Clarity on the cause of the latest spate of renal failure cases in dogs is expected before the end of the week, according to the SA Veterinary Association (Sava) and pet food manufacturer Royal Canin South Africa.
In a joint statement to all vets around the country, Sava president Gerhard Steenkamp and Royal Canin SA's managing director Gregory Watine said there had been 19 confirmed cases in the past few days - in Johannesburg and Cape Town - of dogs presenting with acute renal failure.
"Although at this stage, the cause is not known, it appears that all the dogs were being fed Vet's Choice pet food."
In the interests of patients and pending tests being conducted on Vet's Choice products, Royal Canin decided to suspend all sales of Vet's Choice immediately.
Vets were asked to advise clients to stop feeding Vet's Choice products to their pets until further notice.
"This is a precautionary measure and a further announcement on this issue will be sent to you within 24 hours," they said.
Earlier on Thursday, News24 reported Hill's Pet Nutrition had warned cat owners not to use any of its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry food, which the company said should be returned for a replacement or a refund.
The product was recalled in the United States after hundreds of cats reportedly died from renal failure after eating contaminated food.
Scale not known
The scale of the problem in South Africa was not known and, according to Steenkamp, the recall of Hill's locally was a precautionary measure, as it had not appeared to affect cats locally.
Recently, Woolworths had to recall all of its dry dog and cat food due to contamination of certain products.
In another statement, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) reacted with "sadness" to the news that Hill's Pet Nutrition Prescription Diet M/D Feline dry food and Royal Canin's Vets Choice were being recalled due to contamination.
A responsible move
"In our opinion, it is a responsible, caring and transparent move by the company to issue this statement and to take the step of recalling their products, pending tests," NSPCA spokeswoman Christine Kuch said.
"For the pets which have been affected we hope that the outcome will be a full recovery. We feel deeply for their owners and to owners worried about their pets."
Tragic and far-reaching as this news might be, the NSPCA emphasised that things had to be seen in perspective.
"No malicious intent was involved. This is a tragic occurrence. Sadly, there have recently also been instances of contamination of human food. It is in this context that the NSPCA wishes to place his recent event.
"In terms of regulations pertaining to pet foods, standards are high and requirements are stringent," said Kuch. – (Sapa)
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