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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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