Monday, March 26, 2007
Second thoughts about pet food
The headline popped up on the TV screen and stopped me cold. "Pet food recall," it read. I was in Florida, running around my hotel room, preparing for a presentation. I didn't catch the whole story and even though the clock was ticking, I hopped online to read more. As I logged on, I thought about Esther, my fuzzy, slightly neurotic, four-legged friend. From bad hairstyles to big life changes, Esther is my one constant. No judging, no nagging, just some occasional barking and lots of unconditional love.

Fortunately, Esther doesn't eat the food that was recalled. Still, I have been following the story. Menu Foods has confir the deaths of 16 pets that ate "cuts and gravy" style food that was found to contain rat poison. But Tuesday, a veterinary group reported that more than 400 cases of kidney failure have been reported, and more than 100 of the animals died.

There are few things worse than watching an animal suffer. I am touched by these little victims, with names such as Gumbie and Pebbles. Recently we've seen a number of human food scares, but this one as we say in the news business, "has legs." (Yes, pun intended.) Veterinarians are e-mailing pet owners with lists of symptoms and recall information. People are checking the ingredients in their pets' food. Friends are debating the merits of organic food versus processed.

So we want to know what you think -- has this scare made you reconsider what you feed your pets? Have you switched foods? How far would you go to keep your pet healthy?
My friend has a Papillion and I have a Pomeranion. We discuss dog food constantly. 3 months ago we both decided to make our own dog food and we are both very glad we made that choice. Our dogs still eat dry food but enjoy a dinner of boiled chicken, green beans, carrots, and brown rice.
It is not any more expensive if you shop for sales, takes 2 hours every two weeks, and they love it.
I know that it is possible for any type of food to become contaminated and that it would be very costly and time consuming to do this for a large dog. But if you have a small dog and are concerned about the food you are buying this is a great alternative.
Though not officially part of the 16 deaths on part of the news, I think my cat Frankie was a casualty of Menu Foods negligence. Frankie suddenly stopped eating and went into kidney and liver failure around February 14th. After hard fight at the Animal Hospitals ICU and a valiant effort by the vet, we had to sadly put him down. It was completely out of the blue, he had been a normal healthy cat before. We had been feeding him the Nutro Gourmet classics brand, the same type that was recalled.
Fortunatley, our other cat, the Dude, has not manifested any symptoms. It seems the poison's symptoms can manifest acutely or not at all. We have of course switched to different brands but I am very vigilant in observing my other cats eating habits. I would like to take legal action against Menu Foods for their criminal negligence, does anyone know how I can do that?
Well first I want to say my heart goes out to all of those people who have lost their loved ones because of this tragedy.

The news of the recall almost made my heart stop beating and I was very scared. I have a dog named Sally. I got her when I was 24 and she was 6 weeks old. I am now 33 and she has been the only stable part of my life for the last 9 years. She is not only my rock, she is my best friend. I think of her as if she was my child, at least in my mind she is.

When it comes to Sally there is nothing I would not do. I have a medical plan for her that is equal to or better then my own. I have emergency plans in case I am not at home and something goes wrong, and included in my living will are instructions on who would care for her if something happened to me or if she goes first that she is to be buried with me.

I have not changed her food at this time as she eats dry food. After seeing an interview on CNN, I have begun to look into feeding her people food. The food would be the main ingredients currently in her dog food �rice and chicken�. I am prepared to make the switch, after consulting with my vet, if the situation with the pet food gets any worse.
I belong to a breed specific chat group, and we have been discussing this issue heatedly. Just like any foodstuff we purchase, we must make informed choices to protect our pets as we would our other family members. I wish I had the time to make my Sophie's food, but I don't. That being said, I purchase food that I consider best, one that doesn't have any corn wheat or soy (commen allergens), no by products, and no artificial flavors or preservatives. The first ingredient (i.e. the bulk of the product) is the actual meat listed on the can, not some filler. My dog thrives on this diet, and has the energy, health and beautiful coat to show for it. Pet owners might want to look into the BARF diet (no pun intended!) and read a very eye opening book, "Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food." by Ann N. Martin. My heart goes out to those who lost a "fur-kid," as nothing ever replaces those we love and lose. Hopefully some good will come from all of this.
With 6 cats, I seem to be constantly worrying about pet food. One kitty is on a vet-prescribed special food and the others eat high quality kibble. But we watch them all pretty closely for any signs of distress. If I thought I could make nutritionally complete food at home, I would do it.
I was amazed to discover that Menu Foods appears to make almost all the brands of dog food. Makes you wonder how the brands really differ, except in price. I feed my dogs real food. After learning about what is really in dog food years ago I switched to genuine food. Since we love our pets so much it's kinda strange that we are willing to feed them scraps off the slaughterhouse floor. Perhaps some good will come from this horrible affair.
We have 7 kitties and all use holistic brands that are readily available. The kitties love them and for many of the brands, because they are such a premium food, they are not specified for kittens versus adult cats.
I have used a pet food call Wellness for my cat Jamine for the last 6 years. It contains no fillers or bi-products, and although I wouldn't consider eating it my self has "human grade" meats and fish. I think if it's not good enough for people to eat our pets shouldn't eat it either!
Pet Food??? I'm wondering what the disconnect is between CNN, Dr. Gupta, and the FDA about spinach, lettuce, and people's food. Have you not even an inkling about 1000's of citizens like myself screaming about industrial farm pollution and organizations like the Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance and articles in Rolling Stone magazine uncovering the most deplorable source of food contamination that is spreading across our country state by state so much so that many states are stopping it altogether which is CAFO's. Read Rolling Stones article "Boss Hog" by Jeff Tietz, watch the Sierra Club of Michigan's dvd "Living a Nightmare" about companies like Smithfield Foods just oozing pollution then blowing it all over the land. After which invite the spokesman for the FDA to explain once again where all the food and soil contamination is coming from. The head scratching drives me insane that normal citizens out here know what's causing much of it but CNN doesn't? Something is wrong. Better yet, feature spokespeople for these many organizations looking to stop CAFO's and industrialized farming and allow them to question the EPA, and FDA. The head scratching will stop for good and hopefully change will be intiated to restore farms and our food supply back to the healthful bread basket of the world again, hopefully before more people don't die.
what about a possible poisening like someone tainting the food with a chemical like anti freeze? Regardless if this is a sick twisted deliberate poisening or one done by accident generated by greed, it is a horrible crime against life. Again the FDA has allowed our food either pet or human to be contaminated with all sorts of fillers, and chemicals and preservatives. They are the real problem. We need to have higher standerds for the health of our people and animals. Enough of the greed generated poisening of America, and the biggest offense is the FDA, since they were set up to protect the American public, yet it seems that the power of money has overidden any sort of moral or ethical responsibilty. They continue to allow the American public to be poisened by its food, and pharmacueticals, all for money. Life is more important then money, and that means all life, including our pets. Hold the FDA responsible for their years about 50 years of greed and neglect, which has led America to be one of the more unhealthy countries being poisened by our food, and pharmacueticals. EAT ORGANIC FOOD, and BUY YOUR PET HUMAN GRADE PET FOOD, support those companies and farmers who do feel a moral and ethical responsibility to produce a health conscience product. Demand a change in the FDA. They need to be investigated.
If you buy the BEST for you pet it won't die like the rest.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.