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Vitamin D Toxicosis Leads To Hill’s Dog Food Recall, Supplier Error Blamed

Today’s recall of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Science Diet and Prescription formula canned dog foods for elevated levels of vitamin D remind us why it is so important to report a pet food problem. The story begins as most pet food recalls do, with a sick dog or a cat and a consumer who believed in the process enough to make a complaint. And that lone voice, that single consumer with a sick dog managed to trigger a worldwide recall possibly saving the lives of thousands of other dogs.

But today’s recall may never have happened.

Increasingly, consumers are led to believe the FDA is a corrupt institution run by nothing but a bunch of crooks and liars and are in collusion with Big Pet Food. But today’s recall reminds us that sometimes the system works and that an individual consumer has the power to affect change. And the FDA will take action when appropriate – irrespective of the size of the pet food company or the type of pet food they make.

THE PROBLEM WITH VITAMIN D

What we are learning today is that Hill’s Pet Nutrition is recalling twenty-six canned dog food formulas due to excessive levels of vitamin D. Although the recall makes no mention of the amount of the level of the vitamin D. we can assume that judging from the report of the sick dog, it is an amount high enough to cause illness.

According to the recall notice, “Ingestion of elevated levels of vitamin D can lead to serious health issues depending on the level of vitamin D and the length of exposure. Dogs may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.” And death. They neglected to mention that.

It is important to realize that due to a consumer complaint about a single dog diagnosed with vitamin D toxicosis, Hill’s was able to determine that some of their formulas contained elevated levels of vitamin D in some of their canned dog foods.

SUPPLIER ERROR

Unfortunately, Hill’s will only say the problem occurred due to a “supplier error.”

It is always disappointing when a manufacturer refuses to take responsibility for their failure to test their ingredients prior to manufacture.

This vitamin D recall echoes other recent excessive vitamin D recalls, both that were blamed on “supplier error.” In the previous recalls, it is presumed that all of the pet foods were made by a third-party private label manufacturer called Sunshine Mills. In this case, it is highly doubtful that Hill’s is made by Sunshine Mills. However, it may be that the incorrectly formulated vitamin premix could have been supplied to both companies. At this point, it is only conjecture and not fact.

THE RECALLED FORMULAS

Product Name SKU Number Lot Code/Date Code
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® c/d® Multicare Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz 3384 102020T10
102020T25
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz 3389 102020T04
102020T10
102020T19
102020T20
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 5.5oz 3390 102020T11
112020T23
122020T07
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® z/d® Canine 5.5oz 5403 102020T17
112020T22
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® g/d® Canine 13oz 7006 112020T19
112020T20
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine 13oz 7008 092020T30
102020T07
102020T11
112020T22
112020T23
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® j/d® Canine 13oz 7009 112020T20
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® k/d® Canine 13oz 7010 102020T10
102020T11
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® w/d® Canine 13oz 7017 092020T30
102020T11
102020T12
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® z/d® Canine 13oz 7018 102020T04
112020T22
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® Metabolic + Mobility Canine Vegetable & Tuna Stew 12.5oz 10086 102020T05
102020T26
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® w/d® Canine Vegetable & Chicken Stew 12.5oz 10129 102020T04
102020T21
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® i/d® Low Fat Canine Rice, Vegetable & Chicken Stew 12.5oz 10423 102020T17
102020T19
112020T04
Hill’s® Prescription Diet® Derm Defense® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz 10509 102020T05
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Small & Toy Breed Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 5.8oz 4969 102020T18
Hill’s® Science Diet® Puppy Chicken & Barley Entrée 13oz 7036 102020T12
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz 7037 102020T13
102020T14
112020T23
112020T24
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Turkey & Barley Dog Food 13oz 7038 102020T06
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Beef Entrée Dog Food 13oz 7040 102020T13
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Light with Liver Dog Food 13oz 7048 112020T19
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz 7055 092020T31
102020T13
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Beef & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz 7056 092020T31
112020T20
112020T24
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Turkey & Barley Entrée 13oz 7057 112020T19
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef, Carrots & Peas Stew dog food 12.5oz 10452 102020T14
102020T21
Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Chicken & Vegetable Stew dog food 12.5oz 10763 102020T04
102020T05
112020T11

VITAMIN D TOXICITY

While vitamin D is perfectly safe in small doses, vitamin D also has the smallest margin of safety of all vitamins and is the most likely to cause life-threatening health issues.

More worrisome, is that because the signs of vitamin D poisoning do not occur immediately and may take hours to manifest – as the vitamin D causes a slow rise in the dog’s blood calcium levels – the early signs of vitamin D poisoning may be vague and could easily be missed.

SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN D TOXICITY

Initially, dogs can develop vomiting, diarrhea and may start to drink more than usual. As the calcium concentration rises in the blood, there are more severe signs including muscle spasms and fits/convulsions. The calcium is deposited in tissues resulting in kidney failure, pain, bloody vomiting, bloody diarrhea and changes in the heart rhythm.

If untreated, pets will die several days after vitamin D overdose.

VITAMIN D TOXICOSIS

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “animals with vitamin D3 intoxication become anorectic, lose weight, and develop acetonemia within 2–3 week after the overdose. Tachycardia, shallow breathing, and lameness, followed by weakness, recumbency, and even death can be seen in animals with vitamin D3 toxicosis.”

“Vitamin D toxicosis is a potentially life-threatening condition that causes increased reabsorption of calcium leading to renal damage. Clinical signs include abdominal pain, renal pain on palpation, depression, bradycardia (increased heart rate), vomiting and diarrhea. Once blood work is performed, findings include hypercalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, hypokalemia, and azotemia.”

TODAY’S LESSON ON THE POWER OF CONSUMERS

As we see today, a single consumer adverse event report can save hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other dogs from needless suffering and possibly even death. These reports can have the ability to help other consumers from experiencing the agony and despair of watching helplessly as their animal suffers or enduring the anguish of having to bury a beloved pet.

Without these critical reports, particularly ones that can be validated with a veterinary diagnosis, recalls like the one we have today is unlikely to happen.

ADVERSE EVENT REPORTING

If you believe your pet has become ill from consuming a pet food, please provide the FDA with valuable information by reporting it electronically through their Safety Reporting Portal or call your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

If you and your veterinarian think a pet food or treat is the source of a problem – save it – because your state agricultural or veterinary diagnostic lab may want to do testing. If you need more help, find out how to report a pet food complaint to the FDA.

HILL’S CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information, please contact Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. at 1-800-445-5777 Monday-Friday during the hours of 9am-5pm (CST) or at contactus@hillspet.com.  Information can also be found at www.hillspet.com/productlist .

To find out more about the recall, please visit the FDA website’s page on the Hill’s recall.

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Mollie Morrissette

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Comments (20) Write a comment

  1. ask your vet for A complete physical examination will then be conducted, including routine laboratory tests such as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, electrolytes, and urinalysis.

    If your dog is suffering from vitamin D toxicity, the biochemistry profile will indicate abnormally high levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood. It may also indicate abnormally low levels of potassium in the blood along with an accumulation of nitrogenous waste products. In some dogs, the biochemistry profile may even indicate an abnormally high level of liver enzymes and low levels of protein (called albumin) in the blood. The urinalysis, meanwhile, will indicate abnormally high levels of proteins and glucose in the urine.

    Reply

  2. How many cans after feeding 20lb dog? He was on hills for a month or two. Then I saw the recall. Stopped. He seems ok but he had vomited this week which I thought was from eaten grass. He also threw up one morning bile with a red ring around outside maybe blood,? He eats ok now. Wondering if I should take him to vet.

    Reply

  3. I had two elderly cats (18 & 19) who have been on Hills A/D for two months just to try to keep their weight up, and they’re getting sicker and sicker and sicker, so I stopped the A/D three days ago and switched them to homemade chicken breast and vitamins. A/D is for both dogs and cats, but I don’t see it on your list. They’re showing all the symptoms described above except death. Can you keep us updated when they add A/D to the list?

    Reply

  4. Pingback: FDA Warns Pet Parents About the Toxicity of Vitamin D Following Multiple Recalls of Dog Food for Excess Vitamin D | Poisoned Pets | Pet Food Safety News

  5. My Cairn Terrier, “Sundance” had been on Science Diet his whole life having been recommended by our vet.
    He developed diabetes, suffered overnight from cataracts (had surgery to repair sight) eventually had to be put down due to renal failure! After finding out about this recall I am heartsick to think this all could have been prevented by tighter controls on these sleazy manufacturers!,

    Reply

  6. Pingback: Pet Parents Sue After Hill's Offers $5 Per Dog For Compensation: Dead or Alive. Class Action Lawsuits Filed. | Poisoned Pets | Pet Food Safety News

  7. My dog died from the same symptoms 2 years ago but she was on the dry formula. I don’t believe it’s just linked to the canned formula. I still have the dog food. Is there any way it can be tested?

    Reply

  8. My poor dog has been in death’s door since 12/12/18 after trying Hill’s. We spent many thousands of dollars trying to find out what was ailing him. I truely believe he is a victim of vitimin D toxicity. I’m wondering what can be done about this.

    Reply

  9. Just saying how much I enjoy these posts..
    Archie say hi..

    Happy new year ♥️
    Stay healthy

    Stuey

    Reply

    • Hi Stuey! I always enjoy getting gifts from your fabulous store: The Gray Goose in Nevada City. I love my “Cat mom forever” tote (or was it “Crazy Cat Lady Forever”?) and all the other cute cat stuff Dan has given me over the years from your amazing shop. Glad you like my work! Hugs!

      Reply

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