Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Important information for all dog owner's. Euthanasia drug found in dog food.

Yesterday, USA Today ran a story from the Detroit Free Press about some Evanger's dog food being recalled because it was found to contain a drug called pentobarbital. This drug is used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. I did some cross checks on a few links referred to in the story and came up with some very disturbing news. Here is the original story from USA Today.

From USA Today
Euthanasia drug found in dog food prompts recall
Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press 
DETROIT — Evanger's is voluntarily recalling some of its dog food after a drug that is used to anesthetize or put down pets was found in it.

Pentobarbital was found in one lot of the dog food; five dogs got sick and one died, according to the Wheeling, Ill.-based company.

Fifteen states are affected by the Hunk of Beef Au Jus recall. The 12-ounce cans were  manufactured June 6-13 and sold in stores and online in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
As a precaution, Evanger's is recalling Hunk of Beef products manufactured the same week, with lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB and 1816E13HB, and expire June 2020.  The second half of the barcode on the back of the label says 20109. The ill and deceased dogs ate from the 1816E06HB13 lot.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is distributing information about the recall as well.

All Evanger’s suppliers of meat products are USDA approved, the company said.

"We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers," the company said in a press release on its website, adding that it's the first recall in 82 years of manufacturing.

Evanger's said it has terminated its relationship with that supplier after 40 years, though that company services "many other pet food companies."
Read the rest here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/06/euthanasia-drug-found-dog-food-prompts-recall/97570032/  
It was the last sentence quoted above that prompted me to go to the original story on the Evanger's dog food web site. The lengthy company explanation contained a remarkable statement to explain how the euthanasia drug pentobarbital managed to get into their dog food.

Here is the full paragraph as quoted from the Evanger’s web site investigative report: https://evangersdogfood.com/news-events/pug-family-updates/
In our investigation, we spoke with many suppliers to learn how it could even be possible that an animal that had been euthanized could ever possibly end up in the animal food stream.  What we learned was that pentobarbital is very highly controlled, and that, if an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a veterinarian.  Once this process has been done, there is absolutely no regulation that requires the certified Vet to place any kind of marker on the animal indicating that it has been euthanized and guaranteeing that product from euthanized animals cannot enter the food chain.   This is a simple task, and goes a very long way to ensure safety in many areas.
Also contained in the investigative report on the Evanger's web site is this sentence:
Once we learned that pentobarbital was found in the stomach contents of the dog, we dug much deeper into research about the topic.  What we found is that the FDA knows, and has conducted research, on the use of pentobarbital primarily in dry foods.  The research can be found here: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129135.htm
That report on the FDA web site was written in 1998.
Dog Food Survey Results - Survey #1, Qualitative Analyses for Pentobarbital Residue
Dry dog food samples purchased in Laurel, MD, area, March - June 1998
While it is almost 20 years old it does list the known brands of dog foods found at the time to contain the euthanasia drug. But there is no follow up info to find out what was done about it. 

What is most disturbing is the question raised by the news about what your local veterinarian may be doing with the dead bodies of animals they euthanize when the owner doesn't take them away for burial. I think this will lead to some very uncomfortable and difficult conversations with the doctors that treat our beloved pets.

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