Cat died after eating pet food which has been recalled

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A devastated man told how his house cat died after eating food linked to an urgent product recall about a possible link to a rare and fatal disease outbreak.

Andy Robinson, 55, regularly fed Electra Sainsbury’s hypoallergenic dry cat food with salmon.

But a month ago the Moggy started suffering from blood in the urine and went downhill at a frenzy for over a week before she was taken to the vets.

The five-year-old cat was diagnosed with pancytopenia and died that same evening.

Sainsbury’s, Pets At Home and Applaws have recalled a number of pet food products, feared they would be linked to “worrying” increases in pancytopenia.

It is a rare bone marrow disease in which the number of blood cells decreases, leading to serious illness with symptoms such as fever, bleeding gums, and nosebleeds. According to the vet Andy spoke to, there is usually only one case a year.

However, cat owners have been advised not to feed their pets the products manufactured by Fold Hill by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), after 130 cases since April.

Retired musician Andy from Foxton Locks, Leicestershire, said his cat died of the disease after eating the now pulled product.

Elektra the cat

He said, “She was my best friend and I would have done anything to protect her.

“I want to make sure all cat owners are aware of the risks so that what I have doesn’t go away.

“After her death, I was so upset that I couldn’t stay in my houseboat because it got claustrophobic – I was overwhelmed with tears and felt like I had let her down.

“Stores have sent emails recalling the products, but only customers on their mailing list receive this information.

“Everyone else will likely continue to feed their beloved pets until they either die or the pouch runs out.

“The point now is to save other cats and prevent other people from going through the same thing.”

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Andy said Electra started peeing blood and appeared to be in pain about a month ago – and despite several vet visits, her condition continued to worsen.

Andy said, “As she got worse, she became very still and lethargic and began to eat and drink less and less.

“She stayed in her tunnel and didn’t want me to touch her, which was unusual as she usually couldn’t get enough cuddles.”

The Moggy had about £ 1,500 worth of blood tests and treatments, but it didn’t get better, and vets said there were no blood donations to help her.

And a week after she got sick, Andy got a call to say his pet was diagnosed with pancytopenia and was due to be euthanized on May 27th.

He was an hour away so couldn’t be with Elektra in her final moments.

Andy said that despite the food recall, there could be a “pandemic for cats” as many could die in the next few weeks because their owners do not know about the potentially risky food.

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is building a database of owners who believe their pets may be affected in order to find the cause of the sudden spike.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We are supporting an investigation into a potential safety issue affecting cats.

“We are unwilling to take any risks regarding the safety of our products, so we are voluntarily recalling these products, asking customers not to use them and returning the packs to the nearest Sainsbury’s store for a full refund.”

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The government is working with the RVC, the Animal Plant and Health Agency, other government departments in all four UK countries, local government agencies and the pet food supply chain to investigate a possible link between certain cat food products and cat pancytopenia.

There is currently no “definitive evidence” to confirm a link, said a government spokesman.

Andy is considering applying for compensation and, if successful, making a donation to the People’s Pharmacy for sick animals or cats.

An RVC spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are aware of a number of fatal cases of pancytopenia in cats in the UK. After seeing an increase in cats with pancytopenia (a severe decrease in all major blood cells) in May, we collected data from UK veterinarians on these affected cats.

“Based on what we know so far, the only aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of those affected.

“We currently know more than 130 affected cats and have nutritional information in around 80% of the reported cases.

“According to the shared data, most cats show some nonspecific signs for about two days before being seen by a veterinarian.

“Common signs include lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases spontaneous bleeding or bruising may occur. We recommend that owners contact their veterinarian if they are concerned that their cat may be affected.

“Given this obvious dietary link, we welcome the FSA’s product recall notice.

“While we have not yet fully established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to work with the pet food industry and regulatory agencies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition.”

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