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Thursday, December 3, 2009

What the heck is thiamine, and why do cats need it?

Reading a recent news item really threw me for a loop.

It never crossed my mind how little I know about what I'm putting into my cats' bodies.

On Tuesday it was announced that back in September, Diamond Pet Foods recalled certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball dry cat food that did not contain enough thiamine, an essential nutrient. A cat's deficiency in thiamine could lead to gastrointestinal or neurological problems, and even death.

Twenty-one cats were sickened by the flawed food in New York and Pennsylvania. The food was also distributed in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. No incidents have been reported since Oct. 19.

According to Cat World, thiamine has numerous functions, including helping the body metabolize carbs into energy and maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system. The nutrient is found in whole grains, some fruits and vegetables, meat, liver, bread, brewers years, legumes and milk.

Though rare, a deficiency is most common when a cat's diet contains large amounts of raw fish. Initial symptoms include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting and weight loss. Other problems that could develop include bending the neck toward the floor, wobbly walking, circling, falling and seizures.

For a full refund, consumers can return the recalled cat food to the place it was purchased. Call 800-977-8797 for more information.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,


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