Archive for the ‘Raccoon dogs’ Category

Tainted feed kills 1,500 dogs in China

October 20, 2008
BEIJING (AP) — Some 1,500 dogs in northeast China have died after eating animal feed tainted with the same chemical that contaminated dairy products and sickened tens of thousands of babies nationwide, a veterinarian said Monday.

The raccoon dogs — a breed native to east Asia that is raised for its fur — were fed a product that contained the chemical melamine and developed kidney stones, said Zhang Wenkui, a veterinary professor at Shenyang Agriculture University. All of the dogs died on farms in just one village.

Zhang determined that the animals died of kidney failure after performing a necropsy — an animal autopsy — on about a dozen dogs. He declined to say when the deaths occurred but a report Monday in the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper said they had occurred over the past two months.

“First, we found melamine in the dogs’ feed, and second, I found that 25% of the stones in the dogs’ kidneys were made up of melamine,” Zhang told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The Southern Metropolis Daily also blamed the deaths of several hundred dogs on melamine, but it was not immediately clear how the chemical would have entered the raccoon dog feed. In the ongoing milk scandal, melamine was said to be added to watered-down milk to artificially boost nitrogen levels, making products seem higher in protein when tested.

Raccoon dogs take their name from their fur, which resembles that of raccoons, and is used to make clothing, especially coats.

The animal deaths raise questions about the extent of the chemical’s presence in the country’s food chain.

Melamine has been found in a wide range of Chinese-made dairy products and foods with milk ingredients over the past few months. The government is still trying to win back consumer confidence after those tainted products turned up on store shelves around the world.

Four Chinese babies’ deaths have been blamed on infant formula that was laced with melamine. Some 54,000 other children were sickened.

Last year, melamine-tainted wheat gluten, a pet food ingredient made in China, was blamed for the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats in North America.

When ingested by humans, the industrial chemical — used in plastics and fertilizers — can cause kidney stones as the body tries to eliminate it and, in extreme cases, can lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly susceptible.

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