As always Pet Connection is the source for current information. Last nights self reported numbers fom the PetConnection database (5:30 p.m. PT):
2,603 deceased pets
1,449 cats and 1154 dogs.
Thank you Howl911.com for today's fashions.
One for puppy
and one for me.
For the last week since the news that our pets have been made sick by Rat Poison found in Menu Foods, the Internet has been a hot bed of debate. During this on going investigation, Vets have gone on record saying that what they were seeing was not consistent with the rat poison Aminopterin. Remember this is an ongoing investigation and you all should still be exercising much caution in your choice of pet foods. The source has yet to be found.
The FDA announced they found the chemical melamine and no trace of rat poison in the samples of food they tested.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing found a chemical commonly used in plastics, but no rat poison, in the recalled pet food that has killed and sickened cats and dogs nationwide, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review learned Thursday.
Testing by the FDA and at least one lab independent of the agency found melamine, a chemical used in plastics and household textiles, in samples of the recalled pet food and in one of its ingredients -- wheat gluten -- said an FDA official and another source close to the investigation. Neither wanted to be identified prior to the FDA's formal announcement this morning.
Now that the media has finally started to get real about the seriousness of the Menu Foods recall, I can get back to fluff blogging.
After all the tragic news of the last week, I think we all need a little brain candy and a picture of
Onion in her space suit to help to clear all our minds.
Or better yet, check Coopers Dogster page
and be sure to click the clip of him rescuing stranded jelly fish.
Really need a pick up, then there is nothing quite like
Sister site Stuff on my mutt.com launched today!
They are taking submissions now.
I am not even sure how legal it is to do this, but I have cut and pasted Gina's Spadafori's entire blog from last night to be certain that Maine Today's readers were kept current on the Menu Foods Recall.
Sorry if I broke any copy laws Gina. Keep up the superior job you and your co-workers are doing over on Pet Connection.
Pet-food recall: Again, the numbers
If you are just coming to the site, we have prepared a page of basic information. Click here to get there.
The Associated Press continues to report 16 dead pets, without even mentioning the possibility that there are hundreds if not thousands more. So does Newsweek, in this otherwise excellent piece on how to feed pets, featuring the esteemed Dr. Tony Buffington of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
So far, both the Animal Medical Center (the “Mayo Clinic” of veterinary hospitals) and Banfield The Pet Hospital, with more than 600 locations all connected by a central database, have both gone on the record saying there could be thousands of pets sickened or killed by recalled food.
So what’s up, AP?
This afternoon, we got an e-mail from a person in the news department of a radio station, who pointed out to his boss that other media — such as USA Today and ABC News — have been reporting a potentially much higher death rate, and asked to change the AP’s “rip-and-read” radio copy. He was told he could not, and until the AP decides to do more than parrot the FDA line, the story will remain largely under-reported. That means it will soon die.
From tomorrow’s edition of USA Today, now up on its Web site:
The Food and Drug Administration has received more than 4,400 calls from pet owners about the recalled, contaminated dog and cat food that has reportedly sickened and injured animals across the USA.
But the agency has yet to follow up on the calls, so it doesn’t know how many represent sick animals or simply concerned owners, says Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Many pet owners are questioning the reported number of animals that have died from consuming contaminated pet food found in some of the more than 60 million recalled cans and pouches.
Menu Foods, which produced the food, has listed 16 deaths: 15 cats and one dog. The FDA is listing only 14 confirmed dead.
There are still questions about how many animals have died. With no national reporting system for animal injury or death, official numbers are impossible to come by.
However, data from the nation’s largest chain of pet hospitals, Banfield, suggest it is as high as hundreds a week during the three months the food was on the market.
During that time, the more than 600 Banfield hospitals in 43 states saw 200 to 250 cases of kidney failure in cats above the usual number that would have been expected, says Hugh Lewis, president of Data Savant, Banfield’s data collection arm.
During that period, Banfield vets saw 100,000 cats. Extrapolating to the entire cat population of the USA, that could mean “we’re probably talking several hundred cats a week across the country being affected,” Lewis says.
Our self-reported database, by the way, is now reporting 1,716 dead pets as of 9 p.m. PT.I honestly have to wonder: Would the Associated Press accept only official government information if the deaths were people? Is this because these are “just pets”?
As long as the AP continues to report only 15 dead pets, the story will not be taken seriously. And that means there will be little interest in changes.
Report your pet’s loss to the FDA. Also, ask your veterinarian to report your pet’s loss to the state veterinarian for reporting to the FDA. Additionally, if your pet has eaten one of the recalled foods and become sick, add your pet to our database.
And yes, Menu Foods has now recalled all of its previously recalled labels, regardless of manufacturing date. Here’s a longer explanation of why, from the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA says it’s not because foods beyond the recall range are suspected of being tainted, but because it’s easier to pull entire brands off the shelves instead of checking each can or pouch. In any case: Don’t buy or feed these brands, regardless of manufacture date.
Bottom line: We want your pet to be counted, everywhere. And we want your pet’s death to count for something, in hopes that in realizing the true scope of the problem changes will be made so something like this is less likely to happen again.
In yesterday's news conference, the President of Menu Foods had the following to say:
"We have the support of our customers, we have the support of our employees," Henderson said. "We're confident in the future and we remain confident we can put this behind us."
Mr Henderson and I obviously do not travel in the same circles. Pet owners I know have no brand loyalty to brands that kill pets in the name of making a few bucks. Pet owners I know have no brand loyalty to companies who wait until not one but two Friday afternoons to try to bury a story in a press release. Pet owners I know have no brand loyalty to companies who very possibly have no idea what actually goes on with or into their own product. Pet owners that I know do not take kindly to a story as big as this one, being dribbled into our news media at a snails pace when in fact many lives could have been saved long ago if we only got the truth in the first place.
I have had numerous requests from folks wanting to know what is safe to feed our pets.
Here is a list from Petsits of foods NOT made at Menu Foods.
This is an FYI.
I am not personally recommending any food on the list.
As always Pet Conneciton is the place to go for up to the minute information.
I can not express my gratitude to my friends at Pet Connection.com, for putting together a data base logging people's sick and dead animals caused by eating poisoned food produced at Menu Foods. The exact cause still unknown. Last night I am sickened to say, Pet Connection passed a grim milestone,and reached the thousand death mark. While the information is self reported, and not confirmed by the FDA, most of the people reporting have included lot numbers and Vet information.
Think about it. One in 7 test animals died at the factory. 1 in 7. The official count of 14 is expected to climb into the thousands reports ABC.
People I spoke to yesterday had not even heard of the Pet Connection Data base. I urge you all to tell every pet owner you know and help to spread the word. This is citizen advocacy at it's best.
Here again is the link to the data base on Pet Connection. Pass it on.
To quote Gina Spadafori, award winning syndicated Pet Columnist;
They (Menu Foods) dropped their news release late on a Friday, the day when smart businesses and politicians always report bad news, in hopes that by Monday, the impact is lessened, or the story even forgotten. Further, they put their news release out to the business press, in hopes that the recall would be seen as a business story, like the recall of an MP3 player with a bad battery.
Due to their diligence, sweeping change will surely follow in the pet industry. Big media outlets are (now) following their lead in predicting unprecedented numbers of sick and dead animals. Many people, myself included, were shocked to learn that several higher end pet foods were made in the same plant as the cheapest of the cheap. There is currently nothing on the packages to inform consumers of this and surely this will be part of the sweeping change. Stricter pet food regulations will be coming and there are several petitions going already to get that ball rolling.
For up to the minute coverage on this tragedy, keep reading Pet Connection. FMI try the following blogs who are all following this situation very closely-
Itchmo and Howl911 , Vetcetera,
and of course this blog.
I have been trying to stop myself from obsessing about the horrific Menu Foods story of hundreds of sick and dead pets.
But I just can't.
While the self reporting data base over on Pet Connection is anecdotal, over 500 deaths have been reported by owners. Clearly not all posters claims will ever be able to be substantiated. Many never will able to prove foul due to time elapsed, and lack of physical evidence; bodies and food already disposed of. No doubt after reading the heart wrenching comments on the site, that the official death toll of 16 is insulting to all of us with brains in our heads. Clearly we have not heard a realistic number from the FDA.
Perhaps we never will.
Over on Icthmo they have done a rudimentary math analysis of the situation. Check it out, it is very interesting.
Do a goggle search for Menu Pets and click on any of the local media outlets covering their local Vet hospitals with sick and dying pets and law suits. The enormity will blow your mind as it has mine.
I am sickened that the official number is 16, with most of those being from the companies own test lab. We will be reading about this story for a long long time.
Thursday pet Connection update-
From the PetConnection.com database. 11:20 a.m. PT:
Total reports of sick or dead pets: 1715
Deceased pets: 845
Cats, deceased: 500
Dogs, deceased: 345
Over on Pet Connection, the wonderful pet writers have been busy analyzing data that people have been reporting to their web log data base. They URGE people whose pets have been made sick or have died by the recalled food to do the following.
Contact the manufacturer.
Contact the FDA and
PLEASE take a minute to fill out the information on their data base.
As of last night the total reported directly to them was well over 200 with more cats than dogs invovled. Keep in mind the original number reported in the press release was from the companies own test lab.
A study of this kind is very self limiting, and far from perfect, but it is a start, and Pet Connection should be commended for taking on such a huge undertaking.
For a great read on a Vet's take on all this check Dr Patty over on her blog Dolittler. Did you know that Vets got no heads up?
Direct from Dr Patty---
"This kitty probably won’t make it, though her kidney values are moving in the right direction. Treatment on Thursday might well have made all the difference in this case. Her owner is heartbroken. And the internist is beside herself with guilt. If only…
…they had told us sooner. Just one day. Even one day could have saved lives".
Where mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more!
Pet Connection is putting forth a monumental effort covering the poison pet food story and to expose it for what it truly is- greed, cover ups, and very bad business. My head is still spinning after reading Gina's latest blogs where timelines, profit margins and dead lab animals have all the makings of a bad 'made for TV movie'. In February, Menu Food had a mortality rate of nearly 20 % in their tested lab animals, yet waited 1 month to go public! That sickens me on so many levels.
But, sadly this is the reality of Menu Foods. It is enough to inspire even the most die hard convenience food shopper to question their choices.
It seems that at a minimum, Menu Foods was aware of problems February 20th, and even possibly as early as DECEMBER!
According to the Canadian Press:
Starting in December, concerns began filtering back to the company through toll-free customer lines about the “cuts and gravy” style pet food.
One large customer in the United States initiated its own recall after receiving complaints and put future orders for the products on hold.
Be sure to read Pet Connection. Follow the links and read the comments.
If your pet has been affected, please enter your information into the data base form over on the Pet Connection Blog. You will be doing pets everywhere a huge service.
Please! Contact your neighbors who may not have heard of the recall and help to spread the word.
Thanks to Shaggy's folks for the picture
The pet food recall is bigger than originally reported on Friday. Only wet food is invovled, but Science Diet, Mighty Dog, Iams, Eukanuba and Nutro among others have been added to the massive list over the weekend. The best information site is over on the ever wonderful Pet Connection.
You can get advice from Dr. Marty Becker, find current list of foods invovled and report problems to the database.
Looking to shake off the "it's still winter blues"?
How about attending a pet fashion show at the Pet Pantry in Freeport tomorrow, Sunday the 18th @ 12:00.
The staff tells me there will live models and plenty of fashions to see.
Pet Pantry also tells me they will be moving to a much larger location on 177 Main St. by the first of May with much more space, two floors and plenty of parking.
If I ever get shoveled out, maybe I'll see you there.
Talk about your well rounded celebrity cyber media hound! Check out the adorable Onion, a Miniature Bull Terrier. She has a web page, a my space, and she is a huge hit over on You Tube, putting her big bullyhead
through a cat door. She has been in a Ewan McGregar movie! and a music video, and she has served as muse for several artists.
Be sure to keep your mouth shut when chipping away at frozen poop.
Laying on the couch is middle daughter. She is home sick, and trying to get caught up on some zzz's. With her is Finney in his favorite pose, paws up, and gazing out the front window. Between them is the very sweet Gracie, our weekend puppy guest, who prior to my grabbing the camera phone, had been fast asleep on middle daughter's head.
Seems like the pups took it amongst themselves to provide a little pet therapy.
This weekend A Dog's Life reached a major milestone, when my good friend Donna posted the 1000th comment in the comment section. Donna and I "met" when we both worked for a " training chain" back in the 90's. She in Ohio and Me in Mass. We started to write privately to each other after we realized that we had many shared opinions in regards to training dogs, and which members of our on line training family were total bozos!
Over the years, I cannot think of another person who has given me more support in both my personal and business endeavors than Donna.
Donna encouraged me to write for a local paper when I moved from Boston to Portland five and a half years ago. She pushed me to contact the Casco Bay Weekly (now defunct) and thus I began my new past time of writing about dogs. She has edited untold articles for me, yet we have never met.
I know her life story and she knows mine. We have often joked that we will meet one day on Oprah when Oprah does another story on "net" friends; people like us who have become fast friends due to the net.
I often refer to Donna as a best friend I just haven't met yet.
As a thank you, I have ordered Donna her very own FURminator, but truly it doesn't come close to covering the years of friendship, kvetching, and last minute edits.
(insert graffiti, dropping and popping balloons and a loud polka band)
If like me, you wage a constant war against dog hair, look no further.
You NEED a FURminator.
If you don't own one, get one.
I bought one for my self for the holidays and it was my favorite present of the year. While it didn't realize the claim that you only need to FURminator your dog every 6 weeks, I have never gotten so much fur from a dog in my life and there is certainly much less fur in my house. I kept meaning to get my camera to take photos of the all the fur that came off the dogs, but I find FURminating a bit addicting and never could seem to stop myself to run and get a camera. Then I figured, if you all wanted to see it action, all you have to do is watch the movie.
All the dogs don't mind it, even Charlee who doesn't care for grooming. The dogs that love to be groomed, absolutely love it. It must feel great for them to get rid of that dead itchy fur.
If you are looking for a dog gift for your doggie friends-look no further. I have bought two in the last two months. Said one happy friend "my porch looked like I skinned an animal". And from my sister "I had just brushed Belmont, and really couldn't believe how much fur that thing got!"
As a comparison, I also picked up the 10 dollar
Shed Ender at Walgreens, and while it did work somewhat, I would say, "doesn't even come close to the FURminator".
Prior to being a FURminator convert, my favorite shedding tool was a circular cat shedding blade that I bought at a yard sale for 10 cents.
One of the reasons I liked the cat shedding blade over the larger dog/horse type was that I had more control on how much pressure I put on my dog's sensitive areas.
When our Collie Finn turned one early last month, I picked up Premier's new Bouncy Bone for his birthday gift.
Here is what Premier has to say about it:
The Bouncy Bone™ - 3 toys in 1. The durable bone and rubber ball, plus replaceable treats, make this a must-have for any dog! The Bouncy Bone comes packaged with 2 sets of Gnawhide treats, to keep your pup chewing happily. Available in 3 sizes. Additional treats sold separately.
I am happy to report all good things about this product. Toy testers Finney, Brewster, Sophia and Charlee have all enjoyed this toy and it shows little signs of wear. The hard bone has a few tooth minor tooth marks, but the hard rubber ball is not even dented.
Finn gets his Bouncy bone with the Gnawhide screwed in at crate time when I have to leave the house. When I get home, the other two dogs can't wait for their turn. Sometimes there are bits of the Gnawhide still left and Charlee has to work at it a bit to get to it. Charlee has never shown any interest in Nylabones but she happily works on the Bouncy Bone after it has been scented with the Gnawhide.
Interactive toys for dogs keep them busy for much longer than regular toys. Interactive toys that last and keep a dogs interest are well worth the investment.
They are VERY reasonably priced. We have the medium size.
The large was very heavy and could have actually hurt someone if Charlee got to throwing it around like she does the medium size Bouncy Bone.
My toy testers play hard, but they are not what I would call true power chewers.
A plus plus!
After my last post about Harry the service pup that died, I thought we could all use some mindless fluff to help ease our minds.
Thanks to Amy for sending me this clip of Bunny Show Jumping.
Before we all run out and get agility prospect bunnies, check this guy out.
Condolences go out to everyone who has ever met Harry.
Harry was owned by New England Assistance Dogs (NEADS), and he attended my group class with his puppy raiser Teena at the Brown Dog Inn in Freeport. Teena has raised 9 pups for NEADS, and both she and Harry were dream students in class. Harry was being trained as a hearing assist dog who was to be spending a good portion of his days in a lucky person's lap.
After extensive medical testing at Tufts, at only 8 months of age, Harry was found to have serious and painful genetic defects in liver, heart and kidney. Many of you may have met Teena and Harry out and about at different events. My kids feel in love with Harry last fall at Deering oaks Park at the Animal Refuge's annual Paws in the Park, and they took the news really hard.
When Teena gets another pup for NEADS I will donate class time again, but no dog can ever replace Harry.
I will miss Harry sitting in my lap and rolling his feet up to my chin to be scratched under his doggie coat.
Harry stole my heart.
Many of you will recall seeing the deplorable TV footage of 19 Beagles along with a mixed breed dog, taken from a hoarders home in Limington last month. The good news is that the dogs are thriving and ready for new homes. Currently the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook has two lovely girls on their adoption floor waiting patiently for their new families. Meet Lilac and Lupine, who have been described to me by Susan Britt, Director of Operations , as "amazingly sweet." "When the girls underwent their temperament tests, they were happiest sitting in the evaluator's lap".
Families considering these dogs should expect some degree of separation anxiety as the dogs have never been alone and are very bonded to people and other dogs. All 20 dogs taken from the hoarders home have dental issues that will need to be addressed as well.
For more info visit the Refuge Leagues web site at:
Helping these dogs has taxed the shelter's already limited resources and donations are always much appreciated.
I try very hard to be a positive sort of person. I try not to dwell on the negative, and I always try to look on the bright side of life and to carry on as best I can. But waking up on my birthday Monday really pushed me over the edge of the happy cliff.
O.K., how would you feel if you woke up on a big birthday? You know, a scary number year. The kind of year where your first thought of the day, before your eyes are even open, is that you need to sell the minivan and buy a 2-seater BMW convertible and cancel your work day so you can have your hair done.
I know that isn’t going to happen…so I hit the floor with both feet to start my day. The time is not quite 6 a.m. and I am, of course, pre-coffee. I barely take ten steps before my heel hits an unexpected slick spot of doggie doo on the hardwood floor, sending me skidding on my heel (just like my nine-year-old does in her wheeled sneakers) three-feet across the floor, coming to a halt in the living room and looking very much like a Flamingo in shock.
The dogs cock their heads and send puzzled looks my way. Is she dancing?? I glance at the cable box for the time display and discover it’s flat-lining. Guess I should have paid the bill before I left on vacation... O.K., now I’m beginning to worry. What kind of new birthday year am I in for?
The dogs continue to watch me and I’m certain I can hear Charlee snickering. I haven’t found my predicament as entertaining as they apparently have, so grumbling to myself I head for the bathroom to clean up. I clean up the floor and let the dogs out; however retrieving them from the yard presents a new challenge. Finney is missing and has broken out of the yard. He has joined forces with my neighbor’s Golden Retriever, and is fence-running, all the while barking his wonderful shrill head off. It isn’t even 6:10 a.m. yet.
So I get my boots and jacket and head across the deep snow to snag him. Back in the house, I start brewing that elixir of the gods – Java – and proceed to wait for more bad things to happen.
For the rest of the day I keep expecting a new disaster, but nothing further occurs.
The slick spot on the floor isn’t repeated. The dogs aren’t sick after all. I fixed the fence and paid the cable bill. My Dad calls to wish me a “Happy Birthday!” He asks "Did you get hurt"? "No," I say. "Did you fall in it"? "No," I say. "Do you know how lucky you are? "You’re going to have a very lucky year" he says.
I guess that’s where I got my optimistic side from.