THE test results are in.
A Brand of dog food in cartons sold by Mercadona has been blamed for causing kidney failure in pets.
The supermarket chain – the largest in Spain – has now withdrawn carton-packaged Compy wet dog food from its shelves in 190 stores in Albacete, Almeria, Alicante and Murcia provinces.
This action followed a flood of concerns from dog owners – including scores of expatriates – after their pets had been taken ill, with some vomiting violently.
On Tuesday, four days after Mercadona had withdrawn the food from sale as a safety precaution, a statement from Tunilament pet division, which is part of Escuris, the company that manufactures Compy, confirmed tests on the pet food had confirmed excessive Vitamin D.
They admitted that this Vitamin D increment could cause urine problems to pets, although only through high doses or persistent use of the product, according to the manufacturer’s veterinarian reports.
Earlier, vets and many expatriates had identified Compy wet dog food in aluminium-lined cartons and sold by Mercadona as the common link between dozens – and possibly hundreds – of complaints by dog owners over sick pets.
There were even reports by expatriates living in the Costa del Sol, but a Mercadona official gave assurances that the Compy product packaged in these cartons was not sold by them in Malaga Province.
British-born Audrey Millar of Benitachell (Alicante) said her three dogs (Shih Tzu, aged 7 yrs, 4.5 yrs and 20 months – Teddy, Shakira and Latika respectively) had always eaten “the Mercadona dog food in the big tins priced at €1.25 a can.”
“When the packaging was changed to cartons (indivisible packs of 3) they were less than enthusiastic about the food but did eat a bit – I mix it with Burns Mini Bites dried food for them.”
“Within a couple of days they started to vomit violently (thank God for tiles!) and refused to eat the food. I took them to the vet and she thought initially that they may have ingested pesticide as she had had a couple of other local dogs in with the same symptoms.”
“She ran renal function tests on two of them and their urea and creatinine levels were raised. “
“She did not consider it worth running the blood tests on the third one (Latika) as she had the exact same symptoms I then started cooking chicken/turkey/ brown rice/vegetables for them until their stomachs settled but I will continue to cook for them now. All have lost a little weight but are almost completely back to normal although Latika was sick last night – they are on Uro Can tablets to protect their stomachs.”
“Thanks for bringing this into the public domain – I am glad Mercadona seem to be taking it as seriously as they should be and let’s hope they are willing to reimburse customers for vet’s fees incurred – I know it has cost some people 100s of Euros and, worse still, some people have lost their beloved pets due to this fiasco.
“And there is the cost of all the cleaning products I bought from them to clear up piles (and it was) of dog vomit for a couple of weeks!”
“I feel quite guilty to be honest, as I know other pet owners do – like I have been poisoning them really. “
Meanwhile, Veronica Catala of Clinica Veterinaria Benitachell said she had seen 10 to 15 cases of dogs with kidney problems in the last two months, and the majority of dog owners – including Ms Millar – had fed pets with the Comfy dog food in cartons.
Inka Labsch of Clinica Veterinaria Europa in Mojacar (Almeria) confirmed that in the last month there had been a huge rise in the number of dog owners bringing in pets suffering from kidney problems.
“In the past month there have been nearly 10, and quite a few otherwise young and healthy animals.”
Tests to see if the kidney problems was caused by Leishmaniasis came back negative, a vet told EWN.
“At one point we thought it might have been caused by pesticide used to combat the Red Weevil Beetle plague we have here,” said Inka.
“But then I heard that other vets in other towns were experiencing similar unusual numbers of young dogs with kidney problems, so I do not think it is that.
Many of the dog’s owners say they feed their pets with Mercadona’s Compy brand wet dog food,” said Inka.
Various pet owners’ who feed their dogs this pet food confirmed this.
One of Inka’s patients is ‘Goldie, who is on a drip for five hours a day after tests showed she had kidney problems.
Ken Grey’s five-year-old white German Shepherd ‘Gemma’ started to develop symptoms, which include excessive thirst.
His partner Georgette Hurcomb took Gemma to the vet in Garrucha who confirmed the kidney problem.
“I personally know of at least six dogs who all eat the same brand of dog food who have this problem, although I understand there are at least 20 dogs who may be affected, one of which died,” said Georgette who lives in Palomares.
“We drink the same water as the dogs and they only eat this brand of dog food.”
“I made a complaint to Mercadona and a representative contacted us very concerned and said they would take the dog food off the shelves and would conducting tests.”
Jamie Moore’s dog Tyson was diagnosed with ‘bad kidneys’ by the vet in Turre.
“I did not think it could have been the food from Mercadona as my dog has eaten this brand of food for many years,” said Jamie.
“But since its packaging changed, he has had a reaction.”
Albox resident, Heather Whythe’s dog ‘Scruffy’ fell ill after a week of eating the ‘trozos in salsa’.
“Since switching to another dog food, she is now back to her normal self,” said Heather.
Chris Reade realised something was wrong when his dog began drinking excessively,
suffered from urinary incontinence and went from 20 kilos to 16 kilos.
“No definite diagnosis was found, although liver and kidney function results were abnormal.
I immediately took the dog off the meat and with complete rest and a diet of chicken and rice she is thankfully on the road to recovery.”
Report by Nicole Hallett [email protected]
Full statement received from manufacturer Tunaliment:
“Last February 24th 2012 the product of wet food for pets, Compy in Brick format (carton), was retired from the market. This product is made by the pet division Tunaliment, which belongs to Escuris. Mercadona retired this product from the few supermarkets that commercialized it; concretely 190 shops placed in the regions of Albacete, Alicante, Murcia and North Almería.
Since this same date, indeed, the people that might have bought this product are being contacted in order to proceed to the return of the article in the nearest Mercadona shop. This measure has been approved in application of the principle of precaution that governs this company, after several clients called to inform about the detection of urine problems that their pets were suffering.
Due to the analysis done, the anomalies found in this concrete product are delimited. An increment of vitamin D has been detected. According to the veterinarian reports that the company has, this vitamin D increment could cause urine problems, although it is true that only in those cases in which the pet has had high dose or quantities of the product in a persistent way.
Tunaliment wants to thank the collaboration of the consumers who alerted this incident. Tunaliment also wishes to thank these consumers for trusting the company. Due to the way these consumers have acted, the company has been able to give a quick and effective response.
Furthermore, Tunaliment is sorry for the inconvenience that this problem has caused and wants to apologize publicly to all the clients whose pets may have been damaged. At the same time, Tunaliment wants to highlight that other Compy products made also by Tunaliment or by other manufacturer have the same quality and safety characteristics that have always had.
For further information, do not hesitate to contact us on the phone (24 hours available) 00 34 619113976 or on the email address [email protected].”