Battery Mouth

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A pet owner whose kitten nearly died after eating food linked to an urgent recall has spoken of her horror amid concerns about an outbreak of a deadly illness.

Vicky Winchester’s four-month old pet Delilah was left needing life-saving treatment after biscuits made by Applaws.

The food company this week have seen several products recalled due to concerns about a rising number of cases of pancytopenia – a condition that can be fatal in cats.

Vicky, from Swansea, first noticed little Delilah was out of sorts when the kitten stopped eating and started sleeping more.

The symptoms stayed mild until suddenly escalating when Delilah collapsed and Vicky found blood in her urine.

“She seemed fine within herself apart from being slightly out of character,” Vicky, who owns three cats altogether.

“She was not crying for her food in the mornings which she normally does and she spent a whole day sleeping, which for a kitten is very odd.

“I also found a small amount of blood in her urine and then one day she just collapsed so we took her straight to the vets and things escalated from there.”

On June 4 Vicky and her husband were told that Delilah was going to die. Distraught, they were eager to discover what had caused their perfectly healthy and mainly symptom-free cat to become so gravely ill.

Between June 4 and June 11 Delilah spent a week at Vale Referrals – a specialist-led veterinary referral centre in Dursley – at a cost of £4,500.

Different tests were done to try to ascertain what had caused the kitten’s rapid decline but the results all came back negative, with specialists suspecting that she had ingested some sort of toxin or poison.

Delilah was able to survive thanks to medication and a change in her diet.

“The vets saved her life,” said Vicky. “They stopped the food I was giving her and within two or three days she was given antibiotics and other drugs to try to save her.

“Within a few days her white blood cells, red blood cells, and her platelets started to go back up and her condition began to improve.

“Last Friday we decided that we would bring her home so we are just monitoring her very closely now – she is having blood tests three times a week.”

A concern among many cat owners across the UK is that their pets may have developed pancytopenia as a result of eating certain types of cat food.

The recent recall of products – announced on Tuesday – covers pet food sold in retailers including Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home as well as items available from Amazon, which is where Vicky purchased her cat biscuits from.

More than 20 products in total have been recalled across the UK by food manufacturer Fold Hill.

The company’s general manager, Ben Mankertz, said: “We are alarmed and deeply saddened to learn of reports from the Food and Veterinary Authorities of some health issues in cats.

“As cat owners ourselves we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this situation is for families and, although diet has not been confirmed as the cause, we would prefer to act now to ensure the absolute safety of cats.

“As one of the leading pet food manufacturers in the UK ensuring your pet’s safety is our priority and therefore we have chosen to recall the ranges of cat food that we manufacture for the brands who have been identified.

“We feel this is the safest course of action until an exact cause of the issue has been found.”