No Acetaminophen in Pet Food Says UC Davis

Cat food cleared of acetaminophen, but no dog food tested by UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine.

Recent testing of cat food yielded no evidence of acetaminophen, according to the University of California Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine.

Earlier this month, ExperTox of Deer Park, Texas, reported it had found acetaminophen, a common pain reliever, in samples of dog and cat food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with investigating the massive cat and dog food recall begun in March, disputed that claim, saying none of its testing samples turned up the chemical compound.

A few weeks ago, the UC Davis’ veterinary school tested three cans of cat food provided by an individual whose cat had been diagnosed with kidney failure but not liver failure, which should be the case if acetaminophen were to blame, said Dr. Robert Poppenga, DABVT, who runs the toxicology section of Davis’ California Animal Health and Food Safety System.

“We were told that this was the same food that had tested positive for acetaminophen and cyanuric acid at a private laboratory in Texas,” he said. “We immediately began conducting our own rigorous tests on these foods … All the samples came back negative for this type of contamination.”

No dog food was tested at Davis, says Poppenga.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which has tracked pet illnesses related to the pet food recall, particularly renal failure and its symptoms, agreed with UC Davis’ finding, saying that fears of acetaminophen-contaminated pet food are “unfounded.”

“The bottom line is that neither did the FDA’s tests confirm the presence of acetaminophen, nor those conducted by UC-Davis — nor has the APCC [Animal Poison Control Center] managed any clinical cases to date,” said Steven Hansen, DVM, DABVT, manager of the ASPCA’s poison control center. “As a result, we want to reassure the public that based on this information, we believe any fear of acetaminophen contamination in pet food is unfounded, and pet parents should rest easy on that account.”

Acetaminophen poisoning can be deadly in pets, particularly for cats, Hansen said.

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