The Growing Toxic Pet Treat Crisis
September 19, 2012
By Dr. Becker
As predicted, the pet treat contamination problem is expanding.
As I noted in this article published several weeks ago on July 20th, there was speculation at the time about potential contamination of other types of dog treats, and cat treats as well.
Within a week of publishing that article, Arthur Dogswell LLC voluntarily recalled over 1,000 cartons of Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins for potential contamination with high levels of propylene glycol.
On the company website, www.dogswell.com, officials said that many of their products are made in the U.S., but some are made in China. It was not immediately clear where the recalled treats were manufactured. Dogswell brand chicken breast treats for dogs were among those tested by the FDA in 2007, when the agency first became concerned about reports of illness in pets linked to Chinese-made products. Those treats, tested in an FDA southwestern regional lab in August 2007, were found to be in compliance.
The recalled cat treats were available in stores and through mail order from August 13 through June 14, 2012. They come in a re-sealable two ounce orange plastic bag with a clear window. The product codes were:
- SEW12CH032701/03c best before date of September 10, 2013
- SEW12CH032702/03c best before date of September 11, 2013
According to an FDA press release, "The recall resulted from a routine surveillance sample collected by the Company and the Food and Drug Administration. Arthur Dogswell has ceased distribution of the affected product."
And from the CEO and founder of Arthur Dogswell, Marco Giannini: "We are taking this voluntary action because it is in the best interests of our customers and their feline companions. We will be working with the FDA in our continued commitment to ensure that we meet FDA guidelines."
FDA Has Banned Propylene Glycol as a Cat Food Additive
As I noted in my July 27 update on the FDA's investigation into contaminants in chicken jerky dog treats from China, one of the findings was the presence of undeclared propylene glycol in a dozen tested samples.
The recalled VitaKitty treats were suspicious for the presence of high amounts of propylene glycol, an additive that keeps food soft and chewy. This compound is actually antifreeze.
Propylene glycol is considered less toxic than ethylene glycol and is used in newer automotive antifreezes. The FDA has approved it for use in dog food, but I do not recommend feeding food containing propylene glycol to any animal.
The FDA has banned propylene glycol in or on cat food because it can cause a serious blood disease in kitties known as Heinz body anemia. This disease causes the destruction of red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, sudden weakness, loss of appetite, dark colored urine, pale mucus membranes in the mouth, and skin discoloration.
If You've Purchased This Recalled Product
If your cat has any of the symptoms listed above, you should contact your vet immediately.
You can return the product for a full refund to the merchant you bought it from. Call Arthur Dogswell at 1-888-559-8833 for further information.
Consider making your own kitty treats using a high quality canned cat food. Choose a flavor with a strong aroma and spoon out little treat-sized amounts onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or another non-stick surface.
Put the baking sheet into the freezer until the bite sized bits are frozen. Then put them in an airtight container and place them back in the freezer for future use. Let the treats thaw to a chewy consistency in the fridge before giving them to your kitty.