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Recall is food for thought

Peninsula pet owners concerned about tainted products

Posted: Monday, April 09, 2007

 

  Diane Rogers of Soldotna discusses pet nutrition with Tabitha Perkovich, a veterinarian at Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic, during Rogers' dog, Misty's, annual examination Saturday morning. The ongoing and nationwide pet food recall has local dog and cat owners concerned. Photo by Joseph Robertia

Diane Rogers of Soldotna discusses pet nutrition with Tabitha Perkovich, a veterinarian at Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic, during Rogers' dog, Misty's, annual examination Saturday morning. The ongoing and nationwide pet food recall has local dog and cat owners concerned.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

There are many things the separate Alaskans from our Lower 48 counterparts, but love for our companion animals is not one of them, which is why the nationwide pet food recall has local dog and cat owners concerned.

“We’ve had lots of calls about it,” said Tabitha Perkovich, a veterinarian at Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic in Soldotna. Kenai Veterinary Clinic and Soldotna Animal Hospital staff reported similar surges in calls from scared clients.

The recall is in its fourth week and there’s still no end in site. On Friday the list of fouled food expanded to include more than 20 brands of dog biscuits. The Food and Drug Administration has asserted that the total pet food recall still only accounts for 1 percent of the total number of products in the pet food industry, but this hasn’t been reassuring to pet owners, based on the number still taking their animals to veterinary clinics.

“We have had people bringing in their pets to have them tested, and I can understand why. This is a scary thing,” Perkovich said.

Some of these pet owners wanted their pets checked because they had been feeding them foods on the recall list before it was known that the foods were potentially poisonous, and others had pets that became sick and they wanted to rule out the possibility of it being related to bad food possibly not yet on the recall list, she said.

“So we’ve been doing blood tests on these pets to check their kidney functions because the kidneys are the primary organ that’s being affected by the tainted food. The deaths have been from kidney failure,” she said.

After careful scrutiny, though, Perkovich said all the animals she has seen have been given a clean bill of health, at least in regard to the recalled food.

“To my knowledge, we haven’t had any cases of sick animals that we could confirm as being related to the tainted food. All the blood work has been coming back normal,” she said.

Despite this, Perkovich encouraged pet owners to remain vigilant in regard to what foods they offer their furry friends. She recommended checking the Internet regularly to see what foods have been recalled, but added it was important that pet owners looks at the brand and types of foods under those brands, that are being recalled.

“Just because Eukanuba or some other brand is on the recall list, doesn’t mean all Eukanuba products are bad,” she said.

She added she has heard from some clients who have decided to stay away from commercial pet food altogether.

“Amazon.com has a book on making your own pet food that jumped into the top 10. Last week it was (ranked) in the thousands,” she said, referring to “Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome” which jumped to eighth in the Amazon.com Sales Rank for books on Friday.

To learn more about the pet food recall and which brands and types are no longer safe to feed to dogs and cats, visit the Food and Drug Administration Web site at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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