Aflatoxin has made its way into pet food again. Three pet food manufacturers have recalled dry dog food over the course of one week. Cargill Animal Nutrition and Advanced Animal Nutrition recalled near one year’s worth of product. The Iams company has recalled a single lot of ProActive Healthy Smart Puppy Food in 7, 8 and 17.5 pound bags. The Cargill food is River Run and Marksman brands. Most of the affected product has been distributed in the South and Mid west. I will post the websites and phone numbers to check at the end of this post. No illness associated with this recall have been reported yet but pet food stores and suppliers have been notified to remove the affected products.
So what is Aflatoxin? It is a naturally occurring byproduct of the growth of a mold called Aspergillus flavus and can be quite harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities. Symptoms of this illness are lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice ( a yellowish tint to eyes, gums and skin). This toxin targets the liver. If your pet has this type of poisoning, there is no conventional cure and symptomatic treatment is all that most veterinarians can offer you. Hospitalization , intravenous fluids, and medication for vomiting is standard care. The best treatment for this along with conventional care is Milk Thistle. Milk Thistle has been shown to be extremely effective in treating this condition and if you think your pet has been exposed to this you should start it right away. I have a link here to PetWellbeing’s Milk Thistle.
What is the best way to prevent this? Feed a high quality, non moldy food–preferably a home made, well balanced diet. If you feed a commercial food, rotate the brands you feed so if there is a problem with one brand you will not be feeding it long. Buy only small bags of food for small animals–this will keep your food fresh.
If you think your pet has been exposed to the recalled food, contact your veterinarian right away.
Here are the websites and phone numbers for the recalled food.
www.cargill.com/feed/dog-food-recall (855) 460-1532
P&G Iams (866)908-1569
Advanced Animal Nutrition (866) 648-7646