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Aflatoxin In Pet Food

What is Aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. It can cause severe liver damage in pets, which can lead to fatality. Dog food made with affected crops can transmit Aflatoxin to your pets. If your pet shows any of these symptoms below, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms

  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellow whites of the eyes, gums, belly)
  • Severe, persistent vomiting combined with bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Discolored urine

How Can My Pet get Poisoned?

The brand names Diamond, Country Value and Professional were reported with Aflatoxin in 2005. Hy-Vee recalled their food as a precautionary measure for Aflatoxin on January 11, 2013. Though no deaths have been reported from Hy-Vee products, reports have shown that at least 100 dogs nationwide have died as a result of eating contaminated Diamond Pet Foods. Most pet owners who have lost their dog to Aflatoxin were completely unaware that their dog was poisoned, which is why it is important that pet owners are informed of the situation.

Cocoa, a 9-year-old chow, suffered liver damage from tainted pet food. Cocoa must had to be force-fed with a syringe six times a day after suffering permanent liver damage from eating contaminated dog food. Stewart, a 19-year-old nursing student at the University of South Carolina had to constantly take care of her. Stewart's other dog, a 2-year-old pit bull named Chulo, died just hours after being diagnosed with liver failure. It was only then that the family learned of the recall.

What’s Being Done?

Diamond recalled 19 varieties of dog and cat food after tests showed high levels of aflatoxin and Hy-Vee recalled all compromised food from stores across several states. Diamond recalled products manufactured at its Gaston, S.C., plant from around September to November 2005. Diamond also narrowed down the exposure to food produced on Oct. 11 based on testing.

According to Diamond, the 23 states that have been affected are: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.

The FDA said it is continuing to investigate the situation and is working closely with the state feed regulatory agencies in the affected states. Some of the products included in the recall were exported to at least 29 countries in the European Union. The FDA said those countries have been notified.

Diamond also mad the announcement that any unused portions of recalled pet food should be returned to the retailer where it was purchased for a refund or replacement. According to press reports, Diamond has also offered to compensate pet guardians who can confirm that their pet died or became ill as a result of eating the contaminated food.

What You Should Do

Aflatoxin poisoning can be cured, but only if it's caught early. Since dogs can take several days to three weeks to exhibit serious signs of illness, all animals that consumed recalled food should be examined by a veterinarian as early as possible. Physical exams and blood tests are necessary to determine if dogs have been poisoned or not. Owners also should take cats that might have eaten contaminated dog food to a vet.





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