Thursday, March 22, 2007

More than 1,000 pets reported dead so far

This is the latest entry from Pet Connection. I'm including all of it because there is very important information here. I've highlighted a couple of important things below. You can go read this at their site by clicking here.

I’m sad to say we’ve passed a milestone. We now have more than 1,000 pets reported as deceased into our database.

Again, we must put things in perspective. These are self-reported numbers. We have asked everyone if they checked the brand against the recall list, and have also asked them to provide a veterinary reference. We felt that this would give us a better chance of having numbers that reflect reality. Most people both named their veterinarian and named the brand.

We have said from the first that we put the database up because we believed based on all the anecdotal evidence we were seeing — in our e-mail boxes, and on forums and blogs — that the number of dead pets was far greater than what the government was, as is, reporting.

We still believe that to be the case, and today we finally started to see other experts agree with us. We believe there will be more, and the “official” count will grow.

We also have from the first encouraged people to report their information to the FDA and to the companies and the manufacturer. You can find all those links here. In the meantime, we continue to keep our database open for entries.

Tomorrow, we’re going to try to get some perspective on all this. Where do we go from here?

In the meantime, if you haven’t checked your pet’s food — “wet” food only is listed — against the recall list, you must do so. If you even suspect your pet has eaten any of the recalled product — even if the animal seems fine — call your veterinarian about a diagnostic test of kidney function. It’s an investment in your peace of mind that may save your pet’s life. (Read our piece on kidney disease for more information.)

If you had been feeding a product that has been recalled and your pet is OK, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation of what’s right for your pet now.

And speaking of veterinarians, we’d like to note that if you’re a client of Banfield The Pet Hospital, here’s some news:

Banfield, The Pet Hospital is providing a 25 percent discount off the recommended medical treatment plans received at participating Banfield hospitals across the nation. Specialists and other experts have developed these specific treatment plans to screen for and treat kidney problems seen in patients who have eaten the tainted foods.

In addition, the Banfield Charitable Trust has created an emergency fund and donated the first $50,000 in funding to financially assist clients with Pet medical costs incurred at Banfield that are associated with the Menu Foods product contamination. Banfield Charitable Trust funds from this grant can be applied for at Banfield hospitals.

Here’s the link to the announcement.

We have heard there may be some news on the “what caused this?” front coming soon, maybe even tomorrow, and also that the FDA is working to make reporting easier. More on these angles when we know more.

In parting, we want to share one criticism we received, telling us we should report only information released from the government or trade associations.

I guess it comes down to whether you want the media to be lap dogs or watch dogs. Us? We’re going to keep barking, like watch dogs.

Hug your pets, and goodnight for now.

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