ubject: Latest Memo from the NJDA Division of Animal Health: Dog and Cat Food Contamination
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
To: Veterinarians and Animal Agriculture Constituents
From: Nancy E. Halpern, D.V.M., State Veterinarian
Date: December 21, 2005
Re: PET OWNERS URGED TO WATCH FOR SIGNS OF ILLNESS AFTER DOG AND CAT FOOD CONTAMINATION
(TRENTON) -- The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has contacted the state s network of animal care providers to watch for a potential life-threatening illness among dogs and cats. The Department has been informed that Diamond Pet Food has removed its dog and cat food from sale after a dangerous toxin was found in a product manufactured at the company s facility in Gaston, South Carolina. That plant supplies pet foods to New Jersey as well as New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and other East Coast states.
Since December 13, there have been reports, primarily from the Rochester, New York area, of about 14 dogs becoming sick after being fed a Diamond Pet Food product. To date, six of those dogs have died.
Testing by New York officials has confirmed aflatoxicosis as the probable cause of death of three of the animals. Aflatoxicosis results from ingesting aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic chemical produced by the growth of fungus on certain food and feeds.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is monitoring the situation in New York State and has informed the state s animal care providers of the potential problem, said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. We urge all pet owners to watch for signs of illness in their pets if they used the contaminated product and to contact their veterinarians immediately should their pets get sick.
Testing of Diamond Pet Food samples from the homes of the affected dogs in New York revealed at least one sample containing two and a half times the toxic level of aflatoxin for dogs. High-level aflatoxin exposure produces acute liver problems, which cause internal bleeding. There can be excessive fluid build up in tissue, alteration in digestion, and problems with absorption and/or metabolism of nutrients.
No animal species is immune to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins including humans; however, humans have an extraordinarily high tolerance for aflatoxin exposure and rarely succumb to acute aflatoxicosis.
Diamond Pet Food suggests that pet owners call their veterinarian immediately if their pet shows any of the following symptoms of illness: sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea.
The products removed from sale are:
Diamond Low Fat Dog Food
Diamond Hi-Energy Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Dog Food
Diamond Performance Dog Food
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Food
Diamond Puppy Food, Diamond Maintenance Cat Food
Diamond Professional Cat Food
Country Value Puppy, Country Value Adult Dog
Country Value High Energy Dog
Country Value Adult Cat Food
Kirkland Signature Maintenance Cat Food
Canine Club Adult Dog Food
Professional Chicken & Rice Senior Dog Food
Professional Reduced Fat Chicken & Rice Dog Food
Professional Adult Dog Food
Professional Large-Breed Puppy Food
Professional Puppy Food
Professional Reduced Fat Cat Food
Professional Adult Cat Food.
For more information, please call Diamond Pet Food at (573) 229-4203 or the Division of Animal Health, New Jersey Department of Agriculture at (609) 292-3965.