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Are mysterious cat deaths linked to pet food?

by Therese on November 23, 2008

in Cats, Pet Health

20081123cats.jpgMore than a dozen cats in Australia have become ill, but veterinarians aren’t sure what the cause may be. The only thing in common with the cats is that they all ate Orijen pet food. The pet food company, Champion Petfoods, isn’t sure what the cause of the problem is but they’re looking into it.

UNEXPLAINED chronic illness and death among Sydney cats has been linked to a gourmet imported pet food withdrawn from stores over the past three weeks.

A cat neurologist, Georgina Child, has put down five cats over the past week and treated or consulted with other vets about more than a dozen others suffering from paralysis.

Dr Child, who is based at the University of Sydney’s veterinary hospital and the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in North Ryde, said the only factor that linked all the cats was a specialist pet food called Orijen, which is imported through a Canadian company, Champion Petfoods.

“There is a highly suspicious link because this is an uncommon expensive food in this country at the moment, and not sold in supermarkets,” Dr Child said. “But all tests that have been done so far haven’t given us an answer.”

First symptoms included wobbliness or weakness in the animal’s hind legs, which could then progress to the front limbs. The condition did not appear to be infectious, Dr Child said, nor typical of a nutritional deficiency.

The company is investigating whether irradiation upon entry into Australia was the source of the contamination.

Here’s the rest.

I certainly hope this is an isolated case and Champion Petfoods can find the cause. Along with that hope comes another…that they are responsible enough to be upfront about it and let their customers know. However, the fact that they suspect irradiation when the food was imported seems to open up a whole new set of questions.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Davis November 23, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Here is some information on irridation http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/food.htm

Although, it doesn’t sound like irridation would be the culprit. It is strange that it was after a period of time they begin having symptoms. Could there be something else like cat treats, wet food or something else that has been overlooked that was also used or the cats exposed to? Were they all from the same region, state or city? And it has only occurred in Australia…..and nowhere else. That is very odd.


Therese November 23, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for the link, Robert. The whole thing does sound very odd, but from the article it sounds like they ruled other foods/treats out. I certainly hope they’ll be able to isolate the problem before any other pets die. And honestly, I hope it’s not a food issue.


Robert Davis November 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Sounds like chemcial exposure the way the cats showed signs of nuerological disorders (wobblieness and loss of ability to walk). I did read further that it was only in Sydney. I wonder if the food is sold in other parts of Australia and if customers using the food there show any similiar signs ovder time. It is such a mystery right now. Someone mentioned on the forum perhaps the bags were exposed to something.


keith ricci November 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Please read In 2/2008 and 3/2008 I lost two of my cats They had the signs of thrombosis (which is sudden paralysis of the hind legs).The vet said it was kidney disease . It a long story so I will make it short Someone killed my cats.Right now I am in trouble I took in a stray 3 weeks ago and yesterday he started showing signs of thrombosis . I stopped feeding him cat food both wet and dry. I have him on people food tuna ,egg yolks , rice and chicken with spray vitamins I do not trust anyone .If you have any helpful information for me. please let me know. Thank you.


Carol November 24, 2008 at 7:51 pm

here’s the latest from Orijen..
and the link to the article he is referencing.

hope the US is watching this closely…I know I am!


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