As soon as the pet food recall was announced, my wife suspected that several cases of kidney failure recently seen at her feline practice might be traceable to the recalled food.
This morning she heard from the owner of a cat whom we euthanized for kidney failure last week. The cat had been eating some of the now-recalled food. When seen a week ago, she was severely dehydrated. Her owner reported that she had become suddenly ill. Bloodwork showed elevated albumin (5.4), amylase (1524), BUN (180), phosphorus (>20), and creatinine (6.2). TP was 11.2 and globulins 5.7. Calcium values were at the high end of normal. She also showed low T4 (0.7) and high cholesterol (311). The cat was being fed Special Kitty (we had recommended two weeks earlier that the owner stop feeding this to the cat).
However, although this case might seem clear-cut (the bloodwork supports acute kidney failure, the owner reports sudden onset, and the owner has identified food fed to the cat as being affected by the recall), my wife indicated she could not rule out other possible factors. The cat was almost fourteen years old. We had recently recommended that she be seen for a dental due to severe dental disease. Bloodwork suggests a possible underlying infection. Dental disease is known to contribute to kidney failure in older cats. If the cat already had an infection, possibly the tainted food pushed her kidneys over the edge. Who can tell at this point? Catmanager suspects that veterinarians will be facing many cases of a similarly cloudy nature over the coming days.
In the meantime, my wife has identified at least two other cases that are suspicious and fall within the correct time frame. The owner of one of those cases has already contacted us. We are still debating whether we should be contacting owners of deceased cats if we suspect the recalled foods might be involved in their deaths.