Brands affected: Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food, Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food, as well as Pet Pride Cat Food Pet Pride Kitten Formula and Kroger Value Cat food.
Those products at risk of making your pet sick will have expiration dates between Oct. 23 and 24, 2011.
At issue here is a toxin called aflatoxin, which is a fungus.
(see below for my first post, this is an updated one with information from direct from my veterinarian).
“Aflatoxin is a fungus that can grow on crops such as corn, cottonseed and peanuts,” said Dr. Stephen Steep, owner of Oxford Veterinary Hospital in Oxford.
He added: “When dogs consume food contaminated with aflatoxin, their clinical signs will vary depending on the level of contamination, how much they eat, over what period of time they eat it, and how sensitive they are to the toxin.”
How do you know if your pet is affected? Look for gastrointestinal signs like vomiting, bloody diarrhea and loss of appetite. Because the toxin affects the liver, look for signs of that too — jaundice, a yellow coloration of skin and eyes, as well as neurological signs like weakness or seizures.
“This creates a challenge to diagnose as many dogs exhibit these signs for other reasons,” Steep said.
However, if you’ve been feeding your dog or cat the affected foods and notice these signs, let your veterinarian know.
“We test for aflatoxin toxicity with blood tests, urine tests and food analysis,” Steep said.
Unfortunately, there’s no real cure for a pet who has been exposed to this toxin. Once the damage is done, it’s done.
“If the damage is not excessive, we can stabilize and nurse them back to health,” Steep said.
In some cases, aflatoxin poisoning can be fatal. Younger and older pets or those with other health issues can be more sensitive to it.
“I’ve searched the veterinary information, and nobody’s reporting anything recently,” on aflatoxin poisoning, Steep said. “I have not seen any patients recently where I suspected (it).”
He added: “Hopefully, this is a situation where very small quantities were detected by the manufacturer and this is a precautionary recall.”
Steep recommends keeping pet foods in their original packaging, monitoring your pets for unusual symptoms and always contacting your veterinarian with questions.