Pet owners nationwide are closer to finding out what may have sickened and in some cases killed their cats and dogs. A chemical used to make plastics has now been linked to the recalled pet foods.
The Food and Drug Administration says it found the chemical, called "melamine" in some Menu Foods pet foods, as well as wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the wet-style products. However, it is still not clear if melamine is to blame for pet deaths. Rat poison first surfaced as a possible culprit -- but the FDA found no such traces in the pet food. FDA officials are trying to determine if the company used any of the wheat gluten, imported from China, to make dry pet food.
Menu Foods recalled 60 million containers of the food after animals who ate it died of kidney failure. The FDA says it's not clear just how many pets have been poisoned by the apparently contaminated food.
A local veterinarian says although he's gotten several phone calls from concerned pet owners and that's he's had some actually bring their pets in, he has not had any confirmed cases in his office. He says you can be sure your pet is safe by feeding it name-brand pet food, instead of generic brands. He also says you should not substitute pet food with table scraps.
"You're better off even with this current situation, you're better off feeding the better brands of commercial food and having a balanced diet, rather than trying to make a home-made diet where you would likely see a nutritional problem or just dietary problems," said Alexis Animal Clinic veterinarian David Post.
Dr. Post says if you notice that your animal is showing signs of illness, to take it in for case as soon as possible. He says animals showing kidney failure that have gotten medical care soon, have responded well to treatment. Dr. Post says if your pet is drinking or urinating excessively or showing signs of fatigue, these may be signs of kidney failure. He suggests to call your vet or take it to the vet immediately. Another note: "Hill's Pet Nutrition" has recalled some dry cat food made with contaminated wheat gluten.