From Madeline Farber
Published February 7, 2019
A seemingly endless number of dog owners from around the country have killed Hill's Pet Nutrition on social media for the deaths of their beloved pets, blaming the untimely death of their furry friends on the various canned dog foods recently recalled by the company for potentially toxic levels of vitamin D.
Kimberly Mull, from Los Angeles, California, is one of those dog owners. In November, Mull's 13-year-old bichon mix, Precious, began eating a combination of dry food from Hill's Science Diet and one of the brand's recently unveiled canned foods. The specific mixture was presented by her veterinarian as a way to treat the dog's diabetes.
SELECT DOG FOOD FOR DOGS REALIZED ABOUT VITAMIN D LEVELS, SAYS FDA
Initially it seemed to work and it regulated the insulin content of the small dog. But three weeks later, Mull, 37 said that Precious was starting to act differently.
"I did not know what it was, so I tried to give her more of the wet food, but nothing worked," Mull told Fox News on Thursday.
Precious condition progressively deteriorated.
Mull then took Precious to her vet, who informed the dog owner that there was nothing more to do. The pups' kidneys seemed to fail – one of several symptoms of vitamin D poisoning. Precious died about a week before Hill's announcement of the recall, Mull said.
"Your food killed my dog," Mull wrote on Facebook in response to the company's recall announcement.
"I'm devastated, she was my little girl's best friend," Mull said about her 3-year-old daughter. "She does not understand death yet and keeps asking her questions."
Although vitamin D is an "essential nutrient" for dogs, too much of it can cause vitamin D toxicity, which can lead to kidney failure or even the death of dogs. Those who survive may have "long-term limitations," including kidney or heart conditions, which require "lifelong management" according to VCA Animal Hospitals.
Vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, weight loss, increased urination and excessive drooling are all signs of vitamin D toxicity.
Jeff Morris, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, noted that his beloved Italian greyhound, Olive, acted "as if she did not feel well" between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Morris told Fox News that the young dog had only had the four-year life of the dog for three years. Only the canned food and dry food from Hill – which the company insures is not affected – are fed.
Just after New Year, Morris said he had brought Olive to the vet when he was informed that the boy had lost roughly five pounds since her last check in July 2018.
The weight loss "immediately involved" the vet of the dog, Morris, 54, said.
"She drank water as if she could not get enough of it, [and had a] black runny nose. [She was] vomiting a bile-like substance and drooling a thick stringy mucus, "he said.
Although the vet from Olive tested the blood of the dog, "[he] could not understand the findings because he said it showed that her kidneys had just stopped working. "
Morris said his veterinarian had consulted other animal health professionals who were equally disturbed.
"It did not make sense, especially at a young age and was in good health," he said, adding that just before her death she slept in an armchair next to the puppy because "she was so weak she could not get up again. "the bank where they [normally] slept."
"I held her and talked to her until she breathed her last breath," he added on Facebook.
Only after Morris encountered the reminder list, he realized that Olive's cause of death was probably caused by vitamin D poisoning.
"The amount of suffering she went through was ungodly," he said. "The total shock that a four-year-old dog could suddenly become ill and there was no explanation for it. I was with her that she was still alive last month and it was terrible to look at him. & # 39;
Zoey, an 11-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also died after eating the recalled food, owner Ryan Harmon from Zeeland Township, Mich., Told Fox News. While Zoey fought kidney inflammation just before she started eating the affected food, Harmon said, "Hill's food was actually attacking her kidneys instead of helping her recover."
Harmon, 43, claimed that Zoey had been fed the food before it failed in the kidney three days later, leaving the owner of the dog the difficult decision to keep the normally active & # 39; retriever to sleep.
Harmon was unaware of the recall until shortly after his dog died, he said.
"Zoey was a great dog," he said. "She was a tireless worker, loved to work out and loved to cuddle on the couch, always sitting beside me in the house and very protective of her family."
Mull, Morris and Harmon are just three of the many dog owners who proclaimed the company on Facebook after the recall notification was posted. In response to this, it appears that Hill's Pet Nutrition is contacting dog owners who claim that their pet has suffered damage after consuming the recalled food.
"We are terribly saddened by the loss of Olive, and we would like to talk to you about this," the company replied to Facebook on Morris's post.
But both Mull and Morris claimed that they could not get in touch with the company, while Harmon said that Hill's interactions appear to be "crumbled." He explained that he was contacted by two different representatives on two different occasions. he claimed, the same question was asked to him about Zoey's death.
Mull said she hopes for an apology, while Morris said he would "like to have an explanation of how this happened."
"The telephone system simply continues to transfer [until] you get a message that they do not accept calls, "Morris said.
In a statement to Fox News, Hill & # 39; s Pet Nutrition said they were "deeply grieved about this situation" and "taking it very seriously".
"Hill & # 39; s people work with parents of pets to listen to their concerns.As parents of pets we understand the severity of health problems in our pets.This week we have expanded our call center hours and the number of people on our phones tripled, so we can take time with every pet parent, "the company said of his response to owners whose dogs have died or become ill through the food.
"In addition, our team of veterinary professionals has engaged in veterinary clinics and clinics to answer their questions," continued the company, although vitamin D toxicity is "rare", a "continuous consumption of high levels can lead to serious health problems", so we thoroughly assess the research of each pet parent. "
On Twitter, other dog owners – including Caitlin Gibson – are also reporting on The Washington Post – Hill's claiming that their dogs also died after eating the affected food.
The company initially announced the recall at the end of January, when pet owners who notice that their dog is showing signs of vitamin D poisoning should contact their veterinarian. After conducting an investigation, Hills said a "supplier error" caused the elevated levels in the affected canned food. The supplier is not yet identified at this time.
"To prevent this from happening again, we now demand that the supplier of our vitamin mix perform additional quality tests on each batch of this ingredient that is supplied to Hill's. extra protection, "the company said in the statement, adding no dry dog food, cat food or treats are affected.
POPULAR DOG FOODSTUFFS WHILE RETURNING AT POSSIBLE & # 39; TOXIC LEVELS & # 39; FROM VITAMIN D, FDA WARNS
The news came after multiple brands of dry dog food were recalled in December due to potentially "toxic" levels of vitamin D.
For more information, pet owners can contact Hill & # 39; s Pet Nutrition at 1-800-445-5777.