Hills recalls dog food as 'fur babies' sicken and even die in cases overseas

19 February 2019 - 08:22 By TimesLIVE
Consult Hills or your vet about the affected products with relevant batch numbers and if your pet is showing any of the symptoms listed. (File photo)
Consult Hills or your vet about the affected products with relevant batch numbers and if your pet is showing any of the symptoms listed. (File photo)
Image: 123RF/Oksana Kuzmina

Heart-breaking posts about beloved dogs dying of renal failure have preceded a recall of certain Hills Pet Nutrition tinned foods.

The company in South Africa is part of the international recall of "select canned dog food batches due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D".

"While vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, ingestion of elevated levels can lead to potential health issues depending on the level of vitamin D and the length of exposure, and dogs may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss," said its statement.

"Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction."

On Facebook, people are sharing their grief, with photographs of pets who died. Jeri Lynn from Ohio, US, posted: "We just picked up our girl's ashes up today, thanks to this food. It killed our beloved border collie within a week." Alyce Rathburn in the UK wrote: "Both of my dogs very sick from this food! Heartbreaking!" 

Kelly Bone from Michigan, US, posted a photograph of her poodle Duncan, saying he had died after consuming Hills products. "I have spoken to Hills twice. They explained that they were using a third-party supplier who did not adequately test their product. When I asked 'What quality controls does your company have to ensure the products you receive from suppliers meet quality standards?', the response was 'We are putting those into place now'. Well, Hills Nutrition... it is too late for my little Duncan. This is inexcusable. I am so sorry I trusted this company."

The company said in its recall statement: "Hill’s has identified and isolated the error and, to prevent this from happening again, we have required our supplier to implement additional quality testing prior to their release of ingredients. In addition to our existing safety processes, we are adding our own further testing of incoming ingredients."

Advice for people who had already bought the product included these notes from Hills: "Pet parents who purchased the product with the specific batch numbers listed should discontinue feeding and dispose of the product or return unopened product to their veterinary outlet for a refund."

"Pet parents with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed and are exhibiting any of these signs should contact their veterinarian. In most cases, complete recovery is expected after discontinuation of feeding."

The affected products include specific batches of the Hills Science Plan Canine Youthful Vitality Stew, Prescription Diet Canine Metabolic and Mobility Stew, Canine Low Fat Stew and Canine Derm Defense Stew.

Hill's South Africa is also pulling two other canned dog food batches from the shelves, "due to levels of vitamin D that do not meet our product specification". These are Hill's Science Plan Canine Adult Stew 354g [and] Hill's Prescription Diet Canine Derm Defense Stew 354g."

Hills nutritional adviser Guy Fyvie told Cape Talk: "We have not had any confirmed cases of disease of sickness in South Africa, and certainly no deaths."

Most of the affected products were "still in our warehouses", Fyvie added.

The February product recall statement by Hills adds that no dry foods, cat foods or treats are affected.