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The Ruff Report: A recap of news involving dogs Aug. 17 to Aug. 23, 2008

Week of Aug. 17 to Aug. 23, 2008

No conclusive evidence linking food, pet illnesses

A possible link between some dogs and cats getting ill after eating Nutro food is still unresolved. reports that it had Dr. Steven Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist who manages the Animal Poison Control Center for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, review some complaints it received regarding the food.

"Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings," Dr. Hansen told "Without any consistent trends in findings, we cannot do anything any further. This does appear to us to be a situation where bad things happen, but they are not likely food-related."

Dr. Hansen, who reviewed more than 50 complaints about Nutro, said those complaints revealed many illnesses. "Right now, it looks like a mixture of reported clinical signs that reflect normal illnesses in the dog population," he told "They don't speak to something consistently wrong with the pet food.

Nutro has posted a statement on its Web site saying the ConsumerAffairs story was incorrect. "Every Nutro product that was analyzed in relation to the June 23 posting on has been shown to be safe," the company states. previously reported that it received dozens of complaints from owners about their pets experiencing diarrhea, vomiting and other digestive problems. The dogs and cats had all eaten Nutro. Many of the pet owners reported improvement once they stopped feeding their pets Nutro.

Another recall involving Pedigree pet food

A type of Pedigree pet food has been recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

Mars Petcare US of Franklin, Tenn., which also manufactures Nutro food, recalled 100 20-pound bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites. The bags of the food were sold in in stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, according to the pet food maker. The best before date on the bags is July 7, 2009.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Rachael Ray launches line of premium food, treats

Super cook and television personality Rachael Ray has a new line of premium food and treats for dogs.

Rachael Ray Nutrish, manufactured by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, includes crunchy and chewy treats named after Ray's dog Isaboo. Isaboo Booscotti crunchy treats come in bacon and peanut butter flavors; Isaboo Grill Bites chewy treats come in beefy burger and bacony burger flavors.

Proceeds from each sale will be donated to support Rachael's Rescue, which helps with adoption services and medical care for animals.

Tennessee, Florida groups collecting pet food

In more signs that times are difficult for pet owners, one humane society is holding a food drive and another is trying to stock up its food bank by collecting coupons for discounted food.

The Humane Society of Clarksville-Montgomery County in Tennessee is collecting Fresh Step cat litter Paw Points and Purina dog and cat food Weight Circles from packages, The Leaf-Chroncile of Clarksville, Tenn., reports. These stamps found on packages are redeemable for coupons for free and discounted pet food products and cat litter that the humane society will use to help low-income pet owners.

And Lee County Animal Services in Florida is collecting pet food donations to give to families who would otherwise be forced to surrender their pets because of financial hardship.

"It is in the animals’ best interest to remain in their current home with the family who loves them," spokeswoman Ria Brown told The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla.

Edmonton firefighters get animal oxygen masks

The fire department in Edmonton, Canada, now has oxygen masks shaped specifically for animals and birds.

The Edmonton Sun reports that Invisible Fence of Western Canada donated 24 oxygen kits, which include the cone-shaped plastic masks that can resuscitate animals including dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.

"These pet masks will allow us to provide a more efficient stream of oxygen to animals suffering from smoke inhalation," Edmonton fire chief Randy Wolsey told the newspaper.

Previously, fire crews have had to use human air masks on animals suffering from smoke inhalation.

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