Thursday, March 22, 2007
Pet food recall: Update
Aspergillus: could this be the illness-causing culprit in the recalled pet food?
After speaking with a close friend of mine who is an ACVP-certified veterinary pathologist, he has confirmed that pathologists across the continent have been describing similar, if not identical, findings in tissue samples from patients having died of the suspected "tainted" pet food.
Acute tubular degeneration and necrosis, with numerous intratubular birefringent crystals. The exact nature of the crystals is not clear (whether they are oxalate or not). Those finding are not specific and the etiology remains unknown at this time, but Aspergillus-associated oxalate nephrosis has been suggested based on the presence of crystals. There
are a few possible causes for oxalate nehprosis. Toxicologists have been analyzing the foods, but nothing significant has been found yet.
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) toxicity typically causes acute tubular necrosis with the presence of oxalate crystals, however, there is no evidence at this time to claim that antifreeze is the culprit.
Aspergillus is a fungal organism that is ubiquitous, and was found to be the source of serious problems in human patients having undergone surgery in both a New Brunswick and Quebec hospitals in 2002.
It not uncommon to diagnose veterinary patients with infections caused by Aspergillus organisms. Typically, they are respiratory in nature, but can also cause other serious illness such as osteomyelitis (bone infections).
These are calcium oxalate crystals which can be found in the urine and tissues of veterinary patients (human, too) with ethylene glycol toxicity. They can be more elongated and obelisk-shaped, called the monohydrate form.