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Pet Food Recall: Updated Information for Veterinarians

By: Courtesy of ACVIM

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Though many brands of pet foods have been recalled, pet owners and veterinarians should be aware that 98 percent of pet foods are still deemed safe and haven't been recalled. The FDA is currently testing 100 percent of wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, and rice bran being imported from China for these contaminants. The most recent pet food recalls have been undertake proactively, due to association with involved ingredients and suppliers rather than as the result of complaints that animals that have consumed the food and become ill. The FDA considers a pet food as adulterated if either compound-melamine or cyanuric acid-is found at a quantifiable level, regardless of any association of the pet food with reports of possible animal injury.

Thoughts on Home Cooking for Pets

Veterinarians should discourage the perceived simple solution of home cooking. According to a VIN factsheet available at vin.com, veterinary nutritionists see a high percentage of pets with poor nutrition and problems eating homemade foods (at least 1%-3% or 1-3 pets in 100 fed home made foods) vs. those eating commercial diets.

Veterinarians tend to trust food companies to provide complete and balanced nutrition, and that's appropriate. Generic homemade 'balanced' recipes do not deserve the same trust, because clients tend to forget about or discontinue (or substitute based on what is available or on sale) ingredients and supplements over time. A generic homemade recipe may or may not be appropriate for an individual with unique genetic requirements, and close monitoring of the diet's appropriateness is essential.
Most veterinarians are not in the habit of diet monitoring to the extent that they do drug monitoring. Resources for veterinarians wishing to formulate home made diets for their clients are:

  • Petdiets.com and BalanceIt.com

  • Owners can generate a recipe that is calculated for easy use with pre-made supplements. During the Pet Food Recall, BalanceIT are offering free maintenance diet recipes for clients with the promotional code "VIN". BalanceIT have assured VIN that they will NOT market to anybody using this promotional code.

  • University of California Davis; Telephone consults 530.752.1387 (veterinarians); 530.752.1393 (clients)

  • University of Tennessee Veterinary Nutrition Service (email utvns@utk.edu)

  • Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Angell Memorial , Telephone consults 617.588.7282

  • University of Missouri (email datzc@missouri.edu)

    ABOUT ACVIM

    ACVIM is the national certifying organization for veterinary specialists in large and small animal internal medicine, cardiology, neurology and oncology. Established in 1973, ACVIM's purpose is to advance the knowledge of animal health and diseases, and to foster the continued development of specialty veterinary care. To find an ACVIM Specialist in your area, please visit www.ACVIM.org.



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