What You Need to Know
Hills, a leading provider of Prescription Diets and the maker of Science Diet, has issued a voluntary recall on some lot numbers of its food, both prescription and over the counter. We want to make sure you have the information you need to keep your pet safe.
How Do I Know If My Dog’s Food Is Part of the Recall?
Only canned dog food is impacted. The most up to date, accurate information regarding lot numbers recalled and what they’re doing to make sure this can’t happen in the future is available on the Hills website. The Recall & Withdrawal List isn’t organized by diet type. For example, the i/d lots aren’t listed together—so you need to scan the whole list for all the lot numbers that should be checked for your dog’s diet. The list is divided into two sections, and the distinction between them is significant:
- Appendix A: Voluntary Recall (Pose a Danger).
These lots should not be fed. They contain levels of Vitamin D that could harm your pet.
- Appendix B: Voluntary Withdrawal (Doesn’t meet Hills standards).
These lots do not pose a danger. At the same time, they don’t meet Hills standards. It is our understanding that Hills is withdrawing those out of an abundance of caution and their commitment to quality. They are happy to take them back and we encourage you to exchange them.
What’s Wrong with the Recalled Food?
The recall stems from a problem with their supplier of the Vitamin D used in their canned dog food. It doesn’t impact any other food types. Dogs need to get Vitamin D through the food they eat. But if they receive levels that are above the normal range, over time, it can build up in their system and reach toxic levels. Symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and drooling.
How Do I Know If My Dog is Safe? There are many rumors circulating that inflate the number of pets impacted. The number of pets that have exhibited symptoms of toxicity is extremely low. That’s because it takes considerable amounts of Vitamin D built up to reach toxic levels. Of course, the low number doesn’t matter if it is your dog that is sick. If your pet was impacted by this problem, they would appear ill. If you feed Hills and your pet showing the symptoms listed, please check the lot numbers you have on hand against the list released by Hills and call us (or an emergency vet) to evaluate their risk.
My Dog Isn’t Ill. What Now?
If your pet isn’t ill with the symptoms outlined, removing any recalled food is still important. So please check the lot numbers on the bottom of the can against the numbers listed. If you find any recalled lots, mark them as recalled (so no one else mistakenly uses them) and return them. You can do the same for withdrawn lots listed in Appendix B.
How are Clients Being Notified? On Monday night, Hills informed us that impacted lot numbers had been shipped to us for three of the product SKUs we sell in house. We immediately ran reports on who had purchased those SKUs and have placed phone calls and sent emails to notify clients of the issue. This doesn’t mean that the food each of those clients has at home is from a bad lot. Lot numbers aren’t tracked for food in standard veterinary software. It does mean that anyone contacted should check any food they have on hand to see if it is from a lot being recalled.
Those of you who may have purchased Hills diets through our Home Delivery Pharmacy, Vets First Choice, should have received notification from them that included the lot numbers impacted and directions for how to replace or return impacted food. We’re happy to help you with this process in house as well.
Some of you may have purchased prescription diets through other veterinarians or feed an impacted over the counter food, like Science Diet. We want to be sure everyone has access to this information. So we’re including the basics here and we’ve posted the recall information to our social media. We encourage you to share the information with pet lovers in your life and widely on social media.
A Final Word about Safety While you’re sharing this information, be aware that there will be misinformation others are sharing. Situations like this are tricky. People are scared. We understand, because our pets eat Hills diets too. Social media and the rumor mill spread misinformation much more quickly than fact. Many of your pets count on the diets Hills makes and we want to make sure we’ve giving you as accurate a risk assessment as we can so you can make the best decision for your pets. We wouldn't sell products from a manufacturer we didn't trust to take our patients' safety as seriously as we do.
Please let us know if you have any questions, need to exchange or return any impacted food or have feedback about this process. And thank you for trusting us with your pet’s healthcare.
Practice Manager Kennebunk Veterinary Hospital