The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert about potential pentobarbital contamination in certain canned dog foods manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Co.
After learning about positive pentobarbital results in certain cans of Gravy Train dog food, J.M. Smucker initiated a withdrawal of various canned dog food products from its Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy brands, according to the agency.
The withdrawn products were distributed to retailers nationwide. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia.
The FDA says preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets. However, "pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated."
The FDA says it's monitoring for reports of any pet illnesses associated with pentobarbital contamination in these products. It's also investigating to learn the potential source and route of the contamination.
Against the Grain Pet Food voluntarily recalled one lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs that was manufactured and distributed in 2015. The lot of product was distributed to independent pet retail stores in Washington and Maryland; it has been verified that this lot is no longer on any store shelves.
The list of withdrawn products that J.M. Smucker provided to the FDA is listed on our website talkinpets.com in the news section of our home page…
- Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541
- Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542
- Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543
- Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418
- Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
- Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645
- Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647
- Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
- Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378
- Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378
- Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375
- Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375
- Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378
- Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380
- Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570
- Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469
- Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250
- Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245
Eight-six percent of millennials prefer to buy certain pet items at smaller, locally owned pet shops, with treats topping the list, according to a new survey.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they prefer to buy treats at such retailers, the study by e-commerce retailer zulily found. That was followed by toys (58 percent), pet food (55 percent), accessories such as collars (39 percent, and grooming items such as brushes (34 percent).
At the same time, 77 percent of millennial pet owners prefer to buy certain items online. Top purchases include toys (40 percent), accessories (32 percent), and pet food (31 percent).
Among the survey's other findings:
- 92 percent of millennial pet owners purchase gifts for their pets, such as toys, clothing and treats. On average, millennials who buy their pets gifts on a monthly basis do so four times a month.
- 82 percent of millennial pet owners have purchased dog- or cat-themed merchandise to advertise their proud pet parenthood.
- 63 percent of millennial pet owners believe they know more about cats and/or dogs than pet store employees do.
- Millennial pet owners are so attached to their pets that 71 percent would take a pay cut if it meant they could bring their pet(s) to work every day, with 1 in 5 (21 percent) opting to take a pay cut of 20 percent or more.
“Younger shoppers are quite discerning when it comes to the products they consider good enough for their pets,” said Nathan Richter, senior partner at Wakefield Research. “Whether it’s food or clothing and accessories, their preferences differ depending on whether they are shopping at large vs. small retailers, or online vs. in-person. This is not the generation that is looking for one-stop-shop convenience, so retailers need to be sure they have an optimal mix of high quality and specialty products.”
They survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 500 nationally representative U.S. millennial pet owners between Jan. 22 and Jan. 25. The findings were outlined in a report called The Millennialization of the Pet Industry – Retail’s Opportunity to Reach the Pet-Obsessed.
A major shakeup in leadership at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct against CEO Wayne Pacelle and other leaders has rattled animal welfare circles, but its impact on the organization’s overall mission and future remains unknown.
Allegations of sexual misconduct by Pacelle against female employees extending back more than decade were first made public in January, and rumblings of other indiscretions at the organization are rising in its aftermath. Pacelle, a sometimes polarizing figure in terms of support in the veterinary community, resigned in early February, but the damage may have already been done.
Pacelle’s work in animal welfare began early—he was appointed executive director of The Fund for Animals at 23—and he joined HSUS in 1994 as a lobbyist and spokesperson. He was installed as CEO of HSUS in 2004 and was involved in the passage of more than 25 federal animal welfare statutes during his tenure.
At times, Pacelle’s views and his efforts with HSUS conflicted with the views of professional veterinary organizations like the AVMA, particularly on food animal issues. Pacelle highlighted these differences when he helped HSUS launch an alternative to AVMA, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), in 2008.
Gary Block, DVM, MS, DACVIM, board president for the now 9,000-member-strong HSVMA, says he doesn’t anticipate the fallout from HSUS’s turmoil will negatively impact the veterinary community or reach HSVMA, since the two organizations—while affiliated—operate independently. Gary Block says HSVMA had no knowledge of the investigation or its outcome prior to news of the allegations being made public by HSUS and in the mainstream media.
As far as how HSUS will recover from the fallout of Pacelle’s departure, Gary Block says, to his knowledge, as many as eight HSUS board members may have resigned. At least two have returned, and two are in negotiations to return, he says, although HSUS did not offer confirmation.
Dogs are often characterized as “man’s best friend” and have been our constant companions for thousands of years. As a species, people are primarily verbal communicators, while dogs primarily communicate with body language or gestures. When communicating with dogs, we know that if we use both verbal communication and gestures together, we are often more successful. However, it was not known which cues dogs prioritize when communicating with us—verbal or gestural communications. A recent study1 investigated which method dogs prefer.
Six male and seven female dogs that had no previous training were recruited from a dog training center in Italy to participate in the study. The dogs were trained to fetch three different items by both a verbal command as well as pointing. To be admitted to the testing phase of the study, the dogs were required to be able to fetch the objects reliably after training. Four males and five females were able to proceed. The dogs were then tested by being given a command verbally asking for one object while the tester pointed to a different object. Each dog was tested eight times.
Seven out of nine dogs showed a significant preference for the pointing command, while the other two responded in a manner consistent with random chance. None of the dogs showed a preference for the verbal command.
Based on the findings of this study, dogs prioritize gestural commands significantly over verbal commands. However, the use of both verbal and gestural commands together was significantly more reliable than using either independently. This information reinforces the value of using and giving clear gestural commands such as pointing when training dogs.
At the 2017 Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, I overheard a Missouri equine veterinarian describe being called out to see a horse that was exhibiting clinical signs he suspected were the result of a rabies infection. It turned out that the diagnosis was instead a West Nile virus infection, and unfortunately the horse ended up being euthanized.
This is a depressing story because, of course, there are vaccines to prevent West Nile virus (and rabies, had that been the diagnosis); this horse simply was not vaccinated. The veterinarian commented that the owners, who had not been his clients, quickly became believers in vaccinating their remaining horses. This case followed on the heels of an equine infectious anemia outbreak in Finney County, Kansas, in August 2017, and all of this set me to wondering about what equine diseases were occurring in my state (Kansas) and the surrounding states.
Turns out there’s an easy-to-use, up-to-date website where you can keep informed about all kinds of equine disease outbreak information. The Equine Disease Communication Center maintains the site here: equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks.
You simply click on the state you’re investigating (or use the dropdown menu) and choose the disease you’re interested in. Then you choose a time frame (30, 60 or 90 days) to see if there are any alerts for that particular disease in that state. Updates on current disease outbreaks are listed as they occur and include the date added, the disease name, the location and current status. Specific premises are not named but the general location by town, county and state are listed. When locations, events or horses are at risk, they will be listed. Updates are posted as they are received.
The diseases or infectious agents you can choose include coronavirus, equine herpesvirus, equine infectious anemia, rabies, strangles, West Nile virus, and Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, as well as a dozen others.
The news is full of it…the flu is raging from the East Coast to the West Coast. In New York City, 8,000 cases were reported in just one day! Humans aren’t the only ones at risk; flu infection in cats and dogs may be much more common than thought. Bad news for sure, but it gets worse—research is reporting that our pets may be catching the illness from their owners!
Dogs seem to be relatively safe from the human strains. But a cat can catch a cold or the flu from you. “The virus attaches to cells in the respiratory tract of felines similarly to how it does in humans,” says Scott Weese, the Canada research chair in zoonotic diseases and an associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College. One study of cat blood samples found about 30 percent of cats in Ohio had been infected with seasonal flu, and 20 percent had been infected with the H1N1 flu strain that caused the 2009 pandemic. Studies also suggest there has been an increase in cat flu infections since 2009. Cats also get cat-to-cat viruses that are similar to a cold, but humans can’t catch those.
“There’s no concern with dog-to-human, or human-to-dog, transmission,” says Weese. “Dogs get viruses from each other.”
If you have a pet, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands often, especially after contact. “Avoid exposure from the pet’s saliva to your mucous membranes, such as your nose and mouth, or broken skin,” says Weese.
If a pet is under the weather, keep him away from family members with weakened immune systems, such as pregnant women and the elderly. Some experts say you should never let pets sleep in your bed – especially under the covers.
Animals infected with the flu develop symptoms similar to those in people, including breathing problems, a running nose or eyes, and fatigue.
To protect pets, Christiane Loehr, an associate professor at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that owners get the seasonal flu shot, which will reduce the chances of catching flu and spreading it to others — both people and pets. “People who become sick with the flu should take the same precautions with their pets as they would with other people, such as minimizing contact with them,” Loehr said.
If your pet is sick, help him feel better by regularly cleaning his area (food and water bowls, and where he sleeps) and, in the case of cats, changing the litter box often.
Let him rest and be sure to supply lots of water. If he’s stuffed up, a humidifier may help him breathe easier, suggests the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you’re worried, have your vet do a physical exam. He or she may suggest diagnostic tests, such as a culture or blood count.
And, says Weese, tell your physician if your pet is sick and you become ill, even if the symptoms don’t seem related. It could help him or her diagnose and treat you.
A US teenager has been sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of trying to smuggle a Bengal tiger cub across the US-Mexico border.
The six-week-old cub was found in a box on the floor of the teenager's car as he was crossing from Mexico into the US near the city of San Diego.
His lawyer argued that his client had had "a lapse of judgement" and that he wanted to keep the tiger as a pet.
But prosecutors said he was running an animal smuggling business.
They said mobile phone messages sent by the teenager, named as 18-year-old Luis Valencia, showed he was boasting about getting large sums of money for exotic animals such as jaguars and lions.
The tiger cub, named Moka, was placed in San Diego Zoo's Safari Park.
The smuggling of exotic animals has become a lucrative business in Mexico, where drug traffickers often keep entire menageries on their extensive ranches.
Earlier this month, another tiger cub was intercepted by Mexican police after someone tried to mail him in a plastic crate from the state of Jalisco to Querétaro.
The two-month-old cub, which had been sedated, was found by a sniffer dog looking for contraband.
Whale watchers cruising off the coast of Hawaii came across something that looked like a giant, used tissue floating in the water this month. But you wouldn't want to blow your nose into this wet blob — according to the Pacific Whale Foundation, the goopy mass of floating white matter was a placenta, likely belonging to a humpback whale.
That's a big deal, according to the foundation, because although scientists have long assumed that humpbacks travel to Hawaiian waters to give birth, no such birth has ever been definitively documented. (Whale Trust, another Hawaiian conservation and research group, confirms that claim.)
"Humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place," aside from documenting an actual birth, Pacific Whale Foundation representatives wrote. "Scientists infer that the placenta is easily dislodged after the calf is born, and then simply floats away," they added.
Rosie Williams, a whale researcher and doctoral student at the National Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership in London, said the find is entirely credible based on researchers' understanding of humpback migration patterns.
However, this isn't the first time a whale placenta has been found in Hawaiian waters, she noted in an email to Live Science.
A similar large mass turned up near Hawaii back in 1994 and was confirmed, using hormone analysis, to be a humpback whale placenta. (What's more, the mass was found floating next to a newborn humpback.) This discovery was published in the journal Marine Mammal Science in 1997.
In that study, the researchers noted that the floating portion of the placenta was about (3.9 to 4.9 feet) long and that the submerged portion was about (7.8 feet) long. The umbilical cord was about (2 inches) wide and (4.3 feet) long.
Though a whale placenta has been found in Hawaiian waters before, "this is still an exciting discovery, and if samples have been taken, then there is great potential to try and understand more about reproduction in these fascinating animals," Williams said.
The power of pets: Health benefits of human-animal interactions...
Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills.
An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. But who benefits from an animal? And which type of pet brings health benefits?
Over the past 10 years, NIH has partnered with the Mars Corporation's WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to answer questions like these by funding research studies.
Scientists are looking at what the potential physical and mental health benefits are for different animals - from fish to guinea pigs to dogs and cats.
Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support. Therapy dogs are especially good at this. They're sometimes brought into hospitals or nursing homes to help reduce patients' stress and anxiety.
Gus Kenworthy, boyfriend rescue puppy from South Korean dog meat farm...
U.S. Winter Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy isn't walking away from the games with a medal, but instead, he's returning from PyeongChang with something cuddlier and yappier: A rescue dog from a South Korean dog meat farm.
"This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea," Kenworthy explained on Instagram Friday, along with a photo of his actor boyfriend Matt Wilkas and their new pooch, Beemo. "Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable.
Kenworthy detailed the conditions at the farm he visited in his Instagram post.
"I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in 'good conditions' by comparison to other farms," Kenworthy, 26, said. "The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions."
The farm Kenworthy visited is being shut down, and the newly-free canines will be brought to the U.S. and Canada and placed in "fur-ever homes," he explained.
"I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks," Kenworthy wrote of his new family member. "I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!"
Kenworthy's soft spot for rescue dogs was apparent at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, when he brought home two puppies he found near the Olympic Village. Those dogs, Jake and Misshka, now reportedly live with his ex-boyfriend in Canada.