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Dogs keep dying: Many owners unaware of toxic dog food

Even though Diamond, Country Value and Professional brand dog foods have been recalled for containing highly toxic aflatoxins, they have caused at least 100 dog deaths in recent weeks, say Cornell University veterinarians, who are growing increasingly alarmed. Some kennels and consumers around the nation and possibly in more than two dozen other countries remain unaware of the tainted food, and as a result, they continue to give dogs food containing a lethal toxin.

To better screen affected dogs so they can be treated as soon as possible, Cornell veterinarians report that they now have a new test, adapted from one used in humans, to accurately assess aflatoxin poisoning in dogs (see companion story). Currently, about two-thirds of dogs that show symptoms after eating the tainted food die.

"Entire kennels have been wiped out, and because of the holiday these past few weeks, the dispersal of recall information was disrupted," says Sharon Center, a professor of veterinary medicine who specializes in liver function and disease at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, which is emerging as a central clearinghouse for information about the dog food poisoning.

The Cornell Vet College is continually updating its Web site (http://www.vet.cornell.edu ) to keep the public and veterinarians informed as new information on the poisonings emerge. Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) is analyzing blood and liver samples from sick dogs around the country, testing suspected dog food, conducting autopsies and collecting as many livers as possible from dead dogs to confirm cause of death, tracking dogs that have died and following up on the health of dogs that survive the food poisoning. The AHDC has information for veterinarians on its Web site http://diaglab.vet.corne
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Contact: Blaine Friedlander Jr.
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University News Service
6-Jan-2006


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