The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning pet owners and veterinary professionals to avoid certain Sportmix pet food products after some dogs fell ill and died after eating the products.
Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. on Wednesday recalled four different dry cat and dog pet food following an investigation that found some products had potentially lethal levels of aflatoxin.
Mold byproducts, which “can cause illness and death in pets at high levels”, can still occur on store shelves, online or in pet owners’ homes, the agency said in a notice.
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Midwestern Pet Food killed at least 28 dogs and eight others became ill after being reported by the FDA.
After testing several samples, the Missouri Department of Agriculture discovered high levels of toxin, which may be present even if the mold is not visible, the FDA said.
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Pets that have been poisoned with venom may look lethargic and have a decreased appetite. The FDA stated that they may experience vomiting, jaundice (yellowing due to liver damage to the eyes or gums) and / or diarrhea. In some cases, pets may also suffer from liver damage without showing any symptoms.
According to the FDA, unlike people, pets are considered “highly susceptible” because they typically eat the same food.
“If a pet’s food contains aflatoxin, the toxin may accumulate in the pet’s system because they continue to eat the same food,” the FDA said.
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Midwestern Pet Foods is urging pet owners to safely discard products and wash and clean any pet bowls and areas where food was stored. The company is encouraging retailers to contact customers who have purchased the affected products.
Pet owners should consult their veterinarians about any concerns, especially if their pet is showing symptoms, the FDA said.
To date, the FDA states that there is no evidence to show that there is any danger to pet owners from handling food, although they are later encouraged to wash their hands.
The matter is under investigation and the agency plans to conduct activities at the manufacturing facility. The agency will update the public when more information becomes available.
Midwestern Pet Foods did not provide further comment from the recall notice.