U.S. researchers say it appears it was the combination of two chemicals found in pet food recalled this year that caused animals to die.
The University of California-Davis study said four cats given various doses of either melamine or cyanuric acid survived. But when three cats were fed pet food laced with a combination of both chemicals they began to show signs of kidney failure within 12 hours, The Sacramento Bee said Wednesday.
The three cats were found to have the same kind of kidney damage found in animals whose deaths were linked to the pet food recall, while the fourth cat showed normal kidneys.
The newspaper said regulators suspect the chemicals were used by pet food makers to masquerade as a more expensive ingredient.
"The data will make pet food ultimately safer because now we know what to look for,"lead author Birgit Puschner told the newspaper. "We had to make some sacrifices, but I hope a large population of pets will benefit from it."
Copyright 2007 by United Press International
Explore further: Countering pet obesity by rethinking feeding habits