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Toxic Orijen Cat Food?

By Dr. Andrew Jones

** Correction below **

Good morning  and welcome to Tuesday.

I am battling a cold/feeling sorry for myself because i am sick thing, hence the lack of a newsletter yesterday.

Another Recalled Food?

Well I just wanted to give you all a ‘heads up’ in case this food gets recalled.

There are reports in Australia, and in the U.S. of cats becoming paralyzed, and the only common link was a type of cat food:

Orijen Feline.

I have been a big supporter of this food, and I now evern sell it in my clinic, so I’ll be on the phone tomorrow with the Company.

Here is  the story published in Australia:

Cat deaths linked to Pet Food

Kelly Burke Consumer Affairs Reporter
November 24, 2008

The two Oddy family cats that were paralysed and subsequently euthanised.The two Oddy family cats that were paralysed and subsequently euthanised.

UNEXPLAINED chronic illness and death among Sydney cats has been linked to a gourmet imported pet food withdrawn from stores over the past three weeks.

A cat neurologist, Georgina Child, has put down five cats over the past week and treated or consulted with other vets about more than a dozen others suffering from paralysis.

Dr Child, who is based at the University of Sydney’s veterinary hospital and the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in North Ryde, said the only factor that linked all the cats was a specialist pet food called Orijen, which is imported through a Canadian company, Champion Petfoods.

“There is a highly suspicious link because this is an uncommon expensive food in this country at the moment, and not sold in supermarkets,” Dr Child said. “But all tests that have been done so far haven’t given us an answer.”

First symptoms included wobbliness or weakness in the animal’s hind legs, which could then progress to the front limbs. The condition did not appear to be infectious, Dr Child said, nor typical of a nutritional deficiency.

“Most worrying is that the cats showed no signs [of illness] while on the food,” she said. “It seems to be happening weeks or even months later.”

The marketing manager of Champion Petfoods, Peter Muhlenfeld, confirmed yesterday the cat deaths had been traced back to Orijen’s dry cat food, and the problem appeared to be restricted to Australia.

He said samples sent back by the Australian distributor had a “strange odour”. The company is investigating whether irradiation upon entry into Australia was the source of the contamination.

The Oddy family of Dundas has lost two cats in the past week. “They were the children’s pets; it’s awful,” Sarah Oddy said.

And WHAT should you do?

If you are feeding you cat Orijen Food, STOP for the time being UNTIL they determine the cause of the toxin.

The news article claims that the food smelled ‘Bad’, and was altered in irradiation.



*** There are officially NO reported cases of Orijen Feline causing paralysis in North America, or in any other country – the problem is confined to Australia. ***


P.P.S. You can try my New Supplement- Certified Toxin Free because it is 3rd party tested – Dr Jones’ Ultimate Canine Health Formula for HALF OFF by going here:


It’s Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM


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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Pet health | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Toxic Orijen Cat Food?”

  1. Avatar jody Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Is there any indication as to which Orijen food for cats? The Fish formula or the Chicken formula? Thank you!

  2. Avatar jody Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 12:28 pm


  3. Avatar Bernadette Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I have two Chocolate Lab pups on Orijen and I am concerned. One of our pups has had the same symptoms. It lasted one week starting last week. Brady spent some time in an afterhours vet clinic. They ran Blook analysis and Urine. Brady has a temp 104 and was head shaking at times. They wanted to have us give him muscle relaxants we chose not to and gave him strong 200d tincture of Arnica often throughout the day and night over the week along with apis Mellifica 15 ch many times a day. Brady’s back end was so tight and sore and he could not walk or stand at times looking arthritic and he is under 1. I am happy that there are little syptoms after this treatment we are stymied and wonder if there is a connection. My question after giving all this information is. Do you know if the company Orijen irridates its food before shipping. my family and dogs are organic to the best we can be and dont even use tylenol or any meds in the house except homeopathic. I am aware the United states practice of Irridation. Is your Ultimate Canine product Irridated when it leaves the states in any part of the process? Irridation is dangerous to humans also and a poor form of erradicating pests and molds and germs. Please advise whether your product and Orijen are using this process of Irridation with their product. Please advise if there is any link with my dog to feeding Orijen and what you might offer as a suggestion to understand what may have occured with my pup Brady. His sister is completely fine and eats the same as he. HE is dominant and now back to his normal stance with his sister, he was a wimp and really not feeling well for one week.


  4. Avatar g willie Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Dear “Dr. Andrew”,
    You have stated:
    “There are reports of this happening at a few
    places in the U.S.”, and made a second reference to this……

    I have been following the events in Australia very closely, watching popular pet forums, and searching for any other global reports BUT I HAVE YET TO FIND ANY REPORTS OF SUCH ILLNESS OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA.

    If you’d be so kind, please advise us of where we can also find such “extra-Australia” reports.

    CatWorld forums and Itchmoforums.com have extensive coverage, including “live” chats with company representatives – affected owners included.

    The only difference in the Orijen sold in Australia and that sold in more than 50 other countries is that the Australiab authorities irradiated the food at point of entry. Food from the same batches in other countries has not caused any illness. Australian irradiated dog food has caused illness in 2 cats who simply snacked on it. (I , myself, have used bags from those same batches,)

    (My interest is for my six cats – fed, without any problems for 1 1/2 years now.

    Any other Orijen users need to be alert, but not panicked, IMO.

  5. Avatar g willie Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Here is the secind story out of Sydney:

    Here is the Australian recall notice:

  6. Avatar g willie Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 12:11 am

    We have just been advised by a representative of Champion Petfoods that you have been contacted by one of the Australian veterinarians who is investigating these illnesses and that you have admitted to an error in your report – AND THAT IN FACT, NO OTHER CASES EXIST, EXCEPT THOSE WITHIN AUSTRALIA.

    Your “blog” report has already been picked up by a poster on the UK pet forums site: PetForums.co.uk

    Congratulations, Doc!

  7. Avatar Helen McNicholas Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 1:20 am

    I have been feeding my cat the Orijen dry food. Just this week, he started with some weakness, wobbliness in one of his back legs. Walking with a noticeable limp. Only walks a short distance before he lays down again. Doesn’t seem in pain. Meows when I examine the le, hip etc. Now I am very anxious if indeed this may be due to the Orijen. I had been on the phone to the vet already about his limping with no history of any kind of injury as he is an inside cat only.

  8. Avatar 5CatMom Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 8:25 am


    Hope your kitty will be OK. Where are you located? Outside Australia?

    Also, would you please call Champion and let them know about your kitty? Ask for Clark or Michelle, as they are currently working on this.

    In Alberta, their number is: 780 939-6888

    They’re doing lots of testing and exchanging information with pet owners on two forums, that I know of.

    If you’re not in Australia, I believe they would be interested.

  9. Avatar shibadiva Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Dr. Andrew, could you please provide an update to this blog entry, specifying the cases outside of Australia or correct the blog post if it is wrong?

  10. Avatar 5CatMom Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Champion Pet Food’s info regarding Orijen can be found at:


    Click on the “updates” toward the top left of screen.

  11. Avatar Creature Comfort Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 9:27 am

    PG 1
    On November 20th, 2008 Champion Petfoods announced a VOLUNTARY RECALL of ORIJEN brand cat food sold in Australia.
    The recall is restricted to AUSTRALIA ONLY and was issued in response to reports from the Australian veterinary community of 27
    cats showing neurological symptoms after consuming ORIJEN.
    While there is no definitive link between ORIJEN CAT food and illness in the Australian cats, we have recalled our product from
    Australia as a precautionary measure.
    The following ‘Questions and Answers’ are intended to explain:
    A: No, The recall is for AUSTRALIA ONLY
    ORIJEN was sold in Australia only for a 9 month period of February through October 2008.
    During this time ONLY 6 PALLETS of ORIJEN CAT food actually entered retail distribution in Australia. This equates to
    200 Australian cats fed daily over the 9 month period.
    Of these 200 cats, 27 are reported having the syndrome of which 4 have been unfortunately euthanized and 4 that are
    thankfully recovering.
    During the same nine month period, shipments of ORIJEN CAT food equivalent to feed 85,000 cats were made to 49
    other countries.
    ZERO cases were reported outside of Australia.
    Champion Petfoods has investigated factors that make Australia unique from our other ORIJEN markets, both export and domestic.
    Of the 50 countries to which we supply ORIJEN, Australia is the only country that requires the IRRADIATION TREATMENT
    of ORIJEN cat foods.
    UPDATED, NOVEMBER 26, 2008
    PG 2
    A: Irradiation is a process that passes Cobalt 60 gamma rays through food to reduce microbial hazards, specifically, in this case –
    imported pet foods containing fresh meats.
    A: NO.
    The overwhelming majority of dry cat foods in Australia do not require irradiation. ORIJEN is one of very few that must
    comply with this regulation.
    A: Australia requires irradiation on foods that include fresh meats or that have been cooked at low temperatures.
    Other pet foods that are cooked at high temperatures or are made with chicken meal, turkey meal, fish meal or other
    ingredients that are pre-cooked at high temperatures prior to inclusion in pet foods do not have to be irradiated.
    A: YES. But Irradiation is typically applied to human foods at doses between 5-10kGY.
    ORIJEN in Australia received a minimum level of 50 kGY and records recovered from the Australian irradiation facility
    show that ORIJEN was irradiated to levels reaching 61 kGY. THESE ARE VERY SUBSTANTIAL LEVELS OF IRRADIATION.
    Studies indicate that cats fed dry cat food irradiated at levels between 36 and 47kGY develop the same neurological
    symptoms as seen in the Australian cats.
    A: In recent weeks, Champion Petfoods has conducted extensive testing on ORIJEN Cat sold in Australia. From a combination of
    laboratory test results, scientific papers from reputable journals, and consultation from various nutritional experts and veterinarians
    around the world, we have discovered 2 primary factors:
    Our tests show that irradiation of ORIJEN Cat at 50kGY causes a depletion of vitamin A of up to 77%. The irradiation
    levels applied to ORIJEN in Australia exceeded this amount.
    We tested ORIJEN cat foods at varying levels of irradiation (0 kGY (control), 25kGY and 50kGY). The results show a
    direct and linear relationship between the increase in irradiation dosage and vitamin A depletion. In other words, more
    vitamins were depleted as the level of irradiation increased.
    Literature published by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (2007) shows that depletion of vitamin A from
    irradiated cat food is associated with the same symptoms in cats as are reported in Australia (CASSIDY ET. AL, 2007).
    An excerpt from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ study supports this finding:
    “Both SPF (specific pathogen free) and conventional status cats had been fed to appetite on the same commercial formula ration
    (Gilbertson and Page Ltd., Welwyn Garden City, UK), except that the ration fed to the SPF cats had been irradiated by a
    single-exposure gamma-radiation treatment between 36.3 and 47.3 kGy (Cobalt 60 irradiator; Isotron Ireland, Tullamore,
    Ireland). The irradiated diet was consumed to the same extent as the non-irradiated diet, and affected animals did not lose weight
    until the developing ataxia hindered their access to food… Following supplementation of the irradiated diet with pasteurized
    proprietary tinned cat food in the winter of 2001 and, ultimately, the replacement of the irradiated diet with an equivalent
    pasteurized diet, no further cases occurred”.
    continues on pg. 3
    PG 3
    The report describes an investigation of 8 cases where the disease is associated with the long-term feeding of cats on a
    gamma-irradiated dry food diet. This study is available on the internet from the link below:
    A second major impact of irradiation is the formation and release of free radicals.
    Irradiation does not affect all foods equally. ORIJEN is a nutritionally dense food with much higher levels of long-chain
    fatty acids (DHA, EPA) than conventional pet foods. These fatty acids are susceptible to oxidation following irradiation.
    Bi-products from fatty acid oxidation, mainly free radicals, are released into the body with the potential to cause tissue
    Combined with the loss of antioxidant vitamins (see Vitamin A described above), free radicals are thought to be a major
    contributing factor.
    When irradiation is applied to food, the molecular structure of long chain fatty acids (DHA, EPA) is altered. This causes
    the formation of free radicals that are then released into the body.
    ORIJEN CAT foods contain very high levels of EPA and DHA unsaturated fatty acids and therefore have a much greater
    potential for free radical formation (in response to irradiation) than do conventional dry cat foods.
    Scientific evidence shows that increased oxidative bi-products combined with decreased presence of antioxidant
    vitamins (see above) are consistent with the symptoms shown in Australian cats. The fact that cats in Australia treated
    with vitamin and antioxidant supplementation have shown improvements supports this finding.
    An excerpt from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ study supports this position:
    “Irradiation is known to reduce the vitamin content of food, the effect of which may be indirect, in that inadequate amounts of these
    compounds may be available to counteract the effects of free radicals generated by normal cell metabolism. A previous study found
    that irradiation of a feline diet containing 9.8% fat with a 2- to 5-Mrad dose totally destroyed its vitamin A and ?-carotene content,
    whereas thiamine, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and folic acid were depleted to a lesser extent, and vitamin E concentrations appeared
    to be unaffected by this dose of radiation. The relatively high dietary fat requirement of cats may be significant in this context
    in that irradiation of this fat component could potentially generate higher concentrations of micronutrient-damaging free
    radicals than would be generated on irradiating diets of lower fat content.”
    A: Please return any unused portion of ORIJEN Cat food to the place of purchase for a full refund. If you think that you see any
    symptoms of this syndrome in your cat please contact your veterinary immediately. There is evidence that health can improve with
    vitamin and antioxidant supplementation.
    Changes in your cat’s way of walking – the gait may be wobbly, or your cat’s legs may slip under when going around
    a corner
    Unwilling to jump onto sofa or bed
    Loss of balance and falling off of bench-tops, tables etc
    Fresh food carnivorous diet consisting of fresh meat, occasional fish, occasional vegetables
    Premium dry food if unable to feed the above
    continues from pg. 2
    continues on pg. 4
    Anti-oxidants – Cysteine/Glutathione to protect liver and kidneys – for 6-8 weeks
    Omega fatty acids ie. Fish Oil to act as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
    Vitamin A – oral form for 3 week period – weight of the animal and specific dose is important, please consult with your
    vet or with Champion Petfoods for specific dosages.
    Regular exercise and play
    Access to fresh spring water or reverse osmosis (RO) water
    Anti-oxidants, Omega fatty acid, Vitamins
    Prednisone, Metacam or Antibiotics if needed on veterinarian’s advice
    Exercise, movement and physical therapy are crucial for recovery
    A: YES. All ORIJEN diets sold in Australia and subjected to the same irradiation process.
    A: Champion Petfoods has examined the issue of safety in dogs very closely.
    ORIJEN dog diets have been sold and consumed in Australia over the same 9 months that ORIJEN Cat has been sold,
    only in much greater quantities.
    NO DOGS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED. Dogs and cats are two different species with different nutritional needs and
    metabolic pathways. For example, cats require higher levels of vitamins than dogs (AAFCO 2008), and cats are highly
    sensitive to changes in vitamins or oxidative by-products (such as occur from irradiation).
    There are no reports or scientific studies linking irradiation to health problems in dogs.
    A: NO.
    Veterinarians in Australia have recently reported households where both dogs and cats are present and cases where cats prefer
    ORIJEN dog food over the brand of cat food they receive.
    Of the 27 cases of illness, at least 2 cases involve cats eating ORIJEN dog food.
    As we are unable to control for cats consuming ORIJEN dog food, there is a small but measurable risk of cross-feeding
    in dual pet (dogs and cats) households.
    Implemented as a precautionary measure to prevent cross contamination, Champion Petfoods has elected to stop
    selling ORIJEN dog foods in Australia.
    PG 4
    continues from pg. 3
    Champion Petfoods Ltd. is a family-owned award-winning pet food producer. For over 25 years, our mission
    is to promote the health of dogs and cats worldwide – a mandate in which we are passionately engaged.
    Every member of our family and the vast majority of our staff share their homes with beloved dogs and cats. These relationships
    enrich our lives and empower our spirits. At Champion, making pet food is much more than a business operation – it is our
    calling, our true passion.
    It is with our own pets in mind that we extend our deepest empathy to the Australian families affected by this regrettable
    circumstance. While we will no longer sell any of our pet foods in Australia we remain committed to on-going research into this
    case with the hope that our findings can be used to better inform the international community on the potential effects of
    irradiation on nutrient dense dry cat food.
    1. Cassidy JP, Caulfield C, Jones BR, Worrall S, Conlon L, Palmer AC, Kelly J. Leukoencephalomyelopathy in Specific Pathogen-free Cats. Vet
    Pathology. 44: 912-916. 2007
    2. Lushchak VI. Free Radical Oxidation of Proteins and Its Relationship with Functional State of Organisms. Biochemistry (Moscow), Vol. 72, No. 8:
    809-827. 2007
    3. Lee KH, Yook HS, Lee JW, Park WJ, Kim KS, Byun MW. Quenching Mechanism and Kinetics of Ascorbyl Palmitate for the Reduction of the Gamma
    Irradiation-Induced Oxidation of Oils. JAOCS, Vol. 76, No.8:921-925. 1999.
    4. Mahrour A, Caillet S, Nketsia-Tabiri J, Lacroix M. The Antioxidant Effect of Natural Substances on Lipids During Irradiation of Chicken Legs.
    JAOCS, Vol. 80, no. 7: 679-684. 2003.
    5. Fujioka K, Shibamoto T. Formation of Genotoxic Dicarbonyl Compounds in Dietary Oils upon Oxidation. Lipids, Vol. 39, no. 5: 481-486. 2004.
    6. Leeson S, Marcotte M. Irradiation of poultry feed II. Effect on nutrient composition. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 49: 120-131. 1993.
    7. Health Canada Government Website. Alteration of Chemical, Physical and Microbiological Characteristics. Section (d): i. Odour. Updated: 2003.
    9503-90 Avenue,
    Morinville, Alberta
    T8R 1K7
    phone. 780 939.6888
    email. customerservice@championpetfoods.com
    PG 5
    Reinhard Muhlenfeld
    President & Founder
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.
    Peter Muhlenfeld
    Sales and Marketing
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.
    Henry Van de Vliert
    Production Manager
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.
    Jeff Johnston
    Procurement and
    Nutrition Coordinator
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.
    Gordon Demaniuk
    Quality Assurance
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.

  12. Avatar Creature Comfort Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 9:29 am

    PG 1
    Champion Petfoods Ltd. has voluntarily recalled ORIJEN cat from Australia as a precautionary measure until
    definitive testing is complete and the cause of the cat deaths is verified.
    The recall is restricted to AUSTRALIA ONLY and was issued in response to reports from the Australian veterinary
    community of a number of cats showing neurological symptoms after reportedly consuming ORIJEN.
    We have sent a Champion Petfoods representative to Australia to investigate the problem first hand and conduct
    face-to-face consultations with Australian veterinarians.
    With unlimited scope, we have fully engaged to thoroughly and completely investigate every possibility linked to
    the problems in Australia.
    A total of 6 pallets of ORIJEN cat food pet food were sold through Australian pet specialty retailers between
    February and October of 2008.
    This shipment represents less than ¼ of 1 percent (0.25%) of our total production of ORIJEN cat foods during this
    nine month period.
    Irradiation is unique to Australia and ORIJEN is not irradiated in any other countries or markets.
    While human foods are typically irradiated between 5 and 10 kGY, ORIJEN cat foods were irradiated at levels
    exceeding 60 kGY.
    Irradiation is known to reduce the vitamin content of dry cat food. Tests conducted in Canadian laboratories have
    shown that ORIJEN foods irradiated at 50 kGY resulted in an immediate decrease of Vitamin A content exceeding 75%.
    Champion Petfoods Ltd, was unaware of the irradiation process for imported cat foods with fresh ingredients
    Research findings of a 2007 study published by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists
    http://www.vetpathology.org/misc/terms.shtml determined that the feeding of a gamma-irradiated diet of 35-45 kGY
    was associated with the development of the same conditions as are reported in cats in Australia.
    No equivalent cases are reported outside of Australia.
    UPDATED, NOVEMBER 28, 2008
    PG 2
    ORIJEN is high in long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA) which are particularly susceptible to breakdown
    under the irradiation process, which in turn causes the release of the free radicals thought to cause the symptoms
    seen in the Australian cats.
    At government-certified laboratories in Canada, Australia and the USA, we have conducted complete and
    comprehensive nutritional assays of our foods including those actually sold in Australia as well as the
    corresponding control samples retained in our factory.
    At Canadian laboratories, we have conducted complete and comprehensive toxicology tests for the presence of
    all heavy metals (including but not limited to arsenic, lead and all forms of mercury), all forms of PCBs, alfatoxins,
    vomitoxins, ochratoxins, t-2 toxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, enterobacteriacae, salmonella and melamine.
    At the University of Michigan’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, we have conducted
    comprehensive chemical screenings of our foods sold in Australia as well as the corresponding control samples
    retained in our factory for 173 toxins including but not limited to polycyclic aromatics and benzenes, pesticides,
    disinfectants and antioxidants and industrial pollutants.
    Conducted tests on oxidative bi-product levels (a measure of the production of free radicals from irradiated
    samples) on ORIJEN cat foods irradiated at varying levels.
    We are returning to Australia for further consultations with Australian vets.
    Conducting controlled tests of ORIJEN packaging at various and high levels of irradiation to test for the possible
    release of toxins from packaging materials.
    Establishing a research fund with the objective of adding to the current body of research on the link between
    irradiation and disease in cats.
    Reach out to the Australian families affected by this regretable circumstance.
    UPDATED, NOVEMBER 28, 2008
    PG 3
    Champion Petfoods is a boutique producer of world-class pet foods from fresh regional ingredients. Unlike
    multinational pet food makers, we focus on ingredients fresh from our region including eggs, chicken, turkey and
    a variety of wild-caught fish that are passed as fit for human consumption.
    Union Regulation 1774 that mandates all meat ingredients in our foods are produced from animals passed as fit
    for human consumption.
    We sell only what we produce in our own facilities – none of our foods are co-packed, and all are produced in our
    very own award-winning factory here in Canada.
    Our foods meet or exceed every known international regulation or pet food standard, including European Union.
    We are a family-owned Canadian pet food producer with a 25 year record of food safety that is committed to
    producing ‘world-class pet foods from fresh regional ingredients’.
    Our foods are developed upon the notion that companion dogs and cats are deserving of the same care and
    respect as human companions.
    We sell only what we produce in our own facilities – none of our foods are co-packed, and all are produced in our
    very own award-winning factory here in Canada.
    Our foods meet or exceed every known international regulation or pet food standard, including European Union
    Regulation 1774 that mandates all meat ingredients in our foods be produced from animals passed as fit for
    human consumption.
    We remain committed to on-going research into this case with the hope that our findings can be used to better
    inform the international community on the potential effects of irradiation on nutrient dense dry cat food.
    UPDATED, NOVEMBER 28, 2008
    9503-90 Avenue,
    Morinville, Alberta
    T8R 1K7
    phone. 780 939.6888
    email. customerservice@championpetfoods.com
    Peter Muhlenfeld
    Sales and Marketing
    Champion Petfoods Ltd.

  13. Avatar Set the record straight Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Champion Petfoods has admitted a mistake in their press release and was going to correct it asap, but it still remains incorrect.

    “Champion Petfoods Ltd, was unaware of the irradiation process for imported cat foods with fresh ingredients”.

    This statement above by Champion is incorrect in that they have admitted knowing their foods would be irradiated in Australia. Michelle Granger from Champion has admitted this on the CatWorld forum. We are still waiting for a corrected statement from them.

  14. Avatar johnny Says:
    December 29th, 2008 at 7:21 am

    C2pDRT Thanks for good post

  15. Avatar Anita Bergs Says:
    January 23rd, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    My daughter’s 2 year old cat developed total paralysis of the back legs approx 18 months ago. It was fed on a diet of mainly dry food recommended & purchased from our local vet.The cat was immediately whisked off to the nearest open vet (as it was a weekend & afterhours). The cat was given a barrage of test to find the cause. Numerous blood tests, scans, lumbar punctures. All this caused much stress, cost literally thousands of dollars and to make matters worse the vet could not give a reason for the sudden paralysis.
    Upon hearing about the contaminated vet supply cat food I can only believe that this was the mystery cause of the cats illness.
    Would my daughter have any recourse..? Ie is there any way for some compensation for the huge amount of cost involved..?
    Many Thanks. Anita

  16. Avatar Jesse Shaffer Says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Anita, this would only apply to your daughter’s cat if you live in Australia and fed Orijen.

    Also, if the previous is true, your request for compensation should be aimed at the tyrants in the Australian government that parade around like they’re scientists and legislated a private health decision. The Australian government is responsible for the deaths of these poor animals and if I were an Australian that lost one of my cats to such bureaucratic nonsense, I would be marching on Canberra to burn down the Parliament building.

    It seems like politicians cause just as many deaths in Australia as they do here in the USA… always coming up with grand schemes for “our own good.”

  17. Avatar Carol Novack Says:
    January 31st, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I live in New York. For the past 2 months or so, my 3 cats have been eating Orijen along with other dry foods, including Core and Before Grains. I read about the irradiation problem relative to Australia, and could otherwise see no reason to stop feeding the cats Orijen, in fact, giving them Orijen as their sole dry food. I just bought 2 huge bags and I’m now nervous. One of the cats, Tequila, is wobbly on his hind legs, but he’s always had a tendency in that respect. About 5-6 years ago, his hind legs collapsed totally and nobody knew the cause. Finally, a vet at Animal Medical Center correctly diagnosed a rare viral disease as the cause.

    Wobbly hind legs are not necessarily related to toxic ingredients in cat food.

  18. Avatar Adrian Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Here is a RECENT story from a personal friend who’s cat is having reactions to Orijen. This is a REAL problem!

    Dear friends, Beware of Orijen by Champion Pet Food

    This is a personal story, one of those I never wanted to write. I am besides myself but I have to tell you for the sake of all the other cats out there that could be helped. Apparently it can affect dogs too (if the same food is eaten).

    Last night I noticed one of my cats, Maia, was slightly wobbly and her back legs were kind of giving out on her. She was not limping, just not steady on her gait. Maia is a almost 7 y/o, very healthy, active indoor/outdoor cat. My husband also noticed it. I naturally worried and watched her. She also seemed unsure, a bit dazed I would say; walking slowly, and stopping every few steps. I realized then that I had seen something in the way she walked two days prior, but it was so subtle I didn’t pay attention.

    I watched her for a while, then got online to read up on that. After over 2 hrs of reading all kinds of horrible things that could cause that, I stumbled upon a forum from Australia that indicated that “if your cat has back legs that give out on her (and much worse than that, indicating paralysis, etc) you need to check out this other forum ABOUT A CAT FOOD THAT HAS BEEN CAUSING THAT”.

    I immediately jumped up and ran into the pantry, as I recalled having bought a small sample of that very dry food months prior, and had just started feeding it again to Maia (my other cats eat different foods now, one is overweight, the other has a digestive problem). I had been giving her small portions of it (which may be the only life saver for her at this point) as my cats eat all kinds of raw meats and wet food etc.
    The fact that it had not affected my cats before might be that I didn’t feed it to them often, they ate tiny portions over the course of a few months. But just in the last few days I fed Maia more of it….

    Can I tell you that by this point I was FREAKED OUT and totally besides myself? I read very quickly as much a I could about this, and I enclose a link to this forum. It is unfortunately 58 pages long, so I have not gone thru all the info. I also enclose here a recall by the company (Champion Pet Food) about this food Orijen. They are saying that the recall is only for Australia, but that is BS! I will contact them today, but I wanted to send this out to you all to spread the word.

    The cat food is either irradiated or has something in it that causes cats (and dogs) to have their back legs to give out, bladder incontinence, eventually leading to complete paralysis for some animals, and death! Seems the specialists are saying it is irreversible.

    Please, please let your friends know if your animals are not affected. Stop feeding this food immediately if you are. Tell your vet too. I will also go to Western Pet Supplies where I purchased the food to let them know. I am writing this on 2/10/09. The recall was in Nov 08, so I do not know what happened since. I haven’t had a chance to read up on everything yet.

    Maia slept during the night and this morning she ate well (apparently losing weight and not eating is another symptom). She is purring, but she is still wobbly and in a daze, and I do not know if she will recover. I will call the vet today to discuss treatment if any. Feel free to contact me via email or ph 971 506-6789

  19. Avatar Vittoria Palazzi Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Hi all,

    I am the person that wrote the email above, under comment #18. The date I wrote the email is listed as 2/10/09 which is tomorrow, but let me assure you it was a slip of my mind as I was in a very upset state.

    I wrote the email to some friends on 2/7/09 (Sat am, 2 days ago) and it has spread like wildfire over the internet.

    The company has contacted me today and they are not happy at all about what I wrote. They are saying what I have written is factually incorrect and are asking me for a retraction.

    What I will say is that I am still convinced that it is the food that affected her, but I have no proof, and who knows if I will have any.

    The update on Maia: the vet took blood tests today to rule out other possible causes of her symptoms, and I will know tomorrow and will post here. She seems the same, maybe slightly better.

    On another note, I would add that we had fed the same food to our other cat a few months ago (I purchased the food at Western Pet Supplies in Portland OR on Sept 20, 2008. I still have the receipt) and she also had displayed a very mild version of the same symptoms, mostly wobbliness of back legs. We stopped feeding the food as she didn’t care for it and she is totally normal now. It is a weird coincidence for me. (I resumed feeding Orijen dry to Maia just last week as I still had the bag). I am hoping the company will ask for the rest of the bag so it can be tested and have already suggested that to them.

    I am writing this only because I want to help other pets out there, if in fact there is something in the Orijen food that affects some cats. I am not after money or want litigation w/the company, which I know is a very good one.
    I know friends that have fed that food for years and are completely happy w/it. So, I urge you to make your own choices. I am not saying not to feed your animals Orijen food, I am saying “This is what happened to me, draw your own conclusions”.

    Will post tomorrow after I get test results. You can email me at vittoriap@gmail.com

  20. Avatar Vittoria Palazzi Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Sorry if I did not post earlier but I lost track of this post as I have been to so many places online….And have been busy caring for Maia.
    Blood test results were inconclusive, and nothing of notice showed up. As far as my vet told me, I know these tests need to be interpreted. I know Champion Foods contacted my vet as she told me so.
    Maia has gotten slowly better. She is not wobbling when she walks unless she tries to walk fast, but she’s still not jumping up much at all. She is very skittish and scared and turns her head in all different directions very fast when she hears a noise. She is better in some ways but the recovery seems very slow and she seems to have setbacks some days.
    I have called various vets and now I am looking into vitamins and antioxidants.

    I have gotten in touch through this post w/some of you from Australia and we have discovered that the symptoms are SO similar. When Maia shakes her head she falls/tumbles over to the right, and her left back leg seems to be the one affected the most, almost like it’s stiff or tight. I am still 100% sure it was the food that has affected her and I am looking into independent testing of the food at this time. Please email me privately if you want more information. My email is at the bottom of comment #19.

  21. Avatar The Cats Mother Says:
    March 10th, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Champion contacted your vet?

    And why, may I ask, would Champion be contacting your vet if they weren’t worried? If they didn’t have a little bit of doubt surrounding their certainty that it couldn’t possibly be their food?

    And I hope your vet applied standard patient-in-confidence and privacy principles in her response?

    And politely told them that any information they required regarding the health of your cat must be referred directly to you?

    Vittoria the left back leg thing is exactly similar to what most of the Australian cats have shown in the early stages going into and the latter stages coming out of this illness (the lucky ones that are coming/have come out of it). It is so with my own cat.

    We have already exchanged emails and I will be in touch again shortly.

  22. Avatar Sara Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Lol. I never heard of any cats outside of Australia getting sick or dying from Orijen.

  23. Avatar Valerie Says:
    June 19th, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Get an independent toxicologist or chemical analyst to do a thorough work up on the food and in particular the VIT A content and the Potassium levels.
    If you have fed some that was irradiated and returned from Australia then that’s what I would be looking into.
    The exact same thing happened in SE Queensland in 2007 with Nutro dried food and still we have had no satisfaction whatsoever from Nutro.
    Go girl go!

  24. Avatar Public Informer Says:
    August 3rd, 2009 at 9:21 am

    In the public interest
    Orijen irradiation

    I have been following this issue closely for several months

    Perhaps you remember this see Page 3

    And you might have read this post on Itchmo forum:
    Post # 225 on the link below

    and this one:
    post # 479 Point 1 on the link below

    Now you might like to read these documents to compare:

    And these supplementary documents – note that this one mentions what happened to the third shipment :

    And if you are interested in the procedures and many communications involved over several months to obtain this information:

    How to use filefactory:
    You will need to have pop-up blocker disabled (or disable it when prompted)
    Either click on link or paste the link into your browser bar
    Scroll down a quarter page to the two buttons Free Download and Premium Download
    Click on Free Download button on the left
    Message appears “your download link will appear in 30 seconds”
    After the 30 second countdown –
    Click on message “Click here to begin your download”

    These documents have now been placed in the public domain, in the public interest.
    Cross link, cross post, cross-question the responsible parties, use as you will, they belong to everyone.

  25. Avatar Marina Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    We live in the Netherlands. Our 8 cats (4 cornish rexes, 2 persians and 2 housecats) are eating Orijen for a little more than 1,5 year now — the youngest is 2, the oldest almost 17 years.
    We never, ever have had health problems with them. Every 6 months our cats get a check up with a blood- and urine test.
    They all look great, are active and playful (yes, also the 2 seniors) and healthy.

  26. Avatar Jon Tyson Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I see that this blog has had no post for a while. But, unfortunately too late, after our feline friend died young and suddenly about a week ago, I did some online research into Origen recalls and found this blog. We purchased the food some time ago and sealed it into smaller bags. The seller had told us he had trouble getting it and had ordered it from…cannot remember. Recently our cat had a bit of wobble in the back legs and a lot of non-hairball related gagging. He suddenly got very bad leg-wise and shortly after had a seizure and died before we could get him to an all-night vet.

    We live in NY State and the food could have been from Austrailia or not. I should have been more alert and will be contacting the seller and the company as well and offer to send some of the remaining food to Origen to look into it.

    Best and my sympathy to all in similar circumstances.

  27. Avatar Jon Tyson Says:
    December 7th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Update -The retailer told me (and it’s possible) that they only buy from their distributor and that all the food came direct from Canada. No reply from the company about testing my sample.

  28. Avatar Jon Tyson Says:
    May 14th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    It took a while what with getting a sample of the kibble through Canadian customs and getting it analyzed but the company tested it (with a geiger counter and sent me pictures) and confirmed that it was not the food. From other research it was probably feline heart disease.

    Best wishes -Jon

  29. Avatar Gloria Goodman Says:
    June 3rd, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I had purchased Orijen dog food for my 4 dogs based upon information I researched that it was a premium food and safe for my pets. Now, I am coming across this disturbing information regarding prior recalls. I live in the U.S., but should I be worried about the safety of this food for my canine companions?

  30. Avatar Walker Says:
    May 8th, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    However, these days there’s a great debate on the topic of organic food for pets, such as foods that
    contain chickens, hormone-free lamb, and insecticide-free crops.
    It is essential that pets are to be treated fairly and be loved unconditionally.

    Taurine is regarded to have amino acids, which most cats are unable to produce.


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM