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Am I the only one who would like to know how many dogs and cats have really died due to the recalled pet food?

A co-worker called me last night to tell me her brother's 2 year old Bloodhound is being put down due to kidney failure- her brother was mixing one of the recalled wet foods with the dog's kibble. Their vet is going to report it as a recalled food related death.

I have heard figures on pets affected ranging from the original 16 confirmed deaths, up to 39,000 animals that may be affected and have serious health problems into the future. One source is saying over 3000 have died.

Does anyone have a reliable source of vet reported deaths?
 

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Pet Connection maintains a count of owner-reported deaths, totalling 4,133 as of 04/14/07.

This new Wikipedia entry, 2007 North America Pet Food Recall, has a pretty good timeline. It also has this to say about a count of affected and deceased pets.
By the end of March, veterinary organizations reported more than 100 pet deaths amongst nearly 500 cases of kidney failure,[1] with one online database self-reporting as many as 3,600 deaths as of April 11.[2][3] As of April 8, Menu Foods has confirmed only about 16 deaths. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration refuses to estimate the amount of sick or dead because there is no centralized government records database of animal sickness or death in the United States as there are with humans (such as the Centers for Disease Control).[4] As a result, many sources speculate that the actual number of affected pets may never be known and experts are concerned that the actual death toll could potentially reach into the thousands.[5][6][/b]
Also check the blogs listed in the original thread (Itchmo, Howl911, PetConnection) for on-going coverage. Pet Connection also reports on a survey of cat and dog owners, almost 100% of whom are aware of the recall, very few of whom have changed their feeding practices.
The on-line survey, conducted April 9-11, found that 95% of Americans are aware that pets have died recently because of tainted pet food. Among owners of dogs and cats, awareness reached 100%. Most of them are following the story: 80.4% of cat owners and 74.8% of dog owners say they know which brands are associated with this issue. And of the pet owners, 13.1% said the brand they usually buy has been recalled.

But the pet-food scare has not influenced people to change their behavior. Most are still buying the same brand and type of food (i.e.: wet versus dry) they usually buy, and they’re getting it at the same retailer they always go to.[/b]
 

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Here's what the FDA has to say:
More than 400 FDA employees in all 20 district offices have taken calls from consumers and veterinarians who reported illnesses potentially associated with the contaminated pet food. FDA received more than 12,000 reports during the past four weeks, which is more than twice the number of complaints that our consumer compliant coordinators typically receive in a year. Additionally, ten FDA district offices have inspected manufacturing and distribution facilities and five field laboratories have analyzed samples.[/b]
To understand how the contamination affected dogs and cats, FDA scientists, in conjunction with academia and industry, are reviewing blood and tissue samples of affected animals to understand how wheat gluten contaminated with melamine contributed to the pet illnesses. We are also working with data from Banfield Pet Hospital, (a nationwide network of veterinary hospitals), the Veterinary Information Network, Poison Control Centers, universities, and other organizations to assess the number of cats and dogs affected by the contaminated wheat gluten. This is a collaborative partnership providing FDA access to information and helping FDA deliver essential health communications about the safety of pets.[/b]
The above is from Testimony By Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., made to the The Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. April 12, 2007

I doubt we'll ever know how many pets have died/will die from the contaminated food. I don't know if they are able to test for melamine in the blood or if they even know for sure that it is this chemical. And they know very little about the effects of melamine on animals. I think before the FDA can confirm a death is the result of contaminated food it must test the food the dog ate. Betsy can tell us more about toxicity testing to confirm deaths.

I've had a few people comment to me that the situation is being exaggerated saying "after all only 16 animals have died." Kidney damage doesn't always show up right away so I suspect a lot of people who think their pet is fine, will down the road, end up with a sick or dead pet. It's scary........
 

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Here's what the FDA has to say:




Given all this, I'm wondering what people have decided to do about their dog's food? I've feed mine Eukanuba Low Residue dry for years and years with good results , but I'm know that that Iams (who makes Eukanuba) imports ingredients. Are there companies that don't? I guess whether it is worth changing depends on the chance of this happening again. I can't see that there are any new safeguards in place
 

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Sharon, I'm staying with Black Gold (recommended by the famous pinehawk :p ). I talked to them and they use domestic ingredients. Yogi and Lady are also doing great on it - beautiful coats, great energy, good blood tests.
 

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they have a wholesaler in Cali but i don't know of any stores that carry it you can contact the wholesaler or you can buy it online from the company. http://www.blackgolddogfood.com/blends.htm they have a real good selection of foods for everyones likes and wallet. Biscuit thanks for thinking so highly of me. you keep sweet talking me like that and Mrs.Pinehawk might be single again real soon and i just might be living the "OKIE" life.
 
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