Hello - I literally just read on a FB group - and you may have seen on the news already - about the cat food recall going on in the UK right now.
Obviously there is no idea yet what is causing all the cats to get ill and die with a condition called Pancytopenia a bleeding disease (280+ affected - and 175 have passed) and it might not actually be the food - but if you give your gerbils or other pets dried cat food - it might be wise to stop for now.
You need to be looking for a certain batch factory number on the product next to the barcode: GB218E5009 or search online for a list of brands that have already been withdrawn from shops including Pets @ Home: AVA, Applaws, Sainsbury and ALDI, LIDL and maybe HomeBargains (?) for starters.
Luckily my cat brand isn't made in that factory - phew - one less thing to worry about, but until we know more, I would stop feeding them. Apparently you can take them back for a full refund which is reassuring.
Some people have multiple small animals and share the same foods between them. Some people also don't like giving live food to their gerbils and cat/dog food is often suggested in its place. I know with fat-tailed gerbils a lot of people, including myself, give cat food as an additional top up food so I know I may well have talked about it on here.
It isn't a tradional food given to gerbils as such, but as more people have different and more exotic pets in their households - there is often a lot of crossover.
Yes, they haven't said anything about other foods yet to not start a panic - but it often works the other way!!!
The factory number is more important than the batch - it is the code next to the barcode - and the GB218E... is the only one to be cautious of if you want to avoid ALL foods made by them.
It is so far looking like a toxin found in one of the ingredients in the listed foods only as they are saying that people who's cats have been checked and diagnosed by a participating vet (not all vets report to the RVC) are all (nearly all) feeding these specific dried foods only. It isn't something used in wet foods as afar as I know - but then they haven't said whether this factory even makes wet food - so that might help? They also said that Applaws foods are made in two places - so check the factory code before throwing it away.
Yes, for me too - I wasn't feeding any of the affected foods - so double phew.
The number of reported cats affected has now doubled - still with around a 70% fatality rate.
Talk is of a toxin still (potentially a heavy metal/natural substance) although people are reporting finding blue pieces in the dried food. All a bit hit and miss and still no info available anywhere on the normal causes of this condition in cats to help people understand it more.
Anyway - needless to say - people are extremely worried still and 20+ (reported) cats dying every day currently. Some vet surgeries still haven't even heard of this issue and aren't treating or reporting the condition. Shocking.
I feel terrible but am SO happy it isn't gerbil food. I can't imagine how these cat owners are feeling right now. This is a bit of a turning point for relying completely on one food for all your animals.
People are also worried that there isn't enough info going out on its affects on other animals - lots of people are throwing it out in the bins or giving it to hedgehogs instead - which (regardless of the wildlife effects) more cats are eating it!!! They ALWAYS steal hedgehog food - so cat owners not feeding the food themselves might be resting easy while their cat is currently eating that exact food.
It is heartbreaking following the cats on the group as they all get tested and blood transfusions etc.
Unbelievable tragedy for these cats - and even if it WAS just this time window at this factory - apparently it can take up to a month for symptoms to appear after last feeding the food - because it is a failure of the bone marrow to produce any new blood, so if they already had quite a lot of the good stuff still circulating, they won't notice it isn't being made anymore until all that has cleared out.
It really is just a time thing - hoping the toxin or whatever it is is cleared out of the system and making new blood cells before the body starts missing out.
And some owners still are only just hearing about it - so this could go on for months yet.