East Texas Veterinarian Talks About Chemical Finding In Contaminated Pet Food

A major break through Friday in finding the source of the contaminated pet food, thought to be the cause of the deaths of several cats and dogs.   Scientists in New York State say a rat poison called Aminopterin has turned up in cat food samples.   The discovery comes a week after a massive recall of 60 million cans and pouches of cat and dog food was issued.  ABC news has learned the source of the toxin was wheat imported from China and used by menu foods in nearly 100 brands of pet food.

All week KLTV has brought you stories of East Texas pet owners who say their cat or dog died after eating the recalled pet food.  Friday, we learn another cat, also a consumer of the recalled food, has died at a local animal hospital.

"We should know within a week whether it was for sure related to our pet food, but it came in with acute kidney failure," said Doctor Sharon Waters of Glenwood Animal Hospital.  Friday afternoon, Dr. Sharon Waters of Glenwood Animal Hospital, learned the news that the rat poison Aminopterin has been found in some of the recalled food. That could cause a problem because it's not a chemical she's familiar with.

"Most of our rat poisons in the United States are one of two groups of compounds," said Waters. "One that causes a bleeding disorder and the other causes a neurological disorder." Waters says knowing which chemical is making pets sick may help, but it's too early to tell.

"Unfortunately, you know with these type of cases we have to have some patience," said Waters. "There are problems that are related to toxic agents that we still don't know what it is in the body that causes their toxicities, and they've been around for hundreds of years." Waters says it could be some time before they know if there is a medication to stop the chemical from hurting the animals.  In the meantime, veterinarians will continue to treat the pets as if they had a kidney disease, and hope the pet can recover.

It is not clear whether the rat poison is the only contaminant, or how much of it is in the food.  The pet food maker Menu Foods says it will reimburse medical costs if pet owners can show their animals died from tainted food.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com