The new falcon herald logo.
Veterinary Talk by Dr. Jim Humphries

Purina’s BenefulÆ fighting off class action suit

BenefulÆ is one of the more popular pet foods. The maker of the food, Purina, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the brand with award winning ads, and marketing in social media. However, the food and legal issues swirling around it are making headlines and stirring controversy among pet lovers and veterinarians. Websites and news organizations are mentioning ìthousands of dogs that have been sickened by this food.îThis is not the first time Purina has been named in a lawsuit. Previously, Purina has had to defend some of its jerky treats in conjunction with the ongoing concerns about pet treats made in China that I have discussed here. That lawsuit was settled by a $6.5 million fund set up to help pet owners whose pets were supposedly sickened by jerky treats.The current issue is a class-action lawsuit that claims certain ingredients in BenefulÆ dry kibble dog food from NestlÈ Purina PetCare Company have sickened or killed thousands of dogs. There are more than 3,000 complaints consumers have made online, according to the complaint. The consistent symptoms reported include stomach internal bleeding, malfunction or failure of the liver, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.Specific concerns have been raised about two chemicals: (1) Propylene Glycol, and (2) toxins produced by a fungus called mycotoxins.Propylene glycol is very similar to Ethylene Glycol, which is anti-freeze; and we all know anti-freeze is very toxic to animals. However, propylene glycol is a different form of the chemical and has use in the food industry as a preservative; and is generally recognized as safe for both humans and animals. It is used in a wide variety of applications, including hydraulic fluids, automobile antifreeze and cosmetics, but is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive. It is known; however, that propylene glycol will cause a blood disease in cats; therefore, it is not supposed to be used in any cat food formula.So, this chemical sounds like it would be toxic like anti-freeze, but it is actually the alternative anti-freeze that is considered safe and often used by pet owning families.What is causing the problem in BenefulÆ? No one is quite sure, but the complaints of pet illness after feeding BenefulÆ keep coming in.”We received hundreds of complaints,” said attorney James Young, of Morgan & Morgan out of Tampa, Florida, one of the lawyers filing the suit. “Nationally, there have been thousands of complaints about dogs who have eaten this dog food and suffered very serious side effects, including death.”Specifically, the suit lists the automotive antifreeze component propylene glycol as a primary ingredient in Benefulís dog food. But I think they will have a hard time with that one because of the FDAís classification; and, frankly, it is not a ìprimary ingredient.îNow letís look at these Mycotoxins. These are created by fungal organisms growing on grain products, like corn or wheat and are a health risk to dogs. Mycotoxins can grow on any feed. As of today, there has been no definite linkage of mycotoxins with the BenefulÆ diets, but all the tests are not completed.The Association for Truth in Pet Food said that it tested some popular dog foods, and found that BenefulÆ Original had a significant†enough mycotoxins level to pose a “high risk”†to animal health.As you know, just because something is reported does not make it true. Some of the pets supposedly sickened by the food may have had pre-existing issues or even other illnesses. The reports rarely mention veterinary care/diagnostics or even if an autopsy was done. This would add the important element of ìfact and proofî to the story.For now, it would be wrong to speculate that BenefulÆ caused the illnesses and/or deaths in these pets. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that there are a lot of other great diets out there where we can rest assured have gone through pretty rigorous testing. And the millions of pets that consume them donít have such a cluster of disease and deaths.Look for foods that have undergone feeding trials per Association of Animal Feed Control Officials guidelines and come from highly reputable manufacturers, such as Hillís, Iams or Royal Canin. Remember, all your pet consumes is what you give them from that one bag of food. This would not be an area to skip based on price. In the long run, good daily nutrition is the best medical prevention you can administer.Dr. Jim Humphries runs an in-home euthanasia practice in Northern Colorado Springs. He also serves as a visiting professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. He lives in Falcon with his wife, horses and Great Danes.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Search Businesses

Search Businesses