Complaints about sick dogs have prompted a nationwide recall on specific dog food products from WellPet LLC and the Blue Buffalo Co. this week. The potential of excessive levels of beef thyroid hormone in specific dog food products is believed to be the culprit. The FDA embarked on an investigation after they received reports of pets getting sick.
The FDA investigation revealed the potential for one specific product lot from Blue Buffalo and one specific product lot from WellPet to have “elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.” According to Food Safety News, the beef thyroid getting into the dog food can cause the same effects as an overactive thyroid. The symptoms include increased thirst and increased urination, along with the dog becoming restless. The thyroid hormone can also cause weight loss and an increased heart rate in your dog.
— 1-800-PetMeds® (@1800PetMeds) March 20, 2017
Too much exposure to the beef thyroid hormone can also cause your dog to have difficulty breathing and experience vomiting and diarrhea. Again, this latest recall is very specific and entails only two products; one from Blue Buffalo and the other from PetWell. According to Food Safety News, “The investigation revealed the potential “…for elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone” in these products, according to the recall notices.”
— Petfood Industry (@petfoodindustry) March 21, 2017
The recall includes the Blue Buffalo and WellPet products, which are both listed below.
- WellPet has recalled “Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs.” This dog food comes in 13.2-ounce cans, and it is stamped on the bottom of the cans with best-by dates of “02 FEB 19,” “29 AUG 19,” and “30 AUG 19.”
- Blue Buffalo has recalled “Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.” This comes in 12.6-ounce cans. The UPC number of the recalled group is 840243101153. On the bottom of the cans, you will find a best-by date of June 7, 2019.
— LP Weeth, DVM, DACVN (@nutritionvet) March 18, 2017
So, how did this excess thyroid hormone potentially get into the dog food? Consuming an excessive amount of beef thyroid hormone can affect people as well as dogs, and it did up until the mid-1980s. Back in 1984 and 1985, the FDA investigated an outbreak of thyrotoxicosis that affected 121 people. The people sickened with this condition lived in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota, according to Medscape.
Up until this time outbreaks of this condition were thought to lead back to nutritional factors, but it wasn’t until the 1984-1985 outbreak that it was traced back to a source in a meat plant. In the 80’s outbreak, they realized the problem was related to the way the meat was trimmed at that plant. Harvesting the meat around the larynx of the cattle can result in portions of the thyroid being cut that is attached to that meat.
The meat plant in question back in the 80’s employed a gullet trimmer to harvest the meat around the larynx and parts of the thyroid were included in these trimmings that were used for human consumption. This is what was believed to cause the human outbreak of thyrotoxicosis.
This event caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ban the gullet trimmings for pork and beef that are intended for human consumption. There is no such ban when it comes to pet food today, which explains how this could happen even when the company is following all the rules and regulations set forth by the government for dog food.
According to Food Safety News, the FDA received one complaint about a dog being sickened that was associated with the recalled Blue Buffalo product and three associated with the specific dog food product that was recalled by WellPet.
Both Blue Buffalo and WellPet dog foods are manufactured in New England. Blue Buffalo Co. is out of Wilton, Connecticut, and WellPet is a state away with it’s home in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. While made in New England, these products were distributed nationwide. They were sold online and in pet specialty stores such as Pet Food Express and PetSmart. Both these popular stores have the recall notices posted on their websites today.
[Featured Image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]