FDA investigating dog food company after euthanization chemical found in products

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The Food and Drug Administration is launching an investigation into the dog food brand Gravy Train, after trace amounts of pentobarbital, a chemical used to euthanize animals, were found in nine out of 15 cans tested.

"Some of the most common ways it could come about would be obviously some type of exposure from an animal that has been euthanized on a farm somewhere and it somehow got into general population going to a place to be pretty much used for food," Dr. Lesley Flora DVM at Laurel Hill Veterinary Services in Ulster, Pa. said. "And as it gets into the system it could contaminate the dog food."

Dr. Flora said it's important to know the warning signs.
"General things to be looking for would be bowel issues, vomiting, diarrhea, severely lethargic animals, laying around not doing anything. Mainly the dog is not acting right," she said.

If you spot any of these symptoms, you'll want to get your animal to a vet quickly.
"If we're able to get them in and flush the system and it's not a lot that they've ingested, treating their GI signs with anti-vomiting drugs and anti-diarrheal, we can turn the case around," Dr. Flora said. "But it really depends on the amount that's ingested."

Gravy Train officials issued a statement saying they had received no consumer complaints about any pets getting sick or dying from their products. They also said that they've launched a thorough investigation into the matter, but that they are confident their products are safe.

This isn't the first time pentobarbital has been found in pet food. The FDA warned owners not to feed Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food last February after they were found to contain the barbiturate. 

Pet owners may now left wondering which brands are safe.
"Unfortunately today we have seen that happen in large and small brand foods," Dr. Flora said. "You are going to be safer taking to the larger brand names. Due to the fact that they're doing a lot of quality assurance, safety checks. They're really trying to make sure that their food is going to be good quality food that they're putting out and they're not going to have these issues."

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