A new survey has revealed that contaminated pet food imported from China may have killed more than 300 dogs and cats early this year.
The survey of veterinarians by Michigan State University (MSU) researchers has confirmed that many deaths earlier this year of dogs and cats were as a result of them ingesting a toxic combination of melamine and cyanuric acid from their food.
The survey conducted by MSU's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health found that 235 cats and 112 dogs met the criteria for what is termed "pet food-induced nephrotoxicity."
While the two food contaminants on their own are relatively harmless, combined they become a deadly mixture.
Associate Professor Wilson Rumbeiha says when melamine and cyanuric acid are combined, they form crystals which can block the kidneys and do not easily dissolve producing the potential for chronic toxicity.
Rumbeiha and his team also found that most incidents occurred in Michigan, Illinois, and Texas that cats and smaller dogs were more susceptible.
The deaths prompted companies to recall thousands of pet food varieties sold under more than 100 brand names.