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Avoid a Pet Emergency Super Sunday Overtime: Championship Game Parties Can be Dangerous to your Dog and Cat

Your Super Sunday party may be dangerous to your pet. Here are some tips to make sure your Big Game party activities don’t end up with an overtime veterinary emergency.

Super Sunday now trails only Thanksgiving in terms of US food consumption. This enormous engorgement not only threatens many New Year’s weight loss resolutions, it also may add unhealthy pounds and pose hidden dangers to our dogs and cats. Sharing a few nibbles of healthy snacks such as celery or carrots is fine — pizza and wings are not.

When we look at weight gain in humans and pets, big single-day caloric consumption can have life-long consequences. A pet can be fed a healthy, low-calorie diet and have their efforts erased with a huge feast.

There are several foods to avoid feeding your pet on Super Sunday. Don’t feed your pet anything fried or battered, covered in creamy sauces and steer clear of salty snacks. In fact, I recommend limiting any super snacks to crunchy vegetables such as broccoli, baby carrots, celery and asparagus. Each chicken wing has about 55 calories. A 20-pound dog fed a single chicken wing is similar to an average adult eating almost seven wings. Feed a 40-pound dog one-half slice of pepperoni pizza and that’s the same as an adult consuming two slices of pepperoni pizza and a 12-ounce cola. That adds up.

It’s not just the game day calories that worry me. Americans will eat about 1.25 billion chicken wings during the Big Game. That equals 1.25 billion chances for a dog or cat to ingest a bone that can cause serious complications, even death. I want to warn pet owners not to feed their pets chicken wings due to the risk of intestinal obstruction or worse.

An often overlooked risk of chicken wings is salt. One buffalo wing has 160 to 200 mg of sodium. That’s about the amount of sodium recommended for a 20-pound dog in a single day. Feeding a dog too much salt can cause high blood pressure and can contribute to kidney and heart disease. Other foods high in salt that should not be fed to pets include pizza, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, fries, pretzels, potato chips, canned beef stew, potato salad and many sauces.

“Chicken wing bones and salt are not the only potential dangers a pet may face on Championship Sunday.” adds University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist Dr. Joe Bartges. “Foods such as chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, and foods containing Xylitol may be toxic. Eating foods high in fat not only increases calorie intake, but may cause problems such as vomiting and diarrhea or life-threatening pancreatitis.”

Alcohol is another potential danger for pets. Dogs and cats are extremely sensitive to alcoholic beverages and will often drink from half-empty cups and bottles and become ill. As little as a few ounces of beer or wine can prove toxic to a dog or cat. It’s important that pet owners never leave alcoholic beverages unattended and discard any containers as soon as you’re done.

One final Super Sunday danger I want to warn you about – stress. You may have friends and family over, rooting for your favorite team with lots of loud noises and high-fiving. All of this may prove especially stressful for the four-legged family members that have little interest in the big game. If you notice your dog or cat cowering or pacing, provide a quiet, safe space for them to relax away from the action. Otherwise, you may be awakened early Monday morning by unwelcome stress-related diarrhea.

Pet Food Recall: Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

From the official FDA Recall alert: 

Kasel Associated Industries Recalls Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Contact
Consumer: 800-218-4417

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 2, 2012 – Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO is voluntarily recalling its NATURE’S DELI CHICKEN JERKY DOG TREATS product because it may be contaminated with SalmonellaSalmonella can sicken animals that eat these products and humans are at risk for salmonella poisoning from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the pet products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these symptoms after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

The recalled Chicken Jerky Dog Treats were distributed to 57 Sam’s Club locations in the following states: CO,IA,ID,IL,KS,MO,MT,NE,OK,SD,UT and WY.

The product comes in a clear plastic bag with the Nature’s Deli logo containing 2.5 lbs chicken jerky marked with UPC bar code 647263800208. Kasel Industries is recalling lot number BEST BY 091913 DEN because this lot code tested positive through analysis by the FDA.

No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this product.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling by the FDA that revealed finished products contained the Salmonella bacteria. The company has ceased distribution of any lots that have possible contamination of the bacteria. No other products made by Kasel Associated Industries are included in the recall of 2.5 lbs packages of Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.

Consumers who have purchased the 2.5 lbs packages of Chicken Jerky Dog Treats are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at (800) 218-4417 Monday thru Friday from 7am to 5pm MDT.###

 

PET FOOD RECALL AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula

The FDA has announced a recall of AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to risk of possible Salmonella contamination. AvoDerm is made and distributed by Breeder’s Choice owned by Central Garden & Pet Company based in Walnut Creek, California. The recalled pet food was distributed in:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • Virginia
  • Washington

 

 

 

The full FDA recall is here:

Breeder’s Choice Pet Food Recalls AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Contact:
Consumer:
1-866-500-6286

Media:
Mark Newberg
847-330-5367

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 11, 2012 – Breeder’s Choice Pet Food is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Breeder’s Choice AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to possible contamination with Salmonella. The product affected by this recall is identified below and has the following “Best Before” dates:

Product Code/SKU/ Material # UPC Code Size Product Name/Description Best Before Code (day/month/yr)
1000065074 0 5290702043 8 26 lb. AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula 28 Aug 2013
29 Aug 2013
30 Aug 2013

Product and product lots that do not appear on the list above are not subject to this recall.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

No human or pet illnesses have been reported to-date. The recall notification is being issued based on a single manufacturing batch wherein a sample with the “Best Before” dates of August 28, 29 and 30, 2012 had a positive result for salmonella. The AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product was originally manufactured on August 29, 2012 and distributed on August 30 and 31, 2012. Salmonella testing was conducted by Silliker, Inc. (Southern California Laboratory). Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods has taken immediate action to remove the product from all applicable distribution centers and retail customers, and is fully investigating the cause.

Recalled products were distributed to retailers and distributors in the states of California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington.

Consumers who have purchased the AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product with the above-referenced “Best Before” dates are urged to contact Breeder’s Choice Customer Service representatives.

A letter and instructions have been forwarded to all Breeder’s Choice Pet Food customers. Breeder’s Choice Customer Service representatives and company veterinarians are responding to inquires through the 1-866-500-6286 phone number and will answer any questions regarding pets that have been fed the product. Pet owners can also visit the Breeder’s Choice Pet Food website for more information http://www.avoderm.com/.

###

New Human Tick-borne Virus Identified

Another day, another new infectious disease. In the midst of a record-breaking West Nile virus outbreak that has claimed 66 lives and infected almost 1,600 in 2012, we have a new threat from my least favorite external parasite, the tick. This newly discovered virus dubbed the “Heartland virus” is yet another reason to protect you and your pet from ticks this fall.

The CDC is reporting that in 2009 two Missouri farmers fell sick after being bitten by ticks.  One man reported a single bite while the second estimated about 20 tick bites per day during a two-week period. Both initially experienced memory loss, decreased appetite, fever, diarrhea, and low platelet and white blood cell counts, all consistent with a relatively common tick-borne bacterial infection, ehrlichiosis. The first patient spent 10 days in the hospital while the other patient stayed 12 days. Both were treated with appropriate antibiotics but failed to get better. Eventually both improved but for one of the men the symptoms lingered. That’s what ultimately attracted the attention of the CDC.

The first patient, who recalled only a single tick bite, continued to have memory problems, decreased energy levels, and frequent headaches for the next two years. No one knew why. Meanwhile, a new tick-borne virus was identified in China late last year. Known as SFTSV, this infection shared the same clinical signs as those reported in the Missouri farmers. This led CDC researcher Dr. Laura McMullan to reopen those cases to search for a connection. Was it the same virus? A mutation? She needed to know because the Chinese were reporting mortality rates with their new disease as high as 12%.

Turns out she was right. The virus is related to SFSTV and demonstrates how little we understand about the unseen world of tiny ticks, parasitic insects, and the diseases they may carry. In the New England Journal of Medicine article in which the findings were published, the authors warn, “This virus could be a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized.” Another good reason to avoid tick bites.

The Heartland virus takes its name because it is believed to be spread by ticks common in the Southeast. The lone star tick is the most common species of tick in Missouri. It’s also a common tick in North Carolina, the Southeast, and along the entire Atlantic coast. To date no ticks have been found carrying the Heartland virus. It’s unknown if the new disease can be spread from one person to another or even if the disease is definitively spread by tick bites or if another insect or factor is involved. The CDC published its early findings in order to help any patients bitten by ticks that fail to improve after antibiotic treatment.  At this point Heartland virus is not believed to carry a significant risk or death or serious illness. It does not appear to affect animals.

Now is the time to protect both you and your pet from ticks. Talk to your vet about a safe and effective tick preventive for your dog and cat. Wear long pants, use a tick repellent containing at least 20% DEET, and avoid high grass and wooded areas whenever possible to reduce your risk of tick bites.

 

 

Making Made in China Pet Foods Awesome

How pet food manufacturers are hoping to erase the stigma attached to pet foods made in Asia

Made in China. Three words I don’t like to see associated with my pet’s food or treats. After the 2007 massive and deadly pet food recall, I know many pet parents feel the same.

You can imagine my surprise when I received the following invitation to an upcoming pet food conference in Shanghai:

Say it ain’t so. Looks like at least some pet food companies are up to their old tricks again. In an effort to divert attention from current concerns over Chinese-made petfoods and treats, this seminar is designed to help manufacturers reshape their image and make “Made in China” pet food awesome again. Or at least make you comfortable buying it.

This seminar at the upcoming Petfood Forum China is offering pet food companies advice on how to “overcome a perception in the American marketplace that Asian-made consumer goods are poorly made.” Wonder where we got that crazy idea? Oh yeah, that whole melamine-poisoning thing and now these jerky treats the pesky FDA is warning us about. All those toys containing lead. Poisoned infant milk replacer. Fortunately we have someone who is pledging to teach pet food companies how to “move away from the stigma.” Thank goodness.

To be clear, Asia is a big place. I’m no geographer, but I believe Asia is the largest of our planet’s seven continents. On that king of all continents, China is by far the largest country, with some 1.3 billion Chinese living inside its borders. Also in Asia is Thailand, nestled in-between India and China. The reason I mention this is that Thailand has reportedly some of the best food production standards for pets and people found anywhere in the world. China, not so much. This is important because most people, including myself, think “China” whenever they hear “Asia.” I’ve got no beef with Thailand. I have serious questions for China.

What I am concerned about is how pet food marketers are deliberately, strategically and quietly setting out to sway our perceptions of pet food made in Asia. Maybe this seminar is limiting its definition of “Asia” to “Thailand.” If so, we’re all good.

Somehow I doubt it. Regardless, the Chinese could certainly learn a thing or two from the Thai when it comes to pet food manufacturing standards. I’m not sure if the conference organizers in Shanghai, China would agree but at least Petfood Forum China has an out card to play. Sort of. It depends of what the definition of the word “is” is. Or “Asia” in this case. I seem to remember there’s a lot of Asia on the map.

Speaking of maps, why are we making pet food in a foreign country when we have a perfectly good country of own? Can’t we at least keep pet food production on the North American continent?

What really peeved me is that the seminar is designed to teach companies “ways to prove regulations, quality and safety practices are being followed.” Prove that regulations are being followed in Asia? Are they? At least it appears not in that largest of Asian countries, China. NBC News reported on August 22, 2012 that Chinese officials “have refused to allow U.S. inspectors to collect samples for independent analysis…” Sounds like someone’s not playing by the rules. Is that “Asia” or “China?” China, oops, Asia really is quite lovely.

When it comes to pet foods, I’m not sure how lovely China currently is. I’m not so eager to feed my pets and patients Chinese foods yet. I’m not even keen on importing and relying on foreign foods in general. With historically high unemployment in our country, are there not American ingredient sources for pet foods? Those are jobs we’re exporting to Asia. Every can or bag represents another lost American employment opportunity. It’s hard for me to defend that. I may not understand why iPods are made in Asia, but I do know farming and food production. Last time I checked American farmers were arguably the best on the planet. They don’t call us the “food basket of the world” for nothing. Sure, there are loads I’d like to see changed about my country and our agricultural system. No matter how mad I get at my legislators sometimes, I relish the fact that our food safety inspectors can inspect unfettered and unannounced. I can’t say the same for many other countries.

What I really want to alert American pet parents to is the fact that pet food manufacturers are actively plotting to remodel the debate on Asian (read “Chinese”) food, ingredients, and processing. I believe they’re largely doing this because it’s cheaper. Despite a massive nationwide pet food recall, lack of transparency by Chinese officials, and ongoing concerns over Chinese-made treats, it looks as though at least some pet food manufacturers are ignoring these facts in favor of making more money. Maybe this seminar can help.

And they can. The fact that you’re reading this is helping focus attention on how Asian-made pet foods can be made correctly. Thailand is apparently already doing it. I can only hope the conference organizers will use their influence to pressure the Chinese, er, Asian pet food manufacturers to allow the FDA to inspect certain pet food facilities and adopt our food handling and processing guidelines. There’s hope that one day veterinarians and pet owners like me will brag about the safety and quality of Chinese, sorry, Asian pet foods in general. That would be a great day, indeed. I hereby declare to Petfood Forum China this challenge: help clean up the Chinese, dang it, Asian pet food industry.

Consider yourself warned, American pet owners. With the upcoming Presidential election, we’ll be voting for who we think can best guide us through the current foreign relations, social policies, and economic messes we find ourselves in. Choose carefully.

You also vote for American jobs each time you make a purchase. I, for one, am not interested in new marketing and advertising strategies to try and convince me that everything’s fine with pet foods coming out of Asia. There are plenty of problems with all pet foods, American or foreign made. This was just one marketing maneuver I wasn’t expecting. You’re now officially notified. Let’s do something about it. Cast your vote with your purchases, find out where your favorite products are made, and stay vigilant about food safety. Together we can make pet food awesome again.

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