Are you feeding your dog dangerous food? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Are you feeding your dog dangerous food?

January 11, 2006

Mitchell County- Contaminated dog food has killed at least 100 dogs in recent weeks around the country. Wednesday night, a south Georgia breeder wonders if it's responsible for the deaths of dozens of his dogs.

Diamond Dog Food voluntarily recalled thousands of bags of potentially deadly dog food. It could be tainted with Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic by-product of a fungus. A breeder of unique dogs in Mitchell County is trying to figure out if it's connected to 50 dog deaths at his kennel.

Gene Connell developed a new dog breed, miniature and toy Dalmatians. In the last 18 years, he's only fed them Diamond Dog Food, so when they issued a recall he became concerned.

"When I heard about the problems other breeders were having, a light bulb came on. I said, I have the same problem, the thing about it is I documented everything," Gene Connell, Mascot Dalmatians Owner.

Concerned, because he uses the Maintenance Dog Food the company eventually confirmed did contain the potentially toxic substances.

"I've been feeding Diamond Dog Food for 18 years, it's a good feed, it's an expensive feed but the results were what I was looking for," said Connell.

He's had more than 50 dogs and puppies die in the last year and says he's noticed a change in his dogs.

"When we see yellow gums, yellow eyelids, and the hair on these Dalmatians, has a yellow tint to it," said Connell.

It may indicate a liver problem. His veterinarian isn't sure the dog food is to blame. He says, the problem may be a resistance to a parasite drug that kennels often experience. Gene has written the company, with his concerns but hasn't heard back.

"It's been probably five days and I haven't had a response," said Connell.

Gene warns others, if you've used the food to check the bags and have your dog seen by a Vet. He's continuing to watch his dogs closely and hopes changing their food, will solve the problem.

"They're like one of my little kids and every person that has one of my little dogs, they treat them like a member of the family, and if something happened to them it would be a crisis," said Connell.

Gene plans to conduct an autopsy if another dog dies to determine the exact cause of death. Diamond officials say only Diamond Maintenance Dog and Diamond Premium Adult Dog food with "Best By" dates of April 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 11th of 2007 are potentially toxic.

For more information about the recall you can check Diamond Dog Food's Website at www.diamondpetrecall.com or Mascot Dalmatians at www.miniaturedalmatians.com.

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