Important article from the The Truth About Pet Food about Purina food possibly linked to pet illness/deaths

Below is an article from The Truth About Pet Food that came out today regarding reports of Purina food possibly linked to cat and dog illnesses/deaths over the last two months. If any of your cats or dogs have mysteriously gotten sick or worse please read this article and then report it to the FDA. You can go here to file a report.


Report it! – Please!

By Susan Thixton

http://truthaboutpetfood.com/report-it-please/

November 13, 2014

I’ve heard from many readers concerned of the recent Internet reports of sick and dying pets linked to a Purina Pet Food. I turned to FDA asking if the agency has received complaints on the Purina foods.

When an Examiner.com story was published highlighting several recent pet deaths linked to a Purina pet food, I started hearing from many readers. Everyone had similar concerns – is there going to be a recall? The amazing thing is – no one that wrote me provides their pet a Purina product. Everyone’s concern was for other pets – other pet owners. Everyone that contacted me was wanting to help – wanting to prevent pet illness and death.

The Examiner.com story was based on pet food consumer reports of sick or dead pets on the ConsumerAffairs.com website. The posts from consumers were heartbreaking and concerning. I turned to FDA, asking if they could tell me if any Purina pet food was under investigation and asking how many adverse event reports the agency has received over the past two months.
FDA promptly replied:

In the past two months (9/12/2014 to 11/12/2014), the agency has received 14 reports about Purina dry food products (this includes for both dogs and cats). Three were adverse event reports for cat food products, 10 were adverse event reports for dog food products (one of these included a product defect report as well), and 1 was a product defect report for a dog food product. Here is a breakdown of the reports:

Purina Cat Chow: 0
Purina Dog Chow: 1 product report
Purina Puppy Chow: 2 (1 product defect, 1 product defect/adverse event report)
Beneful: 8 reports, 1 included another Purina product as well
Purina ONE: 1 cat product report, 1 dog product report
Purina ProPlan: 1 cat product report

The Food and Drug Administration welcomes reports from consumers alerting the agency to problems with products regulated by the agency. These reports help the FDA ensure that products on the market are safe and properly manufactured, labeled and stored. FDA encourages those with concerns about a particular pet food product to submit a report to the Safety Reporting Portal: https://www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov/fpsr/WorkflowLoginIO.aspx?metinstance=B4B8DBDBB6CD79D2ED83195A812D1E7D9C329501.

Reports of adverse events do not necessarily mean that the product caused the event. Other factors, such as existing disease, exposure to chemicals or contaminants, foods, or other medications may have triggered or contributed to the cause of the event. The FDA takes all of these factors into consideration when reviewing adverse drug event reports.

In general, the agency does not discuss its enforcement activities, and any investigation findings would be shared directly with the company.

From the ConsumerAffairs.com website – in the approximate same time frame there are the following complaints filed by consumers…

Alpo – sick dog
Beyond Lamb and Rice Dog Food – sick dog
Purina One Cat Food – sick cat.
Purina Kit & Kaboodle – 10 cats died.
Pro Plan – worms in pet food.
Kit & Kaboodle – one cat died.
Purina Kitten Chow – one kitten died.
Purina Lamb and Rice – sick dog.
Pro Plan Dog Food – seizure.
Purina One cat food – diminished motor control.
Friskies – 2 sick cats.
Purina One Hairball – two sick cats.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cats and one died.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Kitten Chow – 2 kittens died.
Purina Cat Food – bugs in food.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy – bugs in food.
Puppy Chow – puppy died.
Purina One Lamb and Rice – bugs in food.
Friskies – sick cats.
Friskies can – ‘grey’ on top wet food.
Purina Beyond – sick dog.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cat.
Purina One Smart Blend – sick dogs.
Purina Dog Chow – dog died, another dog died too.
Purina One – sick cat.
Purina Cat Chow – cat died.

In the above list – consumers have reported 19 animals have died. These numbers or reports of sick pets (naming a food) do not agree with what FDA shared. What is going on?

The answer is – we don’t know. What we do know is that we need every incident of a sick pet, every pet that has died, and every bugs in a pet food reported to FDA. Every incident needs to be reported.

Needless to say, I am not the FDA’s biggest fan. But – the ONLY way for a suspect pet food to be recalled is through FDA and your State Department of Agriculture. If – we consumers – can be pro-active in helping save the lives of pets, this is one way we can help.

If you or anyone you know has a pet they believe was sickened or killed linked to a pet food or treat –

1. Seek veterinary care for your pet. Share your concern that you believe the pet food or treat might be the cause. Ask your veterinarian to give their opinion if the food could be related to the illness or death – this is significant information for FDA and other investigators. We need our veterinarians to stand with us. If the pet dies – as difficult as this might be – ask your veterinarian to perform a necropsy. This is evidence. In the midst of your grief, if you believe the food or treat was the cause, you need this evidence to hold the manufacturer accountable. You will need this evidence to possibly save the lives of other pets. If you cannot afford the cost of a necropsy, ask you veterinarian to hold the pets body while you report the issue to regulatory authorities.
In some cases authorities will perform the necropsy for you. Make certain to tell regulatory authorities you are holding the pet’s body for this reason.

2. When time allows – document everything. Where and when you purchased the food (keep all food and packaging), when you first noticed symptoms and what those symptoms are/were. Document everything you can recall. DO NOT return the food to the retail outlet for a refund. No investigation can occur without the food/treat and the packaging.

3. File a complaint with the FDA and your State Department of Agriculture (ask to speak to the pet food investigator). Bookmark this page on the FDA website. This is the instructions on how to report the sick pet.

4. Report the incident to the pet food manufacturer. Note: seek veterinary treatment first, document everything, report to FDA before you report to the manufacturer.

5. You can have the food tested yourself at an independent lab or a veterinary school lab. Ask your veterinarian to provide you with what food toxins could cause the symptoms seen in your pet (example: mycotoxins, vitamin toxicity).

6. If you wish to share your story with other websites – share. We all want to warn other consumers when we suspect a problem with a pet food or treat. But please – report the incident to regulatory authorities first, Facebook second.

My heart goes out to all those that have lost a pet due to a pet food or treat – I began my path of pet food consumer advocacy because 20+ years ago a dog food killed my beloved dog. I still grieve her death – I still feel responsible. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I bought her this pet food and placed it in her bowl. Something I’ll never forget.

Report it – please.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food

Can your cat predict an earthquake?

As many of you know we are work and live in San Francisco. As a native your cat faerie has been through countless earthquakes, most minor, but some quite major like the 1989 Loma Prieta quake which happened during a World’s Series game played at SF’s Candlestick Park.

Saturday night at 3:20 am there was a 6.0 (some reports say 6.1 but who’s counting!) earthquake centered in Napa which is one of the vital valleys of our wine country. Some 60 miles or an hour away by car it woke us up and we felt every dramatic wave and shake. Fortunately for us not even one can of cat food toppled over!

Do animals know before that an earthquake is coming?

After the devastating earthquake in Kobe, Japan a Japanese university began to study animals and earthquakes. Can they predict them? How far in advance do they feel that something is coming? Your cat faerie was part of that study and answered the many pages long questionnaire.

For us personally before this most recent quake, the cats were fine, no out of the ordinary behavior. But we suspect that cats being cats would only alert us or act strangely if a quake would be serious and affect our home or immediate area – which this one did not. Napa on the other hand got hit very hard.

But our bunnies were a different story. For the 3 days leading up to this earthquake several of them were fighting. Rabbits being animals that burrow underground might be more sensitive to the earth’s movement than cats or dogs.

The Save A Bunny rabbit rescue in Mill Valley (in Marin County and about 20 minutes closer to Napa than we are) reported that night their bunnies were thumping in unison – they knew something was coming and were thumping to alert everyone around them.

We’ve been told that African Gray parrots will hang upside down their cages prior to an earthquake.

Jim Berkland, a now retired geologist, has been predicting earthquakes for years. He uses lunar phases, and tides, and most interesting, he observes animals.

What he has observed is a spike in missing cats and dogs on posters and in newspapers a few weeks before a big quake, for example the horrible Northridge quake of 1994. Cats and dogs will sense something is coming so if they have access to outside, they often run off.

We found a really good story about Jim and his predictions written in January of 2014. It’s a great read, we know you’ll enjoy it. Interestingly Jim still lives in Northern California, in Glen Ellen which is the Sonoma side of the wine country. It looks like he isn’t leaving anytime soon! We aren’t either!

Sonoma Index-Tribune – Ready for the Big One

Being safe during an earthquake:

  • As soon as you feel an earthquake stand in the frame of the nearest doorway. Door frames are structurally very strong and if something falls it probably won’t hit your head. Don’t stand near a refrigerator or anything else that can topple over.
  • As soon as you can turn off your gas! Don’t know how? Learn this week. Also this week, strap your water heater so that it can’t tip over.
  • Aftershocks can occur minutes, hours, days, or weeks later. Some aftershocks can be as strong as the actual quake, but usually they are less so.
  • It’s not always safe to be outside – chimneys can fall, buildings can collapse, glass windows can pop out of their frames sending dangerous shards flying. If the building you are in seems unstable go outside but stand in the center of the street.
  • This week look over your emergency food and water stash. Discard anything with old expiration dates and replenish. Have flash lights and batteries. Maxi pads make great bandages because they are so absorbent, just wrap medical tape around them. Keep a large jar of cayenne pepper – it stops bleeding in seconds when poured on a gash. (really!)
  • Keep your emergency items in plastic garbage cans with the lid on securely. If something falls on it, the contents will probably not get broken. They also won’t get damaged by water.
  • You can buy emergency kits for your car from The American Red Cross. You never know when you might need it for yourself or your passengers, or another injured person you may encounter.
  • Don’t ditch your land line! In the event of an earthquake and so many other disasters where the power can go out that cell phone is not going to work. You want an old school phone that goes into a wall jack. Have a land line for emergencies and you’ll be the first to be able to call out for help, or to let friends and relatives know that you are safe.

Here’s a presentation titled “Earthquake Prediction and Animals” that describes the behavior of all sort of animals and even insects before a major earthquake. It’s really fascinating!

People love to ask us Californians, “What does it feel like?” The first thing is what you hear, which can sound like a loud crack or like a Mack truck hit your house. A split second later it’s like a giant grabbed your house and is shaking it. It might also feel like a long steady roll. You’ll probably hear the rattle of drinking glasses and plates clanging. Pictures on the wall start to sway or even bounce, a chair might dance across the floor. You might hear or see things fall over.

Have any of your cats or other animals warned you of earthquakes or any severe natural disaster, like a life threatening storm? We’d love to know for a follow up to this article.

Cats often need baby food, learn which is using GMO’s!

From time to time your vet will recommend that your cat be fed baby food for a period of time. Usually the cat has been sick and is vulnerable to toxins and stresses to the body.

Gerber is using GMO ingredients, and ingredients doused with the herbicide Roundup. If these ingredients harm babies they are likely to harm our cats.

Our sources tell us that Beechnut is not using GMO’s or ingredients which have had Roundup (or similar) applied to them. At this time Beechnut would be the ideal choice for any cat who is sick or being fussy.

One of the many reasons to avoid feeding cats GMO food is that these modified foods have shown to compromise kidneys. I don’t think we need to point out that renal failure is a common occurrence in cats. It’s something we cat lovers try to prevent. GMO’s also harm the liver.

Note: Both brands removed onion powder from their foods a long time ago in response to mothers protesting that if it’s bad for cats, it would be bad for babies.

CALL Gerber and give them an earful. Available 24/7: 800-284-9488

Here is a really good article about GMO’s and why they are so bad:

http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/What-Genetically-Modified-Foods-Do-to-Our-Bodies

Non-Toxic Flea Control Proven to Work

I’m so not fond of housecleaning that I can successfully talk myself out of it nearly every time! And vacuuming? Ugh! The noise offends my delicate nerves and ears, and worse, it scares my cats and rabbits. What better reasons could I possibly have to postpone vacuuming for when the dust bunnies grow into tumbleweeds? My hatred of fleas!

After reading an article (linked below) about how effective a quick vacuuming around the house is at killing fleas in any stage of their development I’ve changed my ways. When I learned that for 96% of yucky fleas who get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner it’s “a one way trip.”

Over the years I had read, as I’m sure you had too, that we should put a flea collar in the vacuum cleaner bag. And, that we need to throw out or otherwise destroy the vacuum bag after each use because it was assumed the fleas were still alive and would escape with vengeance in their evil little minds. All of this misinformation gave us more work to do, gave us more to worry about, and fortunately none of it was ever necessary.

From the article…

“Six tests of vacuuming the adult fleas yielded an average of 96 percent of fleas killed; three tests of vacuumed pupae and one test of vacuumed larvae (in their third stage of development) resulted in 100 percent killed.”

Read the entire article here: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/needfleas.htm

Here’s a smart kitty on flea patrol on his Roomba!

See this video…

Toxoplasmosis, cats and pregnant women. Is your doctor giving you bad advice?

We cringe every time we hear that another cat has lost a home because of bad and incorrect warnings from doctors directed at pregnant women.

We finally found a really good article that clears the air about cats, toxoplasmosis and pregnant or nursing women.

Far too many obstetricians attempting to sound smart have given women bad and very wrong advice: “Get rid of your cat to protect your child.”

If your cat stays inside and has never eaten a rodent the chances of your cat carrying this parasite are remote. Concerned about your cat? Have the cat tested!

From the article we’ve linked to below:

Question: Do I have to give up my cat if I’m pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?

Answer: No. You should follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.

  • Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
  • Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat’s feces.
  • Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
  • Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
  • Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.

Read the entire article: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html

The ASPCA has a good page about Toxoplasmosis and cats. Here’s something they say:

If you suspect your cat is carrying the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, it’s time to get him tested by your veterinarian. If he tests positive, it means he has been exposed to the disease but is unlikely to be shedding oocysts after an initial two-week period. If he tests negative, it means he has not been exposed and could still become infected and shed oocysts — but again only for two weeks.

Read more from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/toxoplasmosis

From a new mother’s forum, moms and a vet student speak:

http://www.babycenter.com/400_chances-of-toxoplasmosis-with-an-indoor-cat_1505321_868.bc

Dr. Cheryl Schwartz DVM on helping your Diabetic cat




When Dr. Cheryl Schwartz wanted to learn about veterinary acupuncture she found that a book on the subject did not exist – even in China where acupuncture originated. She turned to the text books for human doctors, and took courses in human acupuncture knowing she could transfer what she learned for people to animals. After years of treating patients with 4 feet and a tail she wrote her book “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” which is now a text book in China.




Here is a Cat Faeries exclusive Q and A with Dr. Cheryl Schwartz DVM:

1) I know that for my own diabetes (type 2) the ideal diet is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat. It’s worked wonders. Would you say that a similar diet for cats who have diabetes or for people who don’t want their cat to get diabetes is a good idea? And what about for cats with kidney failure? It seems to me that both ways of feeding a cat is ideal.

Dr. Schwartz: Great ideas and questions! Low carb, moderate protein and high fat are beneficial for cats with diabetes and kidney failure

2) I’m eating a lot of organ meats (also known as offal). In particular, lamb sweetbreads*. Which by the way, my cats love (recipe to follow). How do you feel about organ meats vs muscle meat for cats with diabetes or kidney failure?

Dr Schwartz: I prefer small amounts of organ meat mixed with muscle meat, because higher amounts seem to create constipation and stagnation in cats.

* Cat Faeries Note: See below for two recipies for lamb sweetbreads – one for cats, one for people.

3) My MD has me on 70 grams of protein a day and I’m surprised that I’m liking eating less protein and more fat. What might you recommend for an average sized cat of about 11 pounds? What ratio of meat to fat to vegetable do you like?

Dr. Schwartz: I don’t usually break it down between fat and protein. I use more TCM therapy. I recommend the fatty meats like lamb, chicken, beef. Some cats with diabetes do well on stewed or boiled pork loin or butt. It is important to make sure the cat does not also have pancreatitis where fat metabolism/absorption can create more inflammation, so each cat seems to be unique. Ratio between meat and vegetables would be 2/3 meat to 1/3 veggies, including some sweet potato.

4) I no longer cook my own meats at a high heat because the high heat creates “advanced glycation” which happens inside the body when charred, grilled, or fried meat is consumed. I understand that this means it turns to sugar when it’s eaten and this is one of the reason diabetes is has become practically an epidemic for people, and also our cats and dogs. I steam, stew, boil, simmer, or poach my meats now and eat them pretty rare. Would you recommend those techniques for a cat’s meat? Do you have anything to say about advanced glycation and how to prevent it?

Dr Schwartz: High heat is present in dry food and it does increase the sugar content. I recommend stewing or poaching, or hot pot as best ways to prepare. If the cat can tolerate and like it, I would recommend raw food.

5) There has been a lot of talk lately about resistant starch and safe starches for people – basically steamed potatoes and white rice, severed with something acidic (like lemon juice), fat and served cold. For people it can be healing to the gut and it gives people some carbs which do not jack their blood sugar. Any value in this theory for cats?

Dr. Schwartz: I like steamed sweet potato or pumpkin for cats.

6) Are there safe carbs for a cat? Any safe grains?

Dr. Schwartz: It depends on the cat. I really like the sweet potato, pumpkin. Another alternative is mashed cooked lentils or garbanzo beans with cooked white rice. Adding a small piece of pickle* is sometimes tolerated by some cats. Either the cat likes it or not.

* Cat Faeries Note: Coming up in another newsletter, how to properly lacto ferment vegetables suitable for you and your cats.

7) Which fats are good for cats? For people ideal fats are saturated and those include: coconut oil, MCT oil, lard, grass fed butter.

Dr Schwartz: Cat Faeries fish oil mainly. Grass fed butter*, olive oil, small amounts coconut oil.

* Cat Faeries Note: www.mcclellandsdairy.com/ or www.pureindianfoods.com are who we buy our grass fed butter or ghee.

8) Which flower essences help cats with either or both conditions?

Dr. Schwartz: Kidney Kitty is good. It would also be helpful for diabetes cats

9) You are big on color therapy. Would you recommend shining a colored light on a cat?

Dr Schwartz: For the kidneys use blue light. Shine the light around the kidney area in lumbar vertebrae. For diabetes use yellow or green light and shine it at the end of the ribs (Thoracic V) and beginning of the lumbar as well as Spleen 6.

10) Any other therapies that a person might employ?

Dr. Schwartz: Other great modalities might be sound therapy with tuning forks.

11) What acupressure points are good for diabetic cats and cats with some form of renal failure?



For diabetes



For renal failure

(Photos from “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” used with permission of Dr. Cheryl Schwartz)



Your Cat Faeries’ Lamb Sweetbreads Recipie

Lamb sweetbreads are the pancreas and thymus of young sheep and they are one of the most nutrient dense foods there is. You only want to buy them from organic/pastured sources. To find them in your state: www.eatwild.com

  • Soak a pound or so of sweet breads in cold water for two hours
  • You might rinse them a few times during their soak
  • Strain in a colander in the sink
  • You want to pull off the big chunky fat pieces – the reason is that this fat isn’t delicious, it can be bitter, and the tough texture clashes with the dumpling like texture of the sweet breads
  • Try to remove some of the membrane without tearing or compromising the shape of the sweet breads
  • Cut them into uniform sizes so that they cook evenly. About 1 and a half inch pieces.
  • Par boil in gently boiling water for 5 minutes and drain

IF SERVING TO CATS – STOP HERE! The seasonings which are good and healthful to us are not good for cats (onion especially)

Continue on only for people…

  • Melt a lot of butter in a pan
  • Add some white wine and stir vigorously to make a slight reduction
  • Seasonings can include salt and pepper, a pinch of cumin powder, onion powder (organic and delicious onion powder can be bought at Azure Farms online)
  • Add the sweet breads
  • Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Interestingly, they do not dry out, yet if they are undercooked the texture isn’t very nice.
    At this point you can remove them and do a thicker white wine and butter deduction sauce by adding more of both, and stirring vigorously
  • You could even put some heavy cream in at this point or a bit of soft goat cheese
  • Put the sweetbreads back in the pan so the flavors marry with the sauce
  • Some people fry up the fat bits and have them separately
  • Leftovers are so good that they are even good cold!
  • You might experiment with adding cooked sausage and mushrooms