By Emma Dooney
Sainsbury's and Pets at Home have pulled multiple dry cat food products from their shelves in response to fears that their ingredients could cause fatal feline disease.
The UK retail giants issued an emergency recall of all dry cat food made by Fold Hill Foods last week after a surge in cat deaths believed to be caused by feline pancytopenia.
The Food Safety Authority (FSA) urged cat parents to avoid buying from the pet foods company in light of an outbreak of the feline disease, which can cause "serious illness" in our whiskery friends. The condition is quite rare, but if contracted, carries a high mortality risk.
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What are the symptoms of feline pancytopenia?
Feline pancytopenia is a disorder that causes the number of cats' blood cells to rapidly decline. The disease attacks the body's oxygen-carrying red blood cells and its infection-fighting white blood cells, as well as the platelets, which are essential to form clots and prevent bleeding.
Symptoms of the potentially fatal illness include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, bruising and pale gums. Bleeding is another major red flag, especially if it occurs in the gums, nose, eyes, mouth anus, or vagina. It's best to keep an eye out for blood in the cat's urine, feces, and/or vomit, which can also signify infection.
How many cats have been affected by feline pancytopenia?
On June 16, the Royal Veterinary College of London (RVC) revealed that at least 130 cats in the UK had died of feline pancytopenia by April. As of 24 June, 70% of the 352 cats known to be infected had passed away. All of these cats had one thing in common: nutrition.
"Based on the evidence to date, the one aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of the affected individuals," the RVC wrote. The university, however, also emphasized that they cannot confirm the link between Fold Hills Food's products and feline pancytopenia.
"While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition," it wrote.
Sainsbury's has confirmed that it supports the investigation and is "voluntarily recalling these products." The UK supermarket chain also asked its customers to avoid using the products and to return them to their nearest store for a full refund. Pets at Home echoed Sainsbury's statements, promising that their staff would be "on hand to help customers select a suitable alternative."
Fold Hill Foods general manager, Ben Mankertz, pointed out that no concrete link has been made between their products and the outbreak, but supports the recall nonetheless. "As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this situation is for families and although diet has not been confirmed as the cause, we would prefer to act now to ensure the absolute safety of cats," he said.
What cat food products have Sainsbury's and Pets at Home recalled?
Sainsbury's have recalled the following products:
- Sainsbury's Hypoallergic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g
- Sainsbury's Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with chicken 1+years 800g
Pets at Home have recalled the following products:
- Ava Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg
- Ava Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and g
- Ava Adult Fish 2kg
- Ava Mature Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg
- Ava Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg
- Ava Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5kg
- Ava Weight Management 1.5kg
- Ava Hairball 1.5kg
- Ava Oral Care 1.5kg
- Ava British Shorthair 1.5kg
- Ava Persian 1.5kg
- Ava Maine Coon 1.5kg
Applaws products (best before date between December 2022 to June 2023 with reference code GB218E5009)
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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