Thursday, June 18, 2009

Couple Pleads Guilty in Toxic Pet Food Case

Couple pleads guilty in toxic pet food case
Pair brought melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China into the U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A company and its owners have pleaded guilty to distributing a tainted ingredient used to make pet food that killed potentially thousands of dogs and cats. Chinese national Sally Qing Miller, 43, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 56, along with their Las Vegas-based company, Chemnutra Inc., pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food, both misdemeanors. They initially were charged with 13 counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce, 13 counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce and one felony count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges were contained in a February 2008 federal indictment that alleged the Millers and ChemNutra, along with two Chinese companies, brought wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine into the U.S. It was then sold to pet-food makers, and thousands of cats and dogs reportedly became sickened or died. In 2007, the case resulted in a nationwide recall of more than 150 brands of pet food. "The conduct of these defendants in violating federal health and safety standards caused the deaths and illness of thousands of family pets, as well as anxiety among dog and cat owners across the country and economic harm to many pet food manufacturers," Acting U.S. Attorney Matt J. Whitworth said in a news release. The sentencing hearing has not been scheduled. The Millers face up to two years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $200,000 and an order of restitution. ChemNutra is subject to a fine up to $400,000 and an order of restitution.
Probation, fines likelyBut Robert J. Becerra, an attorney who represented Sally Qing Miller and Chemnutra, said the company, the Millers and the government agreed that probation and a fine were an appropriate sentence. "The Millers and ChemNutra look forward to putting both this case and this tragic matter behind them and hope that today's enhanced awareness of food safety issues will prevent this from ever happening again," Becerra said. Lance Sandage, defense attorney for Stephen Miller, the owner and chief executive officer of Chemnutra, did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday seeking comment. Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. and Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts I/E Co. were indicted with 13 felony counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce and 13 felony counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce. The indictment also names Mao Linzhun, Xuzhou's owner, and Zhen Hao Chen, Suzhou's president.
Melamine boosted protein contentThe indictment also alleged that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of tainted wheat gluten manufactured by Xuzhou to avoid inspection in China. Suzhou then did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S., the indictment said. It also said the shipment was falsely declared to the Chinese government in a way that would avoid a mandatory inspection of the company's plants. According to the indictment, ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods. The indictment alleges that Xuzhou added the melamine to artificially boost the protein content of the gluten to meet the requirements specified in Suzhou's contract with ChemNutra. Prosecutors said adding the melamine, which would allow it to pass chemical inspections for protein content, was cheaper than adding protein to the gluten. Chinese authorities shut down Xuzhou Anying and revoked its license in 2007.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Giardia- Diagnosis and Treatment

Recently we acquired a new puppy, soon after we noticed her stool was light in color, oily and loose. We suspected worms or Giardia. The vet had us bring a fresh stool sample and under microscopic analysis Giardia was found. She was on a course of Flagyl(metronidazole) for 7 days and everything seemed fine. About a week later, she started again with very loose and light colored stool. Again, she had Giardia. We decided to do some research on this parasite and wanted to share this information with all dog and cat owners.

What is Giardia?
Giardia are actually protozoans (single celled organisms) and are commonly found in the intestines of many animals, including dogs and cats. A small percentage of animals can carry Giardia their entire life and never show any symptoms. Infection with Giardia is called Giardiasis. Puppies show diarrhea, have very odoriforous,bloody or mucousy stool with gas. Other symptoms are weight loss, listlessness, mucus in the stool, and poor appetite. Giardia affects the health of your dog or cat. Untreated, this parasite will impede your animals ability to utilize the nutrients in their food.
How are animals infected with Giardia? Dogs and cats become infected with Giardia by eating the cyst form of the parasite, then in the small intestine, this cyst opens and releases a trophozite. Trophozite have hair-like structures that flap back and forth allowing them to move inside the small intestine. These trophozites attach to the animal's intestinal wall, reproduce. It is unknown at what stage this happens, but this trophozite then encapsulates, produces a cyst and then that cyst is excreted in the animals feces.
Now, another animal that comes in contact with grass, dirt or water that has been contaminated with the feces can become infected.
Diagnosis: Diagnosis is confirmed by finding the cysts or motile stages in feces by microscopic examination. A negative report does not rule out Giardia! Because cysts are only passed periodically, it is important to have several fecal exams done. At least 3 fecal exams are recommended over a period of 7-10 days. Vets recommend at least one fecal exam one week after finishing a course of Metronidazole or Panacur.
Treatment: Fenbendazole (Panacur) is the recommended drug to remove gastrointestinal parasites. Metronidazole (Flagyl) daily for at least 7-14 days is another treatment. Our vet has our 12 week old labrador puppy on both now. In order to help establish a healthy gut, she also recommended Fortiflora powder.
The most important thing about ridding your animals of this horrible parasite is to keep everything clean. You can use solutions of Lysol, bleach, and quaternary ammonium compounds against Giardia. In other words, take all the toys and wash with a small amount of bleach. Wash the water and food bowls every time they are used and disinfect with bleach. I wipe down my tile floor in my kitchen now once a day with a bleach solution.
We are also making sure to wipe her anus after defecating and wiping her paws with baby wipes everytime she has walked outside.
I didn't mention that we also have four cats, all who are on Flagyl for 7 days. Giving a cat this medication is difficult, as it dissolves quickly and will fizz in their mouth.
I take a Greenies Pill pocket, break it in half and then mold it exactly over the pill. I then make sure I push it down the cats throat.
Giardia is a tough parasite to get rid of, so you must be diligent with treatment and the disinfection process, otherwise you will always be in battle with this monster.
Prevention of infection: Giardia live in cold wet environments like lawn, parks, streams. So keeping your dog or cat from these environments can be difficult. I would recommend disinfecting your dog's paws after walks and don't allow them to drink from ponds or streams while out. It is also a good idea to keep your dog bathed to help wash any unwanted Giardia cysts off the coat.
Kennel owners have a huge problem in keeping this disease contained. Cleaning the kennels with a 1 part bleach to 5 parts water solution(1:5) or 1:10 solution of bleach can usually kill the cysts within one minute. Make sure you allow this area to dry for several days before bringing the dogs back to the kennel area. Again, clean the perianal areas as much as possible.
Transmission to humans? I have been doing research on this, and yes, this disease is transmittable to humans. Make sure all those who play and handle your animals wash their hands often with an antibacterial soap for a long enough time and with warm water. This should be emphazised especially with small children that crawl on the floor where your animals have been.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kitten found to have rabies

Cat with rabies scares Graham family
Friday, June 05, 2009
By Cherry Young
One Young County family recently had an unusual rabies scare. According to Graham Animal Control Officer Kim Mills, the family had a 6 to 8 week old kitten turn up with rabies."Usually baby animals don’t contract rabies, but the thing is if they hadn’t checked this little kitty, chances are we could have lost somebody," said Mills. "But thank God, she had the wisdom to go ahead and take the kitten in."The kitten was born to a stray or wild mother, said Dr. Tim Odom, and several people had handled the kittens.
When the kitten started exhibiting strange behavior, the family called the vet."They called to say it was acting strange, and they were going to bring it in the next day. It died during the night," said Odom.Odom sent the kitten off, and it tested positive for rabies. The other four kittens in the litter were all negative, but the mother cat has not been located.Seven members of the family were forced to undergo a round of post-exposure rabies injections.Dianne Grissom, director of infection prevention and control for Graham Regional Medical Center, said when it comes to rabies, keeping your pets up to date on their vaccinations should be your first order of business.
Grissom also advised if a person is bitten, he should call animal control or the sheriff’s office, clean the wound with soap and water and call his physician immediately. If the animal is a pet, it should be quarantined immediately. If the animal is a wild animal, or if it ran away, try to give as much information as possible to animal control so the animal can be found and quarantined."If their physician determines a need for vaccine and/or immune globulin, their physician can refer them to the Department of State Health Services. An order from a physician is required for the Department of State Health Services to administer the post-exposure treatment," she said."The Department of State Health Services has said that in this region, they’ve had a large amount of rabid skunks. They’ve had some issues with rabies this year." Mills said the shots are not as bad as they used to be."They just give them to you in your arm once every so many days," she said. Mills said it’s important if bitten to bring the animal in."If we don’t have the animal to test, we have to assume that animal had rabies," she said.If the animal is tagged, it will be quarantined and observed for 10 days. If it is a stray or wild animal, it is euthanized and sent for testing.Mills said that if a quarantined animal does not exhibit signs of being rabid within days, the coast is clear."If they start acting funny on the 12th day and turn up positive for rabies, there was no way enough of the virus had been in its saliva to pass it on in a domesticated animal," she said.She added that being bitten is not the only way to become exposed."A scratch is just as bad as a bite," said Mills.Odom said rabies can affect an animal in one of two ways. Either it will act like it is in a stupor or will become aggressive.He added that the best thing to do is get your dogs, cats and ferrets vaccinated against rabies, and a vaccine is legally required annually to own an animal within the city limits of Graham. The state requires rabies vaccinations to be current as well, and both entities recognize only veterinarian administered vaccines. "We sure recommend that they get all of their animals vaccinated for it. It seems like we’re having more skunks in town or just in the area. It’s fairly prevalent in the skunks, so we just need to keep everything vaccinated," Odom said.Mills added that not only is it dangerous to take in wild animals, it’s also against the law."A wild animal can carry rabies for up to a year. Someone takes in a baby raccoon then all of the neighbor kids are playing with it, possibly exposing them," she said. "Yes, they are cute, but puppies and kitties are, too."