Updates on this post are appearing here.
There have been a couple of developments in the pet food recall I’ve been posting about for the last week or so. First, Menu Foods, the manufacturer of the food sold under a large number of brand names by many retailers, has announced that it will compensate owners for their vet bills. From Menu Foods’s FAQ page:
If Menu Foods product is the cause of sickness or death, Menu Foods will take responsibility. Menu has engaged a professional firm to manage your concerns and is currently contacting concerned pet owners who have reached our call center. Specific direction will be received from these individuals. Please keep copies of all your vet records and receipts for pet food purchases as well as vet bills.
Another development is that Banfield’s, the largest private owner and operator of veterinary hospitals, has reported that over the last three months they’ve seen 200-250 cats with kidney failure more than they would have expected over the period:
There is no national reporting system for animal injury or death, so official numbers are impossible to come by. However, data from the nation’s largest chain of pet hospitals, Banfield, suggests it is as high as hundreds a week.
Over the three months the food was on the market, the more than 600 Banfield hospitals in 43 states saw 200 to 250 cases of kidney failure in cats above the usual number that would have been expected, says Hugh Lewis, president of Data Savant, Banfield’s data collection arm.
During that period the Banfield vets saw 100,000 cats. Extrapolating to the entire cat population of the USA, that could mean “we’re probably talking several hundred cats a week across the country being affected,” Lewis said.
Another possible indicator is a database being compiled by the website Pet Connection. As of 2 p.m. on Friday, owners had reported 1,201deceased pets, 741 cats and 460 dogs, said one of the sites writers Gina Spadafori.
She cautioned that those figures were self-reported by pet owners and had not been confirmed by veterinarians. But those posting to the database were asked to check that their pet had indeed been eating one of the recalled foods and to also give contact information for the veterinarian, so the numbers are likely somewhat accurate, says Spadafori.
The web site for Pet Connection is here.
My previous posts on the pet food recall: