Community pets healthy

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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No signs of tainted pet food in Amherst area: veterinarian

Local veterinarians have seen cases of kidney failure in dogs and cats recently, but stopped short of linking them with a tainted pet food scare sweeping the continent.

"To date in Cumberland and Westmoreland Counties, I don't know of any confirmed cases," said Dr. Boyd Taylor, a veterinarian at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital.

Community pets healthy

Local veterinarians have seen cases of kidney failure in dogs and cats recently, but stopped short of linking them with a tainted pet food scare sweeping the continent.

"To date in Cumberland and Westmoreland Counties, I don't know of any confirmed cases," said Dr. Boyd Taylor, a veterinarian at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital. "We have had animals with kidney failure, but at this point I would hesitate to say it's related to any food. These were older animals, where you would normally expect it."

More than 100 brands of pet food were contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine during January and February. At least six pet food companies have recalled products made with imported Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical.

Cases of kidney failure among cats rose by 30 per cent during the three months the contaminated food was sold, according to a recent report from a U.S. veterinary hospital chain.

Pets suffering from kidney failure often experience increased thirst and weight loss, according to Dr. Melissa Burgoyne, another veterinarian at the Amherst Veterinary Hospital. Blood work is required for a definitive diagnosis, she explained.

Concern from local pet owners has been high, she said.

"We've had a lot of phone calls daily, and a fair number of clients have been in to do blood work to screen their animals," said Burgoyne. "So far, so good."

Most of the tainted wheat gluten ended up in Menu Foods' Meat Chunks N' Gravy cans and pouches, according to Taylor. He advised pet owners to check the labels on their pet foods.

"If it was manufactured in January or February of 2007, you should not feed it," he warned.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Amherst Veterinary Hospital

Geographic location: Amherst, Cumberland, U.S.

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