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Pet food recall in response to an increase in cases of feline pancytopenia

Distressing news has recently surfaced of a potential link between feeding certain brands of grain-free dry cat foods & a disease called severe feline pancytopenia. The brands affected are Applaws dry foods, AVA dry foods & a few varieties of hypoallergenic Sainsbury’s dry cat foods. These are not bad foods, & in fact some are foods that are often recommended, but there is clearly something very wrong with these batches. The company that manufactures all of these foods {many pet foods are produced in the same factory these days} has announced a recall of affected bags bearing the production code GB218E5009. For more recall information, please see their company site:

These foods have been sold in shops for several months now, so PLEASE, please check your bags. If you are feeding these foods but have thrown away the bag, just to be on the safe side, stop feeding it anyway.

If your cat is on a wet food diet or you've been feeding them a dry food not listed, then it is unlikely that your cat will be affected, so no action is required at this time, but please do keep up to date as the situation unfolds. If you have been feeding your cat one of the affected foods, please pick it up immediately & out of your cats reach. DO NOT FEED your cats any more of this food. Contact the company for further instructions. A list of affected foods can be found here There is currently very little information available online as this is a new & rapidly evolving situation, but the Royal Veterinary College has put out a press release confirming the increase in cases of severe pancytopenia & suspect they will be releasing further updates as they have them:

What is pancytopenia?

Pancytopenia literally means ‘decrease of all cell types’ in the blood. It is usually due to a disorder of the bone marrow such that it is unable to produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells & platelets to maintain health. Lack of red blood cells results in anaemia, lack of white blood cells results in increased susceptibility to infection, & lack of platelets can result in bleeding. It can be caused by viruses, fungal diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases/drug reactions or toxins. Because this is a new discovery in cats in the UK {it has not yet been shown to be a problem in other countries}, there has not been enough time to confirm the cause. However, the link between all affected cases so far appears to be that all cats were fed a particular type of grain-free or hypoallergenic dry food as listed above. In this case, toxicity is the most likely cause.

Symptoms of pancytopenia include:

Decreased appetite


Rapid or difficulty breathing

Pale gums


Blood in stools or vomit

Weight loss

Attempting to eat odd things like cat litter

Symptoms may be mild & many affected cats will recover once they stop eating the food. Other cats may not show any symptoms at all. In other cases, severe disease can result such as significant anaemia, sepsis or excessive bleeding. Again, because this is a new development, we do not know the numbers of cats affected or what percentage of these cats will go on to develop significant disease, but in those that do develop severe pancytopenia, blood transfusions & intensive care are often required at a veterinary hospital & sadly many cats have already died. At the time of writing, approximately 100 cats are known to have been seriously affected, however the number is likely to grow considerably now that publicity regarding this condition has increased & more people are aware of the situation.

What should you do if your cat has eaten this food?

Most importantly, STOP FEEDING THE FOOD IMMEDIATELY. Removing the underlying cause from their diet is the best thing you can do to prevent illness. It is worth stressing that NOT ALL CATS WHO HAVE EATEN THIS FOOD WILL GET SICK, so please do not panic, but do keep a close eye on them & speak with your vet if you have any concerns including the symptoms listed above. If you feel your cat is unwell after eating the food, a blood test done by your vet can help make a diagnosis. Treatment options are, unfortunately, somewhat limited at the moment as vets do not yet have many answers themselves, but we will be watching the situation closely and offering updated advice as we receive it. If you think your cat is affected, there is a Facebook group set up for owners that is providing up to date information, but PLEASE do not add to the current confusion by spreading misinformation if your cat has not been affected. This is already a very stressful situation for everyone involved. This is all we know at the moment, but we will try to keep you updated as we learn more. We appreciate that anxiety levels will be high but please do try to remain calm. Seek accurate information & treatment. Do not fall prey to the hysteria that will likely develop online.

I will continue to share updates via the TWB platforms Instagram & Facebook, so please do follow me if you haven't already.

Love, light & soft purrs





by The Wingless bird

From the Ancient Greek αἴλουρος . aílouros . meaning “cat.”







Noon 11-2PM Eve 6PM


Dulwich Village SE21

East Dulwich SE22

THE WINGLESS BIRD is a registered professional London pet sitter, based in East Dulwich, providing home visits, as a stress-free alternative to catteries. Feline First Aid certified & DBS checked, with a higher education in feline behaviour. England, United Kingdom.

TWB East Dulwich Pet Sitter
TWB East Dulwich Pet Sitter



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