Pet Food Recall Part 2

Yessir.  I just found this information out a few moments ago.  Menu Foods KNEW on February 20th that they had bad food in the market.  9 of their test cats died as a result of eating that food.  The recall and information regarding it was withheld from public for almost 3 weeks, if not longer.  I took my cat to the vet on Feb 28th because he wasn’t looking very good and I noticed his declining health two days after the Menu Foods tests, Feb 22nd.  The reason why I didn’t take him in immediately is because I have in the past over-reacted to the ailments of my animals.  Lord knows, I have the pet bills still pending to prove that.  Since my last incident with my cat Tiki, I decided to play it calm instead of panicing.  Obviously this was not the right thing to do now… in hindsight.  When I noticed Silvus loosing weight I thought it was because of him not eating the hard foods due to his teeth bothering him.  He needed work done on his molar teeth which was a totally seperate issue.  I doubled his intake of the soft food in order for him to regain some weight and get more nurishment.

Here’s how it usually went.  I went into the kitchen and grabbed a packet of food from the box.  Cat could be on the other side of the house and somehow sense what I was doing and would appear at my feet, meowing in happiness.  This time, however, as he came running into the kitchen, he stops and vomits on the floor, as it the thought of food sickened him.  I put the food down and he eventually ate it.  I sat down and began to look online for information concerning teeth related problems with felines.  There were two things I found, one was concerning aged cats and periodontal issues that were normally related to not treating the felines occasionally to dental services.  The other issue was related to FIPS, a communicable disease among cats.  I have 2 cats, both have been tested for everything bad and both were clean so I easily ruled that out.  I did mention it to my vet and he quickly discounted the idea as the symptoms were just not there.  When I took Silvus to the vet, the vet noticed a swelling of his kidneys, however, since Silvus was about 17-18 pounds of sleek, large, and healthy cat, he wasn’t sure if the kidney size was really evident of anything.  He initially wrote up an invoice for the teeth treatments and wanted a blood test done due to the questionable size of the kidneys.  The deal was this, the vet would only call me in the morning if there was something wrong, otherwise he would go ahead with the treatment of his teeth.  So, not knowing anything, I chose to leave Silvus at the vet’s overnight.  I got a call in the morning.  The vet told me that his blood test indicated a nearly complete kidney failure.  His creatnine and bun levels were so far off the charts that the chart couldn’t even indicate it.  At this point the vet suggested that I have him put on a 48 hour IV and feed him K/D food (kidney disease).  While Silvus was on the IV, he took 2 more tests and each test indicated no lowering of the values, instead, they went up a little.  On that first day that the vet told me something was wrong, I began to think of the unthinkable as it might have to be an option, euthanization.  The 2nd day the vet called me to tell me that the 2nd blood test showed more.  The creatnine and bun levels were absolutely toxic but all his other levels were normal.  Silvus was eating, whereas on the first day the vet indicated that he had little appetite, which turned out to be a mis-perception on the vet’s part as Silvus was eating so much, so quickly that the nurses were continuously feeding him, therefore leaving the appearance of a full bowl of food.  So needless to say, on the 2nd day, I started to have some hope that this was something that would pass and that he would be alright.  However, on the 3rd day, my call to the vet that morning wasn’t good.  Silvus was not changing.  He was eating fine, drinking fine, but in order for him to remain healthy, he would really need to remain on an IV, receive special treatments daily (injections), or go have a kidney transplant at MSU.  Me, unemployed, stretched for cash as it is, couldn’t find anything in those options that I could afford either emotionally or financially.  I would always get my cats what I considered the best food for them.  I was willing to make that sacrifice to my loved ones in paying more for food than just buying the crap at the local gas station.  They were always worth that to me.

I don’t care how rediculous it may sound to some but Silvus was my child.  I have no children of my own and so I gave him the same love I would give to a child.  He was always there for me when I needed something to hug or someone to play with and laugh with or laugh at.  He was so full of life, so energetic, loved the laser pointer and his strands of plastic.  He LOVED playing with things like his plastic thread, on top of plastic.  He loved plastic and the crinkly sound it makes.  Silvus always knew when it was bedtime.  He’d follow me up the stairs, no matter what time it was, he would come over and sleep next to my body, sometimes laying his paws and head across my chest, while I wrapped my arm around his body.  For me, that was comforting.  Tiki will never do that, she’s doesn’t have that personality even though I’ve had her for only about 3 years less than Silvus.  The thing I miss the most now is seeing him sitting on the ledge where the stairs are.  On both sides of the stairway are ledges about 6 inches to the wall on either side.  As I would walk up or down, he would always run to the ledge and I would give him a good petting there.  Only Silvus did that and now he’s not there, sitting, waiting, watching for me.  When I would come home and for pretty much every day that I can recall, he would be there waiting for me to walk through the door, pacing back and forth in front of me, looking at me in my eyes, saying his Hellos to me.

Am I a negligent owner?  This is what the lawyers will want me to believe and would rather try to prove that in a court of law.  What then is my negligence?  That I didn’t take Silvus to the vet soon enough?  That I didn’t take Silvus to the vet every year?  That his last visit was 3 years passed?  Is that negligence?  How about that I only wanted the best food that I could logically afford for my cats in order for them to live a healthy and long life?  Not one single time have I fed my cats anything other than Science Diet or Iams.  I attribute Silvus’ size to the Science Diet I fed him while he was just a handful of kitten.  What other ailments did Silvus have while under my care?  He suffered from a racoon bite and somehow got hurt once while I was playing with him in the backyard, on his tail.  I’m still not sure how that happened but he was stitched up fine.  The last time I took him to the vet was because of a soreness in his hip which was fixed by a single shot of an anti-inflamatory.  They even X-rayed him to make sure it wasn’t a blockage causing the soreness and it came back fine.  Simply aging soreness is what it was and it never appeared to affect him again.  So again, I ask, what negligence did I commit in order for my cat to become ill?

The option to euthanize Silvus was not offered to me by the vet but was suggested by myself as the vet explained my options to keep him alive.  That last time I spoke with the vet I asked him about everything I learned concerning kidney disease and asked him about causes and he couldn’t give me any answer about the cause other than, “sometimes it just happens.”  It was hard for me to accept that but I did as I had also learned that kidney disease is the 2nd most lethal disease of cats.  After speak
ing with the vet for about 15 minutes about the options, I asked him about euthanizing.  I explained my situation and my discomfort with giving injections at home, not to mention the cost involved with these treatments.  Even the vet doesn’t like the option of putting the pet down but he understood.  When asked about Silvus’ mortality as a result of his condition, he stated that it could be as early as 6 months, even with proper care, or as much as 2 years.  The question I asked myself is this, “What right do I have to drag that poor cat through 6 months to 2 years of suffering in order to prolong the inevitable death as a result of the condition, in order to delay my sadness of it occuring?”  Financially and Morally, I couldn’t do it.  I made my decision and just before the vet took my signed form out of the room, I asked him if it was the right thing to do and he indicated that it was.  When the door closed, I cried for a good 5 minutes.  5 minutes of pure unheld sorrow complete with red eyes and runny nose.  Once I pulled myself together, I told the vet that I wanted to square away the bill, I did so calmly and quietly.  When I left the office, I sat in my car and cried again, hard.

Even when I first heard about the pet food recall, I ignored it because I didn’t think there was any chance of it being the food.  I ignored it for a week.  Then, almost as if providence was working overtime to get me the message, some random guy that I befriended from a totally different topic via YouTube, posted information about the recall.  When I saw that Iams was on that list, I got a jitter of concern.  Then I looked and found that the soft food that only Silvus would eat, was the same food that was on the recall list.  I looked further and found that the lot numbers were not the same, mine were lower, just not terribly lower.  I still had the empty packets in the trashcan so it was easy to find.  So, given everything else that’s been going on in the news about this, I notified the FDA in Detroit and filed a complaint with them.  Since then I’ve talked twice to Linda Richey and the last talk was that she was authorizing a full investigation into my ordeal.  I gave her all the information I could and it sounded like she was moving forward with it full throttle.

Now I am hearing about class action lawsuits against Menu Foods and I have to think about it.  I want my cat back but that’s never going to happen.  I have no doubts now that the food killed my cat.  The timing is far too coincidental.  Menu Foods, given the new information, will need to change their recall information as a result of their new findings about the rat poison.  Can they prove that date codes 6256, 6257, and 6293 are clean?  Those are the codes of the packets I have.  Do I have a case?  I think I do and I plan on persuing it.  Since I’ve been working with the FDA, I believe that the 16 (as of now) animals formally considered poisoned by the FDA, one of those is my cat.

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~ by aeroslin on March 24, 2007.

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