The head of the Veterinary Specialists and Cancer Treatment Center in New York City reports a rise in cases of chronic renal failure possibly linked to the Menu Foods recall.

On the one hand, this is not terribly surprising, because those animals that survive an episode of acute renal failure often progress to chronic renal failure. On the other hand, this report is troubling because it indicates that animals that have eaten tainted food but not shown signs of ARF might still be at risk. Damage to their kidneys could still be occuring but not at levels that would immediately cause unmistakable, overt symptoms.

All animals that have eaten recalled food should be tested, even if owners do not notice any signs of illness. (This is doubly true for cats, which are adept at hiding illness.)

A question catmanager has: Would pets whose bloodwork and/or urinalysis does not show signs of kidney damage but that have eaten only small amounts of affected food and started eating it only a day or so before being tested benefit from further testing at a later date? Catmanager hopes that the AVMA or ACVIM will offer some guidance to veterinarians on this question.

In the interim catmanager suggests that veterinary staff should try to obtain complete diet histories from clients, paying special attention to when their pets started eating recalled food, how long they were eating the recalled food, and when they stopped eating that food.