Euthanasia Drug In Dog Food Prompts Illinois Pet Food Company To Issue Voluntary Recall

Illinois-based Evanger's Dog and Cat Food has decided to voluntarily recall some of its dog food after pentobarbital, a drug used to anesthetize and euthanize pets was discovered in a lot that was sold in 15 states last summer.

Potential Side Effects Of Pentobarbital

The potential contaminant may potentially cause unwanted symptoms in animals that ingest it. Examples of these potential side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance, excitement, nausea, and even possibly death, was found in one lot of Hunk of Beef Au Jus.

Affected Products

The cans of 12-oz Hunk of Beef that were voluntarily recalled out of abundance of caution were distributed to retail locations and were sold online in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin. Affected products were manufactured between June 6 and June 13, 2016.

Pentobarbital was only detected in a single lot but the company also voluntarily recalled Hunk of Beef products that were produced the same week with lot numbers starting in 1816E07HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E03HB, and 1816E13HB, and expire on June 2020. The second half of the barcode, which can be found on the product label's back, reads 20109.

"Although it has been verified that little or no product remains on store shelves, if consumers still have cans with the aforementioned lot numbers, he or she should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund," the FDA said in a statement. "Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-847-537-0102 between 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Central Time, Monday - Friday."

The recall affected five lots of dog food that were produced from the supplier's lot of beef specifically used for the Hunk of Beef products.

Five Dogs Sickened By Contaminant

Five dogs have so far been reported becoming ill one of which died after consuming product with lot number 816E06HB13. Evanger's is issuing the recall voluntarily in a bid to avoid risking exposure of pets to pentobarbital in the product.

The company, which sources its meat products from USDA-approved suppliers that provide it with beef chunks from cows that were slaughtered in USDA-inspected facilities, is currently investigating how the substance got into the raw material supply.

In a statement, the company said that the dogs became sick on New Year's eve prompting it to conduct an investigation over a period of nearly four weeks. The probe included obtaining samples and sending them to a laboratory to test for toxin or bacteria. Tests turned out negative but the company eventually learned about pentobarbital on Jan. 29. Pentobarbital was discovered in the stomach contents of an affected dog.

"Since the launch of this investigation, Evanger's has acted as openly and transparently, sharing all test results, what we as a company were doing to continue the investigation, and all facts of the investigation," the company said in a statement. "In addition to fully-funding the veterinary bills for the dogs that became ill Evanger's will be making a donation to a local shelter in honor of Talula the Pug."

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