January 9, 2006
At least 100 dogs nationwide and 3 in our area have died from eating certain varieties of Diamond Pet Food.
On December 21, the Food and Drug Administration warned Diamond Pet Foods to recalled over a dozen varieties of their dog and cat food, but not in time to stop dozens of family pets from dying.
"We then took all the bags off the shelf," said Lucy Collier, of Pet Supplies Plus.
Each of these bags contained high levels of aflatoxin, a fungus that grows on corn which is an ingredient in the food. The toxin can causes severe liver damage and even death in animals. At least 100 dogs nationwide have died, so far.
"It all depends on what amount of aflatoxin the dog ingested," said Dr. Barbara Butler.
Dr. Butler is an Earlysville Veterinarian who said it could take days or weeks for the dogs to start showing symptoms.
"Signs related to the liver are usually vomiting or yellowing in the white part of the eye," said Dr. Butler.
As scared pet owners pour into the vets offices, their also getting rid of this low cost product. Pet Supplies Plus has already given money back to several people who've returned the pet food.
"We had quite a few actually, I would say maybe about 20 bags," said Collier.
Diamond has promised to reimburse pet owners for vet bills and other costs associated with the poisoning. But pet lovers said no amount of money will make up for their loss.
"For some individuals, these pets are like their children and to lose a pet from something like this is a devastating loss," said Dr. Butler.
Researchers said the death toll will increase. The FDA is still investigating this case.
The contaminated dog food has a "Best If Used By" date of April 11, 2007. If you have any questions about the food, or if your pet has had health problems, Diamond has set up a vet hotline. You can call them at 1-866-214-6945.