Investigation continues into possible link between pet food and sick cats

Investigation continues into possible link between pet food and sick cats
May 20 02:47 2017 Print This Article

Posted May 20, 2017 12:47:06

The founders of a US company behind a canned cat food brand removed from sale in Australia, after owners reported their pets becoming sick after consumption, have issued a video message to “families in distress”.

Key points:

  • Best Feline Friend foods have been unavailable to buy in Australia since early May
  • Tests of food underway following reports cats becoming seriously ill
  • Pet Food Association of Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association also investigating

It has been more than two weeks since cans of Weruva’s Best Feline Friend (BFF) were pulled from shelves at Petbarn outlets over “potential product issues” and as a precaution, customers were warned to not feed it to their cats.

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said it has received reports of sick cats displaying unusual neurological signs such as strange head or eye movements, wobbling, repeated circling or difficulty in walking since mid-April.

Dozens of accounts have emerged on social media since, from pet owners claiming their cats becoming seriously ill after being fed a diet of BFF.

Some said their cats were later euthanased.

Testing is underway to find a possible link between BFF and the sick cats.

Weruva founders David and Stacie Forman took to Facebook on Saturday to issue a message to “Australian families in distress” and promising to continue the investigation.

“We just wanted you in Australia to know our hearts and all our thoughts are with you at this difficult time,” Ms Forman said.

“We’re working tirelessly to get to the bottom of the issue we’re facing right now.”

Mr Forman said customers waiting for answers were right to feel frustrated.

“We understand your frustration in Australia. You’re out there in Australia and we’re in the States. It does seem very far away but we are here for you as much as it may not seem that way,” Mr Forman said.

“You’re looking for answers, you don’t have answers. This can be very frustrating and confusing and you’re right to feel that way.

“We’ve asked you to be patient many times and we understand that’s not what you want to hear, but we’re working to get to the bottom of it.”

Tests focus on potential vitamin deficiency

Mr Forman said initial tests showed heavy metals were not likely the problem, and that other tests were underway.

“Further veterinary consultation has shown that thiamine deficiency may share many neurological symptoms with heavy metal toxicity,” Mr Forman said.

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is a vitamin necessary for normal carbohydrate metabolism in cats.

Website Vetary says thiamine deficiency in cats is associated with vascular and neurological damage and can be a potentially life-threatening condition.

AVA’s head of policy and advocacy Melanie Latter said they have been looking into the matter in association with Weruva and Pet Food Association of Australia.

“We continue to encourage Weruva to provide the AVA with analytical results to assist in our investigations,” Dr Latter said.

“This may enable us to provide vets with specific advice about treatment, and potentially help prevent more cases from occurring. We eagerly await these results.”

Dr Latter called for pet owners with cats exhibiting signs such as strange head or eye movements, wobbling, repeated circling or difficulty in walking to take them to their veterinarian for assessment.

The AVA said it was unable to confirm how many reports of sick cats fed BFF they have received from veterinarians around the country.

Topics: people, human-interest, brisbane-4000, australia

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About Article Author

Scott Menard
Scott Menard

He is a leading authority on business trends including ‘big data’, self-employment and the social media revolution. He’s the author of the award-winning book, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has spoken about global mega trends, big data and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world .

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