Potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins have been found in certain Sportmix pet foods. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Midwestern Pet Foods has just expanded their December 30, 2020 recall.
As of January 11, 2021, 70 pets have died and more than 80 pets are sick after eating Sportmix pet food. Not all of these cases are officially confirmed as being caused by aflatoxin through testing. Many more pets may have been affected without owners realizing it.
The FDA and Midwestern Pet Foods are continuing to investigate, and the cases and scope of the recall may expand as more information becomes available.
This recall is for toxic levels of aflatoxins.
A common mold called Aspergillus flavus can grow on corn and other grains. This mold produces toxins called aflatoxins. In high enough amounts, aflatoxins can cause death in pets, or make pets very ill.
Common symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include:
- loss of appetite
- jaundice (look for a yellowish tint in the eyes and/or gums from liver damage)
In severe cases, this poisoning is fatal. If the pet survives, long-term liver damage may be present. And long-term liver damage may occur even if your dog doesn’t have any symptoms.
If you are feeding your dog Sportmix pet food, please immediately stop and call your veterinarian, especially if your dog has been feeling poorly. (But even pets who seem fine may have liver damage, so please call your veterinarian and get them evaluated.)
- Tell your veterinarian that your pet has been eating the recalled food, and make sure to provide them with the lot number and expiration date.
- Call the number on the bag to find out how to dispose of the food, and do NOT let any other animals eat it.
- Sanitize your bowls, scoops, and storage containers with bleach, rinsing well and drying thoroughly. You do not want any aflatoxins on your belongings!
Your veterinarian will report your pet’s case to the FDA, and that is the best way to handle reporting. You can also report to them directly via their website.
As of this writing, many products are involved in the recall, so the best thing to do is to check the FDA’s advisory for the Sportmix brands, lot numbers, and expiration dates of recalled foods.
I sincerely hope your pets are doing OK, and PLEASE call your veterinarian if you’ve been feeding these foods, even if your pets seem fine!
Editor, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
Molly Jacobson is a writer and also the editor of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, published by Maui Media. A lifelong dog lover and self-professed dog health nerd, she is all too familiar with dog cancer. She has been supporting readers of this blog since the beginning. Molly earned a BA from Tufts University, and after a career in bookselling and book publishing attended The Swedish Institute to become a licensed massage therapist in New York State, licensed by the medical board. Her fascination with health is both personal and global, and she is most proud of how this site and the associated publications have revolutionized not only our approach to dog health, but our own health.