Showing posts with label fungal toxins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fungal toxins. Show all posts

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Feline pancytopenia deaths linked to pet food recall reaches at least 335

I feel that we should remember the quiet disaster that is befalling many households at the moment. You might have read about the rare feline disease called feline pancytopenia affecting many cats in the UK. It is believed that this bone marrow disease has been caused by a range of cat food products manufactured at the same facility. 

Sushi died of pancytopenia after eating Pets at Home AVA dry cat food. She was actually euthanized at a vets. Photo: Mrs Kenny.
Sushi died of pancytopenia after eating Pets at Home AVA dry cat food. She was actually euthanized at the vets. Photo: Mrs Kenny.

But the point of this short post is to report that the Royal Veterinary College has issued a warning about the surge in cat deaths reaching 335 at the date of this post. In all 528 cats have contracted the disease. These are the cases that the college are aware of but there may be more. In fact, they say that this information probably represents only a percentage of cases because many of the sick cats may not be taken to a veterinary practice and therefore diagnosed by a veterinarian.

The information has not been verified and many UK vets are not actively reporting to the Royal Veterinary College at this time.

The investigation so far as reported by the college is that there appears to be no link with common feline infectious diseases, no link with common toxins, and no link with deficiencies or excesses in vitamins or minerals.

Investigations are still taking place including analysis by the college of cat food involved in the product recall. If you not read about this then please click on this link to go to a list of the products believed to be affected.

Associated: Fears that Pets at Home’s AVA cat food killed this cat

It is believed that feline pancytopenia in this instance has been caused by mycotoxins which are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by different types of fungi. They grow on a variety of different crops. Cat food does contain cereal to pad it out and it appears that these mycotoxins on the cereal have found their way into the commercially prepared cat food.

There has been a reduction in the number of reported cases. The peak number of cases reported occurred in mid-June of this year (2021). Seven cases were reported on July 12.

If you think your cat has been made ill by this cat food then you should of course contact your veterinarian immediately to ask for a blood test to look at the levels of red and white blood cells and platelets in your cat's blood. These blood cells decrease in number when a cat has contracted pancytopenia. Bone marrow produce these cells.

Sunday 7 March 2021

Mycotoxins in extruded (dry) commercial cat food

There is a fairly recent study called: Occurrence of Mycotoxins in Extruded Commercial Cat Food, which supports the news media story of 28 dogs in the US dying of aflatoxin poisoning (late Dec 2020). Aflatoxins fall under the umbrella term 'mycotoxins'. 

Fungal spores
Fungal spores. This is to illustrate the page only. Image: in the public domain.

Both highlight a hidden danger in dry cat food which is rarely discussed: the presence of this fungal (mould) toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus mould. There are other species of mould which also metabolise into mycotoxins.

The underlying point is that extruded dry cat food has grain in it. The mould referred to feeds on these grains which is why it ends up in cat and dog food. Why is grain in cat food? Because it is cheaper despite cats being obligate carnivores. 

It seems that poor quality grain is sometimes bought by the smaller pet food manufacturers which perhaps increases the risk. 

Two scientific studies that I have read indicate to me that there can be worrying levels of these toxins in dry cat food. One study analysed foods from Poland, Italy, Brazil, Poland, South Africa and Austria. Not the USA. 

But they concluded the following:

The results from the present study showed that mycotoxin contamination represents a critical point for pet food safety. Certainly, given the high stability of mycotoxins through the cooking process used to produce dry pet food, scrupulous monitoring of incoming ingredients undoubtedly represents the most effective strategy to prevent mycotoxin contamination.


Pets are traditionally fed with the same type of diet for long periods of their life. Therefore, the scientific community should be aware of the potential chronic exposure of dogs and cats to relatively low levels of different mycotoxins and the consequential detrimental risks to their health.

The toxin is very dangerous. It seems that there is an ever-present possibility that they will be present in dry cat and dog food. It is simply a question on the level of contamination. If it is low there is low-level poisoning which would go unnoticed.

When the contamination is high it can kill as evidenced in the Sportmix dog food recall scandal in which 28 dogs have died. This figure may climb. 

The purpose of this post? To educated cat owners about a hidden potential danger.

The toxin damages the liver causing jaundice, lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite. It can kill.

Prevention? Buy the best quality food that you can. Avoid the smaller manufacturers. I buy Hills Oral Care as the kibble pellets are larger which helps with teeth cleaning and it makes him chew the things. Cats sometimes swallow small pellets whole. Not good for digestion.

The study referred to is published on the US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health website.

Dog Food Recall:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cooperating in the recall. Sportmix is based in Evansville, USA, as I understand it.

Recalled lot codes are as follows:

50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3

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