Pet foods are supposed to be nutritious and help our pets lead healthier and happier lives, so when they turn up tainted, it comes as quite a shock. Recently, two serious pet food recalls identifying excessive vitamin D levels have made the news.
How did it happen?
December 2018, a supplier to Sunshine Mills, Inc. formulated a vitamin mix used in select Sunshine Mills dry dog food products. See the link below for the list of products tainted by the mix containing extremely high amounts of vitamin D. Sunshine Mills, Inc. subsequently issued a voluntary recall of the diets affected. Reports of dogs with vitamin D toxicosis lead to this first recall.
Separately, Hill’s® Pet Foods issued a recall in February 2019 for similarly high levels of vitamin D. The source was also a supplier’s mistake. Hill’s® has, thus far, not named the supplier but is believed to be unrelated to the Sunshine Mills recall. All tainted Hill’s foods were various canned dog foods and included some of their more common Hill’s Prescription Diet® and Hill’s® Science Diet canned dog foods.
Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity:
Vitamin D has a normal and healthy role in the body. In normal amounts, it aids the body in absorbing and maintaining calcium levels. When extremely high levels of vitamin D are ingested, blood calcium levels rise so high that it can damage various organs in the body, particularly the kidneys. A pet owner might therefore notice an increased thirst and/or urination but also potentially excess drooling, vomiting, tremors, weight loss, stiff joints, and loss of appetite. Left untreated and undiagnosed, vitamin D toxicity can be life threatening.
Not sure which diets are affected?
See below for the links to the various pet foods recalled. If you fed any of the recalled foods, check the lot numbers. The FDA maintains an up-to-date listing of all recalled pet food lot numbers. Any suspected toxicities may be reported directly to the FDA.
For all Sunshine Mills pet food recalls see Here
For all Hill’s® Pet Food recalls see here
What should you do if you have a food that is on the list?
Contact the manufacturer directly at the numbers provided on the above links. They will instruct you on how to proceed.
What do you do if you notice any symptoms in your dog of vitamin D toxicity?
Call your veterinarian immediately for blood testing and a thorough examination.
These blog comments, although based in scientific research, reflect our professional opinions only and are accurate and true to the best of our knowledge. They are for informational purposes and do not constitute treatment advice, nor should it take the place of seeking medical attention and a diagnosis from a trained professional. We reserve the right to change these blog comments if/as new research emerges.