Melamine poisoning caused the deaths of hundreds of pets in 2007, due to its use as a protein extender in pet food. Although this crisis was a significant one, it was not the first of its kind. In fact, the potential for melamine toxicity in dogs has been known since the 1940s. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of melamine, in case pet food adulteration occurs again.
The symptoms of melamine poisoning may at first appear innocuous. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a list of frequently asked questions about the recall that suggested that pet owners watch their pets who had eaten the recalled foods for symptoms of including lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
Many of the animals affected by the melamine-contaminated foods developed acute kidney failure, which is characterized by increased fluid intake, increased urine output, blood in the urine, and a hunched posture, among other symptoms. All of the animals with kidney failure were found to have both melamine and cyanuric acid in their system. These two compounds created crystals that caused blockages in the urine-transporting tubes found within the kidneys. These blockages prevented blood from reaching the kidneys, which resulted in kidney failure and, frequently, the death of the affected animal.
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