had impaired kidney function.
A separate test of another 20 cats, this time given only the unmarketed food for just two days, ended with two deaths and one survivor with kidney damage.
In a later test of 10 dogs, the e-mail said, all ate the food the first day, but afterward most refused to eat it at all, and vomit was found in one kennel.