I don’t know about you, but as a veterinarian I become worried and also frustrated when there are these major pet food recalls.
Why? Mostly because every single client asks about them, and it seems that it is very difficult for us as veterinarians to stay in the loop and be able to provide accurate and up to date information regarding all of these recalls.
We have so many other things to deal with on a daily basis, and now we are looped in to knowing about the products the pet food industry is putting on the shelves. We are the experts of everything healthcare for pets, and it is our duty to stay informed of recalls and be prepared to answer questions regarding them no matter how frustrating it is.
Recalls happen in foods for human consumption as well, and they can be expected from time to time. We are mostly used to hearing about bacterial contamination- with Salmonella or E. coli. But this most recent string of recalls was due to the euthanasia drug Pentobarbital being found in some brands of food.
As veterinarians, we can see what this means. We can clearly deduce that the contamination happened because this drug was present in the rendered meat that went into the pet food. We use this drug for euthanasia…so there is no reason for this type of mistake to occur. Stating that there is low medical risk to pets in consuming the small amount of the drug present is like saying that a little bit of poison is ok. Really, it isn’t.
What should you do if a pet may be sick from a recalled food? You will want to perform lab work on the sick pet, provide supportive care, and report the incident to the FDA. Call the pet food company to file a report and potentially have the food sent for testing. Treating the patient and proper reporting are the two most important ways that we can help. Without reporting, it can delay recalls and determining the origin of contaminants in pet foods. Visit the FDA website here, to stay up to date on current recalls.