Some devastated pet owners across the country are sounding off on social media, claiming a recalled dog food may have killed their pets.
"I'm heartbroken about it. I still have her bowl out and her bed and I walk in from work and look at her ashes and I just cannot believe that she is gone," said Jennifer Jubinville, of Cranston, Rhode Island.
Jubinville is still mourning the loss of her dog, Staley, who she says was suffering from liver failure and was put down in December.
"I know in my heart that my dog definitely died of the food. There is nothing else it could have been," claimed Jubinville.
She says she fed Staley Hill’s prescription formula daily dog food for the past two years. She is one of the hundreds of pet owners who have taken to social media, outraged that some of Hill's Pet Nutrition products were possibly dangerous to their dogs.
The company issued a voluntary recall of some canned dog food, saying the products could contain potentially toxic levels of vitamin D, which they say can lead to serious health issues in dogs if consumed at very high levels.
For its part, Hill's is waging a massive direct outreach campaign, responding to every post on social media and telling NBC10 Boston: "As pet parents ourselves, we understand the gravity of health issues with our pets... we have extended our call center hours and tripled the number of people on our phones, so we can take time with every pet parent."
Hill's says it learned of the potential for elevated vitamin D levels in its dog food, after receiving a consumer complaint. Its investigation later confirmed the problem stemmed from a supplier error. To prevent this from happening again, Hill's says it will require its supplier to conduct additional quality testing on every batch. In addition, they say they're strengthening their own testing protocol for incoming ingredients.
While it's unknown how many dogs were sickened by the tainted food, Hill's tells NBC10 Boston: "It's too early to make conclusions on the cases."
Jubinville says she waited over an hour on the phone before she was able to speak to a Hill's representative about Staley's death. She has provided the company with the dog's medical information and says they are investigating her claim.
"They can never replace Staley, but all the unnecessary expenses that I didn’t need to pay, which is about $7,000, I would like to be reimbursed for that," said Jubinville.
Hill's website says dogs suffering from elevated levels of vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. If your dog has consumed any of the recalled products and is exhibiting any of those signs you should contact your veterinarian.
A complete list of all recalled items can be found on the Hill's Pet Nutrition website.