Pet Food Recall: Melamine & Cyanuric Acid Combo Deadly

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Renal tubule blocked by crystals.

Two months into the pet food recall, scientists weren’t sure why melamine and cyanuric acid, which are not thought to be very toxic, were killing pets. Now scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, may have found the answer as to how the contaminants in the tainted pet foods cause renal failure. Perry Martos mixed melamine and cyanuric acid together and it almost immediately formed crystals like those found in the kidneys of animals that died. Unfortunately, these crystals appear to be very insoluble.

On April 20th, I wrote that researchers have identified three melamine by-products in the tissue and urine of affected animals.(article via PetConnection) Scientists at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population & Animal Health have found cyanuric acid (used as a stabilizer for pool chlorine), amilorine, and amiloride.

Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population & Animal Health has photographs of these crystals in the kidney of an affected dog and micrographs of these crystals clogging the renal tubules of the kidney. It makes it easier to understand what these crystals did when you see these images. (Note: At the time these pathology slides were prepared, it was still thought that aminopterin was the contaminant.)

You can find out much more on the recall on my Pet Food Recall Archive Page.

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