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Blue Buffalo Recall
From The Veterinary Information Network (VIN)
|Recall issued of certain Blue Buffalo dog foods
October 8, 2010
By: Jennifer Fiala
For The VIN News Service
makers of Blue Buffalo pet foods are recalling certain lots of the
company?s Wilderness Chicken-Dog, Basics Salmon-Dog and Large Breed
Adult Dog products due to fears that the food may contain higher levels
of vitamin D than are specified.
The problem, officials say, likely stems from what appears to be a
glitch tied to one of the company?s dry ingredients suppliers
concerning a form of vitamin D that?s not supposed to be in the Blue
Buffalo foods in question.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon issue a
public notice on the recall. According to the company, the following
production runs distributed to pet specialty stores nationwide are
? 4.5-, 11- and 24-pound bags of Blue Wilderness Chicken dry dog
food with best-if-used-by dates of JUL1211B, JUL1311B, JUL2611Z,
JUL2711Z and JUL2811Z;
11- and 24-pound bags of Blue Basics Salmon and Potato Recipe dry dog
food with best-if-used-by dates of AUG2111B and AUG2211B;
? 30-pound bags of Blue Large Breed Adult Chicken dry dog food with
best-if-used-by dates of SEP 22 11 P, SEP 23 11 P, OCT 26 11 P.
Any unused product still in its bag may be returned to the point of purchase for a full refund.
In an announcement issued this afternoon, officials with
Wilton-Conn.-based Blue Buffalo reveal 36 cases nationwide of dogs with
symptoms consistent with elevated levels of vitamin D in their systems
while on the diets, with symptoms resolving after being switched to a
different brand of food. Practitioners have reported many of those
cases on the Veterinary Information Network, or VIN, an online
community for the profession and parent of the VIN News Service.
Hypervitaminosis D induces bone loss and abnormally high serum
calcium levels, which could result in kidney stones and the
calcification of organs like the heart and kidneys if left untreated.
Hypercalcemia often is associated with certain forms of cancer, which
could lead a pet owner to choose euthanasia upon hearing such a
potentially grave diagnosis.
In late August, the VIN News Service published an article
citing reports of hypervitaminosis D symptoms in dogs fed a diet of
Blue Buffalo, mainly its chicken flavors. Newer cases are associated
with the Basics Salmon formulation.
VIN members have been trying to discern
whether reports of hypercalcemia secondary to vitamin D toxicosis
occurring in dogs that eat Blue Buffalo were either a coincidence or a
problem with the pet food. In each of the cases, the dogs improved
rapidly upon receiving a change in diet.
Though months of testing and investigation by Blue Buffalo showed
no unusual amounts of vitamin D in their products, company officials
now report that the manufacture of a vitamin D supplement on the same
equipment that produced the pet food likely caused the problem.
?We came to this conclusion after discovering that our ingredient
supplier had made a scheduling error and produced a vitamin D
supplement immediately prior to preparing the ingredients for the Blue
products that are in question. We believe that some of the vitamin D
supplement may have been carried over into our products, resulting in
more vitamin D than is called for in our formulas,? the company?s
A veterinarian who works with Blue Buffalo posted a more technical and in-depth explanation
of the problem to his colleagues in a VIN message board discussion,
though the VIN News Service could not immediately obtain his permission
to publicly relay the information.
Dr. Joy Mueller, a veterinarian in Santa Rosa, Calif., who
identified the condition in her two-year-old Australian shepherd, is
relieved that the problem is being taken seriously. Before being taken
off the diet, she reports that her dog had become lethargic, producing
copious amounts of extremely dilute urine and drinking large amounts of
?I?m pleased they?re doing a recall,? she says. ?Blue Buffalo is
really stepping up to the plate, and I have to give them kudos for the
hard science that they did to figure this all out. I think that they
are a very conscientious company.?
In a news release issued on Friday to the Associated Press, Blue
Buffalo?s Richard MacLean, vice president of business affairs,
instructs owners with dogs that show signs of lethargy or exhibit
unusually frequent water consumption or urination to immediately
contact a veterinarian.
?In all cases the symptoms have subsided upon discontinuing feeding
these products with no apparent long-term health consequences,? the
Consumers who have incurred expenses for
veterinary services and/or laboratory testing fees related to the
recalled products can call the Blue Buffalo customer service department
at (877) 523-9114 for reimbursement.
Blue Buffalo representatives will contact clients of veterinarians who have already submitted related expenses to the company.