PORTLAND, Ore. -- It all started with one can of Evanger's Hunk of Beef dog food. On New Year's Eve five dogs from the same home in Southwest Washington got sick.
"Within 15 minutes they were acting drunk. They were falling. Their limbs weren't working," said Nikki Mael.
One of Mael's dogs, a pug named Talula, died. Tests found Pentobarbitol, a drug used to kill animals, in the dog food.
“This is a scary situation for anybody,” said Chelsea Sher with Evanger’s.
Sher and her brother, Brett Sher, both help run the family owned Illinois-based company. They said it could have happened to any other pet food company.
“We believe that a vet injected this Pentobarbitol into a cow that was unbeknownst to a farmer, that didn't tell the beef processor and in turn we received this product,” said Brett Sher.
The company has cut ties with their supplier and say now they want to help develop more regulations to prevent future animal deaths.
“Our name is on the can. We're responsible and it could have been prevented. This whole situation could have been prevented with more regulation,” said Chelsea Sher.
The voluntary recall affects the Hunk of Beef product delivered to Washington State. That includes more than 7,600 cans. But to be safe, the company expanded the recall to cans in 15 other states. The recall does not affect any of the company’s other products.
“Out of an abundance of caution […] we're recalling an extended amount of product,” said Brett Sher.
The company is testing and checking every single Hunk of Beef product before it ships. The Shers said they're trying to be transparent and proactive. They've posted information and will post updates on social media and on their website.
Veterinarians stress watching for any warning signs with your pets.
“Even vague signs could potentially be something serious,” said Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, a Veterinary Critical Care Specialist at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland.
Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, lethargic behavior, gums that look pale, are all warning signs to watch out for.
“Those indicate potentially life threatening emergencies that need to be addressed right away,” said Mohammad-Zadeh.
She said the bottom line is that anything abnormal deserves at least a call to the vet.
(© 2017 KGW)