Mercadona withdraw cat and dog feed from sale.
Dog owners say the feed has been causing kidney failure in animals.
The company changed supplier during the switchover from tins to briques.
Mercadona has confirmed that Compy dog and catfood in briques has been withdrawn from sale following allegations that the wet feed is causing kidney failure in dogs.
The alarm started spreading on the social networks this week, when local vets in the Mojacar area noticed an abnormally high number of animals coming into their surgeries with kidney problems, the only common factor amongst them being the Compy wet dog food purchased from the local Mercadona supermarket.
One of those affected is Sally, who took her dog Goldie, to the local surgery on February 7th, with a problem of frequent urination, intense thirst and incontinence. A blood test was taken, and revealed that Goldie, an otherwise healthy and happy dog, was suffering from kidney problems.
On Tuesday night, Sally received a call from her local vet asking if she was feeding Goldie with Compy wet dog food.
She confirmed to the vet that this was indeed the case, and was told to bring Goldie back in to the surgery and cease feeding her the wet feed immediately. The vet had noticed an abnormally high number of animals with similar complaints, compared notes with other vets in the area, all experiencing the same influx, and were pointing the finger of blame at the only common denominator: the wet feed.
Sally posted a warning onto her Facebook profile, and received a message from John, who runs the Beachcomber Bar and Restaurant in Mojacar, to say he had noticed his own pets were suffering from the same symptom of thirst and frequent urination.
And once the subject was aired, and he had begun to talk to clients in the busy hub of the bar, realised the problem was widespread, and that many pets were displaying the same symptoms.
So he hit the forums and social networks, his postings provoking a flurry of responses as more and more people responded with confirmation that they too had animals with the same problems or knew of animals which had suddenly passed away, suffering from kidney failure.
The volume of postings grew, and owners began to speculate that their animals had died as a direct result of the Compy products.
We spoke to Toni Martínez, Head of Customer Services in Mercadona today to confirm if there is indeed a problem with the food on sale in their stores.
He acknowledged that there was an investigation into the Compy briques of dogfood underway and that the company was withdrawing the products from their shelves as a precautionary measure.
He confirmed that Mercadona have withdrawn the Compy Pàté and Trozos en salsa products from the shelves of their stores in Almería, Valencia and Murcia, whilst the company investigate the composition of the feed they contain.
Whilst the Supermarket chain are able to prevent any further feeds entering their supermarkets, they have no control over products which have already been purchased, and all those who have animals affected are keen to ensure that the message is spread as widely and as quickly as possible to those people who will already have purchased these products and be feeding them to their animals this weekend.
Mercadona deny that any deaths are attributable to their products, are withdrawing products as a cautionary measure and carrying out a full investigation.
Mercadona will exchange all of these products and have asked that clients return the briques of cat and dog products to the stores, where they will be replaced with either tinned food or other pet products.
The problem appears to have started since the company introduced "brique" packaging, the products packed into more space efficient cardboard packaging, similar to that used for milk products, the manufacturer of the feed having changed, when the new contract to manufacture and package in briques was signed.
Both Mercadona and the contracted feed manufacturer sent representatives to Mojacar on both Friday and Saturday to discuss the situation with dog owners, vets and those who have been actively spreading the word via the social networks.
Sally told us that the Mercadona representative from Valencia who visited Goldie on Friday, was keen to emphasise that the feed is under analysis at the moment to determine the salt content and the constitution of the product and that the company was taking the situation very seriously.
Although for dog owners like Sally, the affects could be both long-term and costly, as should Goldie recover from the damage sustained to her kidney tissue, her feed will have to change to one costing 75 euros for a 10 kilos sack of specialised product, a far cry from the 10 euros she has been paying for a similar volume of feed to date.
Goldie is currently being fed on a diet of chicken and rice, and on a drip for 5 hours a day, whilst her owners hope that the damage sustained to her kidneys is not too severe for her to recover.
John said that he, too, had received a visit from a representative of Mercadona this morning, investigating the problem, and that whilst he was satisfied that the company was taking every measure to address the problem now, was keen to ensure that the message was spread as quickly as possible and prevent any further cases of kidney failure occurring.
The dog owners who have acknowledged they have a problem say that the most common symptoms for kidney stress are frequent urination and excessive thirst.
Sally made a very important observation, that kidney problems cannot be detected by a urine test: only a blood test will prove if there has been any damage to kidneys, so if you have an animal exhibiting these symptoms, it may be sensible to take them to the vet and have a blood test done.
Cat owners have claimed that their cats have been refusing the wet Compy cat food, as cats are very sensitive ( or should that be dead fussy) about their feed, so although some of those posting in relation to the topic are indicating that the problem also extends to cats, there are less allegations that this has resulted in the death of their pets.
So, please ensure that ex-pat animal owners are made aware of this issue and help to spread the message that although stocks are being withdrawn from supermarket shelves, that many of these bricks of animal feed are in cupboards across Almería, Murcia and Valencia, and that whilst the company investigate the composition of the feed, it is advisable to return any existing product to the store of origin and substitute with an alternative until the problem is resolved.
Goldie, meanwhile, remains on a drip for 5 hours a day.
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