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Dogs keep dying: Many owners unaware of toxic dog food

erned about the long-term health of dogs that survive as well as dogs that have eaten the tainted food but show no clinical signs." She suspects that surviving dogs may develop chronic liver disease, perhaps liver cancer, and that many dogs that ate the tainted food appear healthy are nevertheless victims of liver damage.

Yet many dog and kennel owners remain unaware that some 19 brands of Diamond, Country Value and Professional dog foods have been recalled.

"About half of our clients bringing in sick dogs this past week say that they were not aware of the contaminated dog food problem," said Sara Sanders, one of the veterinarians at Mendon Valley Animal Hospital near Rochester -- the sort of ground zero for the epidemic that resulted in the recall. She first realized that several dogs she was treating for liver problems in December were all eating Diamond food, and she sent food and tissue samples to Cornell, her alma mater, for testing.

Screening ill dogs
Early signs that a dog has been poisoned by afltoxin include lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting and, later, orange-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes, gums and nonpigmented skin that reflects substantial liver injury). Severely affected dogs produce a blood-tinged vomit and bloody or blackened stools. "Since dogs can take several days to three weeks to exhibit serious signs of illness, all animals that consumed recalled lots of food should be examined by a veterinarian as early as possible," Center said. "Physical exams and blood tests are necessary to differentiate dogs that have been poisoned from those that have not. Unfortunately, the latent onset of signs may require that an individual dog be evaluated several times."

Cornell veterinarians have verified diagnostic tests enabling detection of seriously poisoned dogs. Aflatoxin curtails the production of cholesterol and many proteins that profoundly affect blood clotting. A minimum screening
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Source:Cornell University News Service


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