So far, 36 cases have been reported nationwide where dogs showed signs of having high levels of the vitamin including lethargy, drinking an unusually high amount of water and frequent urination, the FDA said. All of the dogs' health improved with a change in food and none show any long-term health problems.
High levels of vitamin D in dogs can cause hypercalcemia, which is a serious and potentially fatal illness that affects organ function and can cause renal failure, coma and death in untreated cases, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Blue Buffalo CEO Bill Bishop said in a statement that the Connecticut company will reimburse any veterinary or testing expenses related to illness caused by the recalled products. He said an ingredient supplier made a "scheduling error" and produced a Vitamin D supplement just before making ingredients for the recalled dog food. Blue Buffalo said some of the vitamin may have made it into its products. "I am personally very upset about this and apologize for any discomfort or inconvenience that this situation has caused you or your pet family members," Bishop said.
The FDA said the supplier had made a product for another customer just before producing the ingredients for recalled production runs of dog food that had a more potent form of vitamin D used in chicken feeds.
Researchers at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine linked 16 sick dogs in eight states -- Michigan, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, North Dakota and Utah -- to the brand's Wilderness Chicken recipe after veterinarians sought tests from the university's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. All of those dogs had high levels of vitamin D in their blood and were fed the recalled dry dog food.
The recalled dog food products are:
- Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor in the 4.5-pound bag with use-by dates of: "JUL2611Z," "JUL2711Z" and "JUL2811Z."
- Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor in the 11-pound bag with a use-by date of "JUL1211B."
- Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor in the 24-pound bag with use-by dates of "JUL1211B" and "JUL1311B."
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Salmon and Potato Recipe in the 11-pound bag with use-by dates of "AUG2111B" and "AUG2211B."
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Salmon and Potato Recipe in the 24-pound bag with use-by dates of "AUG2111B," "SEP2311P" and "OCT2611P."
- Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult dog food in the 30-pound bag with use-by dates of "SEP2211P," "SEP2311P" and "OCT2611P."