A frightening number of pet food brands - which started with mostly "cuts and gravy" wet foods, but now includes at least one dry brand (Hillís Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry), and some treats - have been recalled after reports of serious illness and deaths of pets. A contamination of wheat gluten used in the foods appears to be responsible, although scientists are till investigating the exact reasons.
While the specific mechanism is not yet known, the sickened pets show signs of kidney damage and failure. If your pet shows signs of illness or kidney failure, call your veterinarian immediately. Signs of kidney failure include: changes in urination, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, increased thirst or refusal to drink, listlessness, and loss of appetite. Of course, such serious symptoms should always get a vet's attention as soon as possible.
If your pet has consumed any of the contaminated foods, switch food brands immediately and keep a close eye on the animal, but don't panic. Many animals have eaten the recalled foods with no ill effects, and if your pet seems as healthy as ever, you don't need to rush them to the emergency vet, but do call your veterinarian and ask for more advice. If your pet was already suffering from kidney disease or complications and has eaten tainted food, call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for a checkup as soon as possible. Healthy pets don't need to rush. Veterinarians' offices and phone lines are swamped with panicked pet owners right now, so if your pets aren't ill and haven't eaten tainted food, they don't need to be seen.
The Menu Foods recall is a tragedy of heartbreaking, and as yet unknown proportions. But there are healthier options for pets' nutrition available. All Creatures Healing Network advocates and encourages raw, organic or home cooked diets for pets, as there is more of a chance to control the quality and type of ingredients in the foods your pets consume. There are many options available. For a complete raw meat diet SF Raw is a collective that buys and distributes organic, free range meats for pets. Primal Foods and Jeffrey's Natural Foods prepare natural and organic diets for pets, and there are recipes available for mixing pet food with ingredients you select and buy yourself. Please refer to our links page for more info on these options.