***UPDATE From veterinarian Dr. John Symes*** (aka Dogtor J )
Pick Your Poison
In my thinking, it is highly unlikely that rat poison caused these deaths. Most rat poisons are anticoagulants which do not cause kidney failure. The only rat poison that I know of that could remotely cause kidney failure is cholicalciferol, a toxic amount of vitamin D3. This intoxication causes calcifications of the blood vessels (e.g. aorta), heart, gut, and other tissues, which could include the kidneys. However, when you read about cholicalciferol poisoning in pets, there is rarely any mention of kidney involvement.
NOTE: The latest news (3:30PM) is that a compound known as aminopterin was found, which is a rat poison that is not approved in the USA. Here is the Wikipedia link to this drug: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aminopterin. As you will see, it is used (intentionally) as a chemotherapy agent in treating children with leukemia. This begs the questions of “Just how much would be required to intoxicate an animal?”, “Just how much was in the food?”, and “ Why didn’t more animals become intoxicated if this was the culprit? ”
If there was enough of any of these toxins in the food to induce kidney failure, wouldn’t there be NUMEROUS other deaths being reported? Maybe there are. The relative rarity of these deaths reported (14 or so out of how many pets eating how many brands???) is much more consistent with an IgA nephropathy, in which the pet’s kidneys shut down due to an immune-mediated reaction to the gluten, as they suspected to begin with. This does occur in celiac (gluten intolerant) humans and I’m thoroughly that it occurs in pets, with IgA nephropathy being the most common cause of glomerulonephritis in people. It is usually chronic but can cause acute renal failure in some individuals. The cat would be the most likely victim , just as we have seen, due to the fact that it is a carnivore and less suited for the consumption of gluten grains.
So, finding rat poison in this tainted food could be like finding some cocaine in human food that is being tested for toxins in suspected restaurant food poisoning cases. The cocaine has nothing to do with food poisoning but it further condemns the establishment on numerous other levels. If there was enough rat poison in the food to kill a pet, we should be even more concerned about how pet food is made on some levels than we are with this gluten issue.
Are we really that surprised to find traces of rat poison in pet food? I’m not, personally. Rats eat grains and the grain sources used for animal consumptions are often very different from those consumed by humans. Could traces be found from the feces of rats that had ingested the poison? Does it have anything to do with the death of these pets that died from kidney failure? I still find it very hard to believe.
Keep your thinking caps on!
John John B. Symes, D.V.M. (”Dogtor J”) www.dogtorj.net Read- “Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm’s Deep”
Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, raw meaty bones day, WOOF!