Lethal Euthanasia Drug Found in Dog Food Prompting Petition and Recalls

Posted by Amber King

Five dogs have become ill and one is dead due to recalled dog food.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that Evanger's Dog & Cat Food in Wheeling, Illinois has recalled specific products due to potential contamination. Evanger's voluntarily initiated the recall for their Hunk of Beef Au Jus wet dog food.

While the company has removed the food from store shelves, the FDA prompts dog owners to check their cabinets for any of the following lot numbers: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB. The potentially contaminated products have an expiration date of June 2020 and barcodes ending in 20109. They were sold in numerous stores across the Midwest and East Coast, as well as California, Washington, and Florida.

After extensive testing, the contaminant has been identified as pentobarbital, a drug used to treat tension, anxiety, seizures, and sleeplessness in humans. It's also used for euthansia. When ingested by animals, the FDA reports it causes drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, and in extreme cases, death.

The manufacturer was first notified of the contamination when four pugs from the same family immediately fell ill after eating the food. One of the dogs didn't survive, and the other three spent time in a veterinary intensive care unit before recovering.

"They were falling over. They were running into the walls. They were convulsing," Mael told KATU.

pug hooked up to medical devices
Nikki Mael via KATU News

It's still unknown as to how a drug used for euthanasia ended up in Evanger's dog food, but the company is currently investigating. They suspect the contaminated meat came from a meat supplier they've used for the past 40 years. They've since ended the relationship.

According to Evanger's, this is their first recall in the 82 years they've been in business. The family of the affected pugs set up a Crowd Funding page to help with medical expenses, and Evanger's donated the full asking amount alongside a note that read:

"We at Evangers are deeply horrified about this. We take the safety and quality of our products as top priority. We need to investigate and act upon this issue immediately and would require the LOT code found on the bottom of the can.. Please email or get in contact with us. We also feed our own dog, Lilly, this food."

If you've recently purchased the recalled product, Evanger's encourages you to call 1-847-537-0102 and return the dog food where you bought it for a full refund.

UPDATE: 

The pentobarbital euthanasia drug was also found in the food Gravy Train made by Big Heart Pet Foods. The company is owned by Smuckers and there is now a petition to get the food off the shelves.

Does your dog eat Evanger's or Gravy Train dog food? Let us know in the comments.

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Lethal Euthanasia Drug Found in Dog Food Prompting Petition and Recalls