Ask the Vets Pets
A weekly column about pet health care home
Pet Care Especially for Editors About Us Search
DOGS
CATS
OTHER PETS
IMPORTANT INFO
PET OF THE MONTH
LINKS
 
CONTACT US
C2008-13

Dear Christopher Cat

Last year, my cat died of kidney failure caused by cat food that was subsequently recalled. Immediately after her death, the newspapers reported that the recalled pet foods were contaminated with melamine, but I haven’t read anything since then. Was melamine the culprit?

Christopher Responds

My feline siblings and I are very sorry for your loss.

You’re right that the recalled pet foods contained wheat gluten contaminated with melamine.

But this chemical wasn’t the sole toxin.

Melamine, used in fertilizer, is high in nitrogen and much less expensive than nitrogen-rich food protein.

Some wheat gluten suppliers saw melamine as a cheap way to make the protein content of their commodity appear higher during testing than it really was.

But the recalled foods were contaminated with a second chemical: cyanuric acid, used to stabilize chlorine in outdoor swimming pools.

Together, the two chemicals caused kidney failure, as proven by recent tests.

Veterinary toxicologists fed laboratory cats pet foods containing both melamine and cyanuric acid together and each of the chemicals alone.

Cats fed each chemical alone developed no apparent problems.

But cats given both chemicals in the same concentrations as found in the recalled foods died of kidney failure marked by yellow-brown, fan-shaped crystals in their kidneys and urine.

The crystals were identical to those found in the pet cats who died after eating the tainted food.

I hope this information helps heal any pain you still feel.

back to index

  contact us