Latest pet food recall confined to a few cats
Oahu veterinary clinics received an increase in calls from pet owners worried about an animal food recall that widened yesterday.
But clinic employees said the newest recall -- covering dry pet food for the first time -- affected only a small number of pet owners.
"It's just one single product line. It's really not such a problem for us," said Mike Profetto, office manager at Hawaii Kai Veterinary Clinic.
Hill's Pet Nutrition recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food. Profetto said the food is mainly for diabetic animals and animals trying to lose weight. It is available only by prescription at some clinics.
The dry cat food included wheat gluten from the same supplier that Menu Foods used. The recall did not involve any other Prescription Diet or Science Diet products, said Hill's Pet Nutrition, a division of Colgate-Palmolive Co.
Earlier this month, Menu Foods recalled 60 million containers of cat and dog food, sold throughout North America under nearly 100 brands after animals died of kidney failure after eating the Canadian company's products.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has received more than 8,000 complaints; the company, more than 300,000.
Testing of the recalled pet foods found melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, but failed to confirm the presence of a cancer drug also used as rat poison.
The FDA said yesterday it found melamine in samples of Menu Foods pet food involved in the original recall and in imported wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the company's wet-style products. Cornell University scientists also found melamine in the urine of sick cats as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating some of the recalled food. Melamine is toxic only in high doses, experts said, leaving its role in the pet deaths unclear.
Scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified aminopterin, a cancer drug and rat poison, as the likely culprit in the pet deaths. The FDA, however, said it could not confirm that finding.
Officials have not said whether tests were done on the Hill's dry cat food.
At the Ohana Veterinary Hospital on Dillingham Boulevard, only three clients were feeding the recalled food to their cats.
"We did call them and let them know to stop using that food," said office Manager Darlene Espiritu. "We pulled it off the shelf today. We only had two bags."
At the Hawaii Kai veterinary office, only a handful of clients were called to stop using the food. Manager Profetto said they have not had any pet deaths linked to the food recall.
Star-Bulletin reporter Robert Shikina and the Associated Press contributed to this report.