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What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

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Old March 19th 07, 08:38 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health
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Default What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

I read a few reports but none mentioned exactly what is the toxin.
Anyone know or have an idea?


Old March 19th 07, 11:49 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health
Sharon Too
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Posts: 664
Default What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

I read a few reports but none mentioned exactly what is the toxin.
Anyone know or have an idea?

See the newest article:

WASHINGTON - As many as one in six animals died in tests of suspect dog and
cat food by the manufacturer after complaints the products were poisoning
pets around the country, the government said Monday.
A federal investigation is focusing on wheat gluten as the likely source of
contamination that sparked a recall last Friday of 60 million cans and
pouches of the suspect food, said Stephen F. Sundlof, the Food and Drug
Administration's top veterinarian.

The ingredient, a protein source, is commonly used as filler.

Agency investigators are looking at other ingredients as well. The wet-style
pet food was made by Menu Foods, an Ontario, Canada-based company.

Menu Foods told the FDA it received the first complaints of kidney failure
and deaths among cats and dogs from pet owners on Feb. 20. It began new
tests on Feb. 27.

During those tests, the company fed its product to 40 to 50 dogs and cats
and some seven animals - the mix of species was not immediately known -
died, Sundlof said. The contamination appeared more deadly to cats than to
dogs, he said.

The recall now covers dog food sold throughout North America under 51 brands
and cat food sold under 40 brands, including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The
food was sold under both store and major brand labels at Wal-Mart, Kroger,
Safeway and other large retailers.

The FDA has yet to tally how many reports it has received of cats and dogs
suffering kidney failure or death. The company has reported just 10 deaths,
of nine cats and a single dog.

"We are still trying to find out what the true picture is out there of
animals. We're talking about 1 percent of the pet food (supply) and it's
really just impossible to extrapolate at this point," Sundlof said.

Testing comes up short
Menu Foods spokeswoman Sarah Tuite told Associated Press Radio the company
was "still trying to figure out the cause."

"We're testing and testing, but we can't identify the problem in the
product," Tuite said.

Other companies - Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Procter & Gamble and Hill's Pet
Nutrition Inc. - said that as a precaution they were voluntarily recalling
some products made by Menu Foods.

A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes,
descriptions and production dates was available from the Menu Foods Web
site, http://www.menufoods.com/recall . The company also designated two
phone numbers that pet owners could call for information - (866) 463-6738
and (866) 895-2708. The lines have been swamped by callers.

Tuite said the company has added more people and lines to cope with the
calls. Callers who get a recording saying the line is out of order should
try again, she added.

The company became aware of a potential problem after it received an
undisclosed number of owner complaints that dogs and cats were vomiting and
suffering kidney failure after eating its products.

Wheat gluten suspected
Tuite told AP earlier the recalled products were made using wheat gluten
purchased from a new supplier, which has since been dropped.

The FDA hasn't confirmed the identity of that company, but its Web site
suggests it supplies only animal feed manufacturers, Sundlof said.

Wheat gluten itself wouldn't cause kidney failure, leading FDA investigators
to suspect contamination by other substances, including heavy metals like
cadmium and lead or fungal toxins. Aflatoxin, a corn fungus, sparked a 2005
dog food recall.

The new recall covers the company's "cuts and gravy" style food, which
consists of chunks of meat in gravy, sold in cans and small foil pouches
from Dec. 3 to March 6.

The company said it makes pet food for 17 of the top 20 North American
retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top branded pet food

Old March 20th 07, 02:46 AM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health
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Posts: 863
Default What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

wrote in message
I read a few reports but none mentioned exactly what is the toxin.
Anyone know or have an idea?

......At first I was wondering if it was a problem with the bag packaging,
but since actual cans of similar food seems to be also affected (unless
they're pulling stuff off the shelf due to caution) my guess is that it's a
fungal toxin (mycotoxin) of wheat if the wheat gluten is the cause. The one
that causes kidney damage is ochratoxin A. I'm sort of surprised though
that they haven't nailed it down if its a mycotoxin as there's tests
available that should be fairly quick.

Basic fact sheets for each mycotoxin. Look at Ochratoxin A.

"The morphological changes in the kidneys in cases of mycotoxic porcine
nephropathy are characterized by degeneration of the proximal tubules,
followed by atrophy of the tubular epithelium, interstitial fibrosis in the
renal cortex, and hyalinization of some glomeruli (Elling & Moller, 1973)

"Acute and chronic effects. The acute and chronic effects of ochratoxins in
experimental animals have been reviewed by Chu (1974a), Harwig (1974), and
Krogh (1976a). Different species vary in their susceptibility to acute
poisoning by ochratoxin A, with LD50 values ranging from 3.4 to 30.3 mg/kg
(Table 24). When administered orally to rats, the female is more sensitive
to ochratoxin A than the male. The kidney is the target organ, but changes
in the liver have also been noted during studies of acute

"The lesions observed in field cases of mycotoxic porcine nephropathy
(section have been reproduced by feeding diets containing levels of
ochratoxin A identical to those encountered in naturally contaminated
products (section Thus 39 pigs fed rations containing ochratoxin A
at levels ranging from 200-4000 g/kg developed nephropathy after 4 months
at all levels of exposure (Krogh et al., 1974). Changes in renal function
were characterized by impairment of tubular function, indicated
particularly by a decrease in TmPAH/CIna and reduced ability to produce
concentrated urine. These functional changes corresponded well with the
changes in renal structure observed at all exposure levels including atrophy
of the proximal tubules, and interstitial cortical fibrosis. Sclerotized
glomeruli were also observed in the group receiving the highest dose of
ochratoxin A of 4000 g/kg feed. No other organ or tissue exhibited any

"In pigs and dogs given high peroral doses, corresponding to feed levels of
more than 5-10 mg/kg (levels rarely found in nature) extrarenal effects, in
addition to renal lesions, were observed, involving the liver, intestine,
spleen, lymphoid tissue, and leukocytes (Szczech et al., 1973a,b,c). Three
groups of rats, each consisting of 15 animals were exposed to feed levels of
ochratoxin A ranging from 0.2 to 5 mg/kg for 3 months. Renal damage in the
form of tubular degeneration was observed at all dose levels (Munro et al.,

" The toxic effects of ochratoxin A have been studied extensively in a
variety of experimental animals. All the animals studied so far have been
susceptible to orally administered ochratoxin A, but to various degrees, as
indicated by the range of LD50 values (Table 24). At high levels of
ochratoxin A, changes were found in the kidneys and also in other organs and
tissues. However, only renal lesions were observed at exposure levels
identical to those occurring environmentally. The renal lesions included
degeneration of the tubules, interstitial fibrosis, and, at later stages,
hyalinization of glomeruli, with impairment of tubular function as a prime
manifestation. Feed levels as low as 200 g/kg produced renal changes in the
course of 3 months in rats and pigs. Field cases of ochratoxin A-induced
nephropathy are regularly encountered in pigs and poultry. Ochratoxin A is
teratogenic in the mouse, rat, and hamster...............

Ochratoxin A (OTA) also seems to increase it's own uptake into the body
through altering the intestinal epithelium/mucosal membrane.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2001 Oct 1;176(1):54-63.
The mycotoxin ochratoxin A alters intestinal barrier and absorption
functions but has no effect on chloride secretion.
Maresca M, Mahfoud R, Pfohl-Leszkowicz A, Fantini J.
Faculte des Sciences St-Jerome, Institut Mediterraneen de Recherche en
Nutrition, 13397 Marseille Cedex 20, France.
"In particular, OTA affected the protein content of plasma membrane
microdomains, which are known to regulate tight junction assembly and
intestinal transport activity. Taken together, these data showed that OTA
alters both barrier and absorption functions of the intestinal epithelium."

It's also largely dumped out of the system through conjugation of bile
salts. If a cat was low on taurine (which cats use exclusively to conjugate
bile) it might get damaged kidneys faster as it wouldn't be removed from the
blood stream.
Volume 279, Issue 3, pp. 1507-1513, 12/01/1996
Copyright 1996 by American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental
Uptake of the mycotoxin ochratoxin A in liver cells occurs via the cloned
organic anion transporting polypeptide
M Kontaxi, U Echkardt, B Hagenbuch, B Stieger, PJ Meier and E Petzinger
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen,
"Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin produced by mold. It mainly causes
nephropathies in humans and domestic animals as a major pathogenic
contaminant of cereals and animal feed. Upon p.o. uptake and intestinal
absorption, a large part of OTA is taken up by hepatocytes and eliminated
into bile."

It appears the damage of the kidney is from inhibition of a gene that turns
on anti-oxidant defenses in a detoxification pathway.
Reduction in Antioxidant Defenses may Contribute to Ochratoxin A Toxicity
and Carcinogenicity

The sentence below helps make sense of the article above.
J. Biol. Chem., Vol. 279, Issue 22, 23052-23060, May 28, 2004
Transcription factor NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulates the induction
of Phase II detoxifying enzymes as well as anti-oxidative enzymes.

In the case of aflatoxin exposure, adequate levels of Vit A, protein, and
selenium all protect the body against effects of aflatoxin
Scroll down to Table 12: The effects of dietary protein and vitamin B12 on
aflatoxin-induced liver changes
Table 13 and 14 - Vitamin A and aflatoxin

........so who gets sick probably depends on the amount eaten (eats same
thing every day), how long they were eating it, how good the rest of the
diet is (adequate and even supplemental levels of some nutrients) and
whether or not there's already kidney damage and if the intestines and gall
bladder are in good working order to begin with.

.......There's not a lot of info on cats and dogs, but ochratoxin A seems to
cause kidney damage across all mammalian species. Cats are more sensitive
to a lot of chemicals than are dogs.

take out the dog before replying

Old March 20th 07, 03:56 AM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health
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Default What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

Well, what one might call the basic "disease" pathway involves a
substance liberating arachidonic acid, which is then metabolized into
dangerous molecules like LTB4 in a "chronic inflammatory" context.
This is what happens when too much asbestos is breathed in, for
example. And it is why I suggest one consider allowing the body to
replace arachidonic acid with the natural Mead acid. Of course, as
you say, the deaths are probably due to a number of factors, including
a pre-existing problem that may or may not have manifested itself in
observable symptoms. Lesions in particular are usually due to the
"chronic inflammation" that is common among those "overloaded" with
arachidonic acid.

To see evidence I've reviewed in this context, go to my free site:

Old March 21st 07, 11:59 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health
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Posts: 863
Default What is the toxic substance causing the kidney failure in the tainted dog food?

"buglady" wrote in message

........they still don't know, but the 10 animals who reportedly died from
the food were test animals from the Menu foods company. Apparently the
calls started coming in about this food last December and that's why they
ran the feeding test. Pet Connection is running a database for people who
have had pets affected. So far over 200 people have put data in. While not
all of those are probably due to the food, I'm betting a good chunk are.
Unless you have the offending can in hand, though and a necropsy and
toxicology run, there's no way to prove anything. Regardless, the company
seems to have delayed recalling food.


Starting in December, concerns began filtering back to the company through
toll-free customer lines about the "cuts and gravy" style pet food.
Callers complained their animals had fallen ill after eating the food,
although no direct link was established.
One large customer in the United States initiated its own recall after
receiving complaints and put future orders for the products on hold.

For more read all the articles on Pet Conx, which is posting continual
updates. There's also an interesting post in the Comments section of one of
the articles about antifreeze contamination in pet food in South Africa a
few months ago resulting in swift, unexplainable deaths due to kidney
failure. It took two testings to find it.


take out the dog before replying


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