Hill’s adds lot code to excess vitamin D dog food recall

Hill’s Pet Nutrition stated that a single can date/lot code within an already recalled case of dog food was inadvertently omitted from the company’s list of dog foods recalled for excessive vitamin D levels.

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(aquir | BigStock.com)
(aquir | BigStock.com)

Hill’s Pet Nutrition stated that a single can date/lot code within an already recalled case of dog food was inadvertently omitted from the company’s list of dog foods recalled for excessive vitamin D levels, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This relates to the same vitamin premix that led to the Jan. 31 voluntary recall.

The cans were in cases marked with the previously recalled lot code. The majority of the product was distributed in October and November 2018 and is unlikely to still be commercially available. The Hill’s Consumer Affairs and Veterinary Consultation Services have also not received any calls reporting ill pets for this SKU date code / lot code.

This single date code below is associated with an already recalled SKU:

  • Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Dog Food, 12.5 ounce,
  • SKU: 3389
  • Date code / lot code 102020T21

5 lawsuits allege dogs dead, sick from Hill’s pet food

Lawyers in several U.S. states filed lawsuits against Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which Colgate-Palmoliveowns. These five legal actions were related to elevated levels of vitamin D in recalled wet dog food. Some plaintiffs alleged that Hill’s delayed their response to reports of problems with their products. Dog owners involved in the lawsuits claimed that their pets became sick and even diedas a result of eating Hill’s Pet Nutrition products.

“Not only has Hill’s sold contaminated food, but it has dragged its feet in issuing a recall and including all contaminated food within the scope of the recall,” stated the plaintiffs in court documents.

On January 31, Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled 25 varieties of canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D, which can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss. Vitamin D consumed at excessively high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including kidney failure.

1. Bone et al versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

On Feb. 11, dog owners in Florida, North Carolina and New York filed a lawsuit against Hill’s Pet Nutrition in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Three plaintiffs, Kelly Bone, Christina Sawyer and Janine Buckley, alleged that Hill’s knew about the elevated levels of vitamin D in certain canned dog foods months prior to the recall.

The plaintiffs claimed their dogs died as a result of eating Hill's canned Prescription Diet and Science Diet formulations.

2. Russell et al versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Also on Feb. 11, lead plaintiffs Michael and Jodi Russell of Florida filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The plaintiffs alleged that Hill’s dog food was defective due to the excessive levels of vitamin D. They claim that their dog Stella was poisoned by the high levels of vitamin D and subsequently euthanized.

3. Navarette versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

On Feb. 12, lawyers representing dog owner John Navarrete filed a lawsuit against Hill's Pet Nutrition in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

On October 1, 2018, Navarrete purchased twelve cans of Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care i/d Low Fat Rice, Vegetable & Chicken Stew from a PetSmart store in Concord, California, USA for Goliath, his German Sheppard, according to court documents.

Until January 2019, Navarette purchased more of Hill’s Pet Nutrition wet dog food. In that month, Goliath began experiencing serious health issues, including vomiting and lethargy.

In court documents, Navarette’s lawyers noted that Hill’s website states:

  • “…your pet gets all the nutrients they need – and none they don’t.”
  • its pet food contains the right nutrients in the right quantities
  • all finished products are “tested for key nutrients prior to release…”
  • suppliers are subject to stringent quality standards
  • each ingredient is examined to ensure safety as well as analyzed to ensure it contains an “ingredient profile for essential nutrients.”

What’s more, the lawyers presented marketing materials from Hill’s that warn pet owners of the dangers of excessive nutrient intake.

Considering Hill’s marketing claims, the plaintiff’s lawyers allege that Hill’s misrepresented their products, which led to Navarette buying the wet dog food for his German Shepherd.

4. Sun-Dampier et al versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Jun Virginia Sun-Dampier’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against Hill’s on Feb. 14. They filed the class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of California’s Northern Disctrict.

Sun-Dampier’s Pekinese dog, Garfield, ate Hill’s Prescription Diet dog food following a veterinarian’s recommendation. On December 4, 2018, the dog owner purchased Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Dog Food – Low Fat Chicken & Vegetable Stew and fed it to Garfield. Later that month, the dog became increasingly ill and lethargic. He lost his appetite and began vomiting. On Dec. 23, the dog died in the night.

5. Jubinville et al versus Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Lawyers for Jennifer Jubinville, Jenna Sprengel, Kelli Coppi and Laura Freeman filed a class action lawsuit against Hill’s on Feb. 15 in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island.

“Not only has Hill’s sold contaminated food, but it has dragged its feet in issuing a recall and including all contaminated food within the scope of the recall,” stated the plaintiffs in court documents.

“The lethal nature of Hill’s Specialty Dog Foods has been compounded by Hill’s excessive and unwarranted delay in warning consumers and regulatory agencies of the dangers posed by those products and has caused untold numbers of pet owners significant emotional distress and financial loss.”

Jubinville fed Hill’s Specialty Dog to her dog, Staley, from 2016 until the beginning of October, 2018. In August the dog began having negative symptoms, such as urinating spontaneously, after eating the dog food. By early November, Staley had deteriorated to point where she needed to be euthanized.

Sprengel’s two dogs, Groucho and Wrigley, became ill after eating Hill’s I/D low-fat canned dog food, resulting in numerous trips to the veterinarian, an internal specialist and a veterinary emergency room.

Coppi fed her dog, Scarlett, Hill’s dog foods for approximately five years, until in January the dog became ill eventually had to be put down.

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