A pet food recall is widening after the Food and Drug Administration announced that more than two dozen dogs died after eating Sportmix brand dry kibble.
The statement issued on Monday said that the suspect is aflatoxin, a byproduct of a corn mold Aspergillus flavus, which at high levels can kill pets.
The expanded recall includes corn-based kibble manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. at one of its Oklahoma factories.
Pet food brands listed under the Sportmix, Pro Pac, Splash, Nunn and Sportstrail labels are affected by the recall, the FDA said, adding that over 70 unconfirmed deaths were reported in connection to pets eating these foods.
Pets that have been poisoned by aflatoxin-tainted kibble may be sluggish, experience gastrointestinal issues, or develop jaundice, which in canines exhibits as yellowish tint to the eyes or gums.
However, the FDA warned, some dogs may exhibit no symptoms even as their livers are damaged.
"Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products listed below and consult their veterinarian, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness," the FDA wrote, encouraging consumers who purchased the products to dispose of them safely and clean all food bowls.
"The pet owner should remove the food and make sure no other animals have access to the recalled product."
Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. began its recall on December 30 and expanded it this week to include all foods containing corn made at a specific factory, so now dozens of types of dog and cat foods over hundreds of lot numbers are subject to a recall, with a full list of products with corresponding images of their packaging appearing on the company's website.
The FDA said it is working with Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington state governments on this investigation.