Hill’s Pet Nutrition is voluntarily recalling select canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D. While vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, ingestion of elevated levels can lead to potential health issues depending on the level of vitamin D and the length of exposure, and dogs may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction. Pet parents with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed and are exhibiting any of these signs should contact their veterinarian. In most cases, complete recovery is expected after discontinuation of feeding.
Carboxylic ionophores, a group of antibiotic compounds produced by bacteria in the order Actinomycetales, are used to promote growth and feed efficiency in ruminants and swine and control coccidiosis in several species. They are called ionophores because they bind to and transport ions down the concentration gradient present in the lipid bilayer of cellular membranes. The primary mechanism by which ionophores exert their therapeutic effect is by forming cationic (primarily Na+, K+, or Ca++) complexes that alter normal membrane concentrations and increase their transport across lipid membranes. The ability to transport ions is the underlying characteristic responsible for both the antibacterial and anticoccidial effects. In addition, ionophores also have a direct effect on coccidia (both asexual and sexual forms) development further enhancing the anticoccidial effects.
Carboxylic ionophores are marketed as finished or complete feeds, concentrates for top dressing feeds, premixes, and as a sustained release bolus product. Currently there are seven carboxylic ionophores on the market. Monensin (Coban, Rumensin) and lasalocid (Avatec, Bovatec) were introduced and labeled in the mid 1970s for use in chickens and cattle. Many of the field and case reports of adverse reactions and toxicosis in target (cattle and poultry) and nontarget (i.e. dogs, cats, horses, etc.) species involve these two ionophores simply because they have been present in the market place for so many years. These two were followed in the 1980s by salinomycin (Biocox, Coxistat, Saccox), narasin (Maxiban, Monteban, Skycis), and maduramicin (Cygro) for use in chickens and later in swine and in the 1990s by laidlomycin propionate (Catalyst) for use in cattle and semduramicin (Aviax) for use in chickens. While label use is limited to specific conditions and animal species, carboxylic ionophores have been used off-label to treat other diseases such as bloat and ketosis in dairy cattle and for other conditions in a variety of species such as shrimp, sheep, fish, and cranes.
All the carboxylic ionophores are safe when used according to label instructions for the specific species, although even within this group poisonings may occur with either acute or chronic overdose ingestions. They are not labeled for use in any equine species and reports of acute toxicity and death in horses are well reported and documented. They are also not labeled for use in any small animal species and poisonings are routinely reported when fed to or ingested by small animals. Most of the reports involve dogs and rabbits; clinical reports of toxicosis in cats are rare. This may be due to the fastidious and finicky eating habits of cats or because house and city cats do not routinely have access to these substances.
Small animals may become poisoned by carboxylic ionophores in many ways. Illness and death from pet food contaminated with a specific ionophore was the most likely source in several reported poisonings. In one case involving the sudden onset of clinical signs in a kennel, dog food was prepared by a small feed mill that also manufactured monensin containing cattle and chicken feed. Dogs, largely rural, may ingest food designated for cattle or poultry either by eating a modest amount of a complete animal feed or a smaller amount of a concentrate or premix. This generally occurs when dogs have direct access to feed in cattle troughs or feed bunks or stored bags of feed, concentrates, or premixes. Storage errors such as placing dog or rabbit food in a container previously holding an ionophore or chewing and swallowing an ionophore sustained release bolus have also been reported. Occasionally, dogs or rabbits are poisoned by an unsuspecting owner either intentionally or unintentionally feeding them an ionophore containing product.
UF College of Veterinary Medicine officials have confirmed more than one dozen cases of canine influenza A virus, a.k.a. “dog flu.” The first twelve dogs tested have been confirmed with the strain of influenza A known as H3N2 CIV. Dogs testing positive for the H3N2 strain were either at the Perry, Georgia dog show May 19-21 or the Deland, Florida dog show the following weekend, or were exposed to dogs who were present at these shows. This is the same strain responsible for the severe outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago in 2015.
Veterinarians in central and north Florida are treating many dogs that are suspected to have dog flu. All dogs being treated are in stable condition. Common symptoms of dog flu include sneezing, nasal discharge and frequent coughing. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, please call your pet’s veterinarian before taking your pet in for treatment.
There is no evidence that H3N2 canine influenza virus infects humans. Information for pet owners and for veterinarians is available on the UF Veterinary Hospitals website at http://hospitals.vetmed.ufl.edu/canine-influenza/.
Ticks are everywhere, which means tick disease is everywhere. In fact, veterinary parasitologist Dr. Michael Dryden of Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine calls tick disease an “epidemic.” Tick disease in dogs is a sentinel for people. If your veterinarians report Lyme (and other tick diseases) where you are, then those same diseases are occurring in people too. First step, TEST your dog for tick disease (there is an easy test for Lyme and various other diseases), then talk with your veterinarian about protection, which may include the vaccine for Lyme disease. Remember, if your dog is diagnosed with tick disease, it’s likely a person was on the other end of that leash. It might not be a bad idea to see your doctor, or for children to see a pediatrician.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.