Dogs Dying in Numbers From Suspected Toxic Food

A dog undergoing medical examination.
A dog undergoing a medical examination.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has launched an investigation into claims that pet foods may be toxic resulting in the death of dogs and other animals in some parts of the country. 

According to a feature on NTV aired on July 11, the standards regulator swung into action after pet owners reported cases of dogs dying in large numbers.

A pattern emerged in the post-mortem results provided by veterinary doctors who found a high level of aflatoxin.

"Internal organs show signs of acute aflatoxicosis. There was heavy bleeding in the stomach and intestines. The liver, kidney, lungs and heart were swollen and bleeding," one of the autopsy results reads in part.

A dog undergoing a medical examination.
A dog undergoing a medical examination. There has been a surge in dog deaths in Kenya. July 12, 2020.

A dog breeder based in Kirinyaga identified only as Bernard, lamented over the death of 10 of his dogs, going on to reveal that the dog suddenly turned docile, weak and withdrawn after consuming the feed before dying.

Alex Njoroge, another dog breeder had the same report, adding that post-mortem results from his dogs showed a swollen liver which had turned yellow.

Several other dog owners shared the same view, with Dr David Kibaria, a vet based in Kitengela affirming that he had registered a surge in the number of dogs admitted at his facility.

In just a few weeks, he stated that 20 dogs were brought in, all showing symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning.

One of the pet food brands named in the feature responded to the media house with a statement asserting that their production process adheres to global best practices.

The firm also directly responded to a pet owner, Sylvia Machoka, who had tagged its product as being responsible for her dog's death by pointing out that if any pet food is left exposed in high humidity and damp conditions, aflatoxins could develop.

Watch the report on the mysterious death of dogs below:

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Kenya's production practices and the post-harvest management of food are often neglected, this placing all food consumers, including animals, at the risk of infection with food-borne diseases or poisoning with mycotoxins and production chemicals.

The most common and mycotoxin poisoning both in animals and humans is aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus.

The fungus grows best under hot humid conditions and thrives best on sugary foods such as maize, wheat, oil nuts, legumes and fruits. Maize, a staple food in Kenya, ranks the most common source of aflatoxins.

On November 10 2019, a damning feature aired by NTV  left the nation in shock as investigative journalist, Dennis Okari, laid bare how elements within Parliament were privy to a shocking poisoned maize scandal.

Speaking to Okari, former Member of Parliament for Naivasha Constituency, John Mututho, claimed to have personally witnessed legislators receiving loads of cash from within parliament premises to quash the Report on Food Security Status and the Maize Shortage in the Country that was tabled at the national assembly on April 2009

According to Mututho, the former Kenya Bureau of Standards MD Kioko Mang’eli was traumatised by pressure from powerful forces within the government who were out to muzzle him before he publicized the potentially contaminated maize consignment that was aboard the MV Fonarun Naree in Mombasa

The former KEBS boss had written to the then Managing Director at the National Cereals & Produce Board (NCPB) Gideon Misoi, highlighting the potential hazards that would arise if the general population was exposed to the poisonous maize.

NTV news anchor Dennis Okari
NTV news anchor Dennis Okari
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