The Food and Drug Administration doesn't keep epidemiological data on dog and cat illnesses and deaths... but the nationwide veterinary chain Banfield does. And according to an extrapolation of data from its 615 veterinary hospitals Banfield estimates that as many as 39,000 cats and dogs may have been sickened or killed by contaminated pet food.
The hospital chain saw 1 million dogs and cats during the three months when the more than 100 brands of now-recalled contaminated pet food were sold. It saw 284 extra cases of kidney failure among cats during that period, or a roughly 30 percent increase, when compared with background rates.
"It has meaning, when you see a peak like that. We see so many pets here, and it coincided with the recall period," said veterinarian Hugh Lewis, who oversees the mining of Banfield's database to do clinical studies.
There are an estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats nationwide.
In other news, one person has died and more than three hundred have fallen ill in two separate incidents in China, after eating porridge suspected of containing rat poison. According to Wikipedia:
[...] canned and jarred gluten is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to congee (boiled rice porridge) as part of a traditional Chinese breakfast.
[Read more from David Goldstein at HorsesAss.org]