Cape Cod Times

March 21, 2007

Cats' Kidneys Fail After Eating Iams

By PATRICK CASSIDY
STAFF WRITER

Amber and Missy appear to be among the first Cape animals severely affected by contaminated pet food recalled from store shelves across the country last week.

The two cats' kidneys failed after they ate Iams canned tuna and salmon cat food, according to their owner, Jennifer Moody.

"They just started vomiting and vomiting," Moody, 31, said yesterday at her home on Astor Way in South Yarmouth.

The recall by a Canadian pet food manufacturer Friday was spurred by kidney failures and deaths among nine cats used in taste testing by the company and a handful of known consumer cases including one dog death.

The total number of animals sickened by the contamination is unclear, but Cape veterinarians reported a high number of phone calls yesterday from concerned pet owners.

Moody fed her cats moist Iams food she bought at a Shaw's Supermarket about 10 days ago, but after a taste, the 2-year-old sister cats refused to eat anymore of the food.

Over the next week, the animals stopped eating altogether and the otherwise healthy-looking felines lost about two pounds, Moody said.

Jennifer Moody fed her cats Iams canned food

Jennifer Moody of South Yarmouth fed her cats,
Amber and Missy, Iams canned tuna
and salmon that she bought 10 days ago
at Shaw's. (Staff photo by Ron Scloerb)

Moody brought Amber and Missy to her veterinarian, Lauren Collazo, at Veterinarian Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth on March 14.

After examining the animals' blood work, Collazo called Moody and asked her to bring Amber and Missy back immediately. Both animals were treated for kidney failure, Collazo said.

"We had to hospitalize the cats and put them on IV fluids to flush out their system," Collazo said.

Both animals appeared healthy, if skittish yesterday, and Collazo said she expected they would both recover.

Collazo said she examined three other cats who had eaten some of the products on the recall list. Two of the cats were issued a clean bill of health and Collazo was waiting for the results of blood work on the third.

Moody said she did not connect the food and her cats' symptoms until she saw a news report about the recall on television Saturday morning.

She estimates her veterinary bill at $1,100 so far, but she hadn't thought about her chances of reimbursement yet.

After calling Iams and getting a busy signal she did speak to a company representative who said she should return the food to the store where she bought it for reimbursement, she said.

"I don't care about the $10 I spent on the food," Moody said. "I care about my pets."

Menu Foods of Ontario, operates the two plants in New Jersey and Missouri where the nearly 100 affected products are manufactured.

In a telephone conference yesterday director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Stephen Sundlof said the supplier of wheat gluten that is the suspected source of the toxin has not been identified.

This article © Copyright 2007 Cape Cod Times