New Studies Confirm Recall Contaminants Packed Double Punch

Researchers say that the chemicals melamine and cyanuric acid worked together to cause health problems and death in cats.

Posted: November 28 2007 2 a.m. EDT

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New Studies Confirm Recall Contaminants Packed Double Punch
New research indicates that the combination of two chemicals in recalled cat food caused kidney failure in cats.
New studies show what many were guessing at the end of the months-long pet food recall that began last March: When combined, melamine and cyanuric acid can produce deadly effects in pets.

As CatChannel reported earlier this month, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that cats fed food containing only one of the two chemicals experienced no problems, but cats that ate pet food with both melamine and cyanuric acid experienced acute kidney failure. The study results also showed that cats receiving the food with both chemicals present “developed fan-shaped crystals in their urinary tracts,” an abnormal development in healthy cats. For more information on the study, click here.
An additional study led by Steve Ensley of Iowa State’s veterinary lab using pigs also concluded that a combination of melamine and cyanuric acid causes a more potent result on an animal’s kidneys than if consumed individually.

Both studies were presented at the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians’ annual meeting in Reno, Nev., last month.

On its website, the association also released preliminary results from its ongoing pet-food nephrotoxicity (the damaging affect of substances to the kidneys) survey of veterinary labs, which began April 5.

Of the 347 cases analyzed through June 6, 68 percent were cats and 32 percent were dogs. Sixty-one percent of the cats and 74 percent of the dogs died. The remaining animals were reported ill or recovered. In the United States, the top food products responsible for the illnesses as reported by the survey were Iams and Special Kitty for cats and Alpo Prime foods and Ol’ Roy for dogs.

In Canada, Special Kitty Canada and President’s Choice were the two foods most frequently associated with illness during the recall. Twenty out of 27 cases involved a cat.

In descending order, the regions hardest hit with cases were Texas, California, Ontario, Illinois and Michigan.

The association also used five necropsy cases (four cats and one dog) to conduct a test study. More than one of the contaminants was found in four out of five of the animals, and all of the animals had a history of eating the contaminated food. The most common finding was the presence of yellow-brown crystals within the renal distal tubules and collecting ducts and, occasionally, in the urine sediment. All of the five pets exhibited signs of kidney problems, including elevated blood urea and creatinine concentrations.

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Reader Comments

Ellen    Attleboro, MA

11/29/2007 12:42:26 AM

Good info!

Angela    Hamburg, NY

11/28/2007 7:27:09 PM

If only this was known before, maybe so many loved pets would not have died.

Sue    Three Oaks, MI

11/28/2007 3:19:33 PM

I appreciated this article--it contained previous information I was unaware of. Also, living in Michigan, it was important to know it was one of the highest-affected states.

Sheryl    Casa Grande, AZ

11/28/2007 10:51:51 AM

I just hope this can be prevented from happening again - that manufacturer's learned something FROM THEIR MISTAKES!

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