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Petag admits KMR kitten formula is bad

by Wildlife Rehabilitator
October 5, 2009 Petag finally publicly admits on their company website that their KMR kitten formula is bad and should not be used. This is after months of complaints and many dead kittens. They finally release "KMR Powder Update."
As per Petag, "Recently, a limited number of KMR powder users have experienced product producing an off odor. Normally, the product exhibits a faint "milky" smell. It has been determined that some packaged KMR powder may have been exposed to excessive heat outside the manufacturing process. 

Do not use the product if it has an off odor. Please contact PetAg Technical Services at 800-323-0877 and provide all of the information printed on the bottom of the can.  For any bagged product, you can find the information on the sticker near the UPC on the back of the bag. This will provide production and tracking information for further analysis.  Replacement KMR product will be sent, following contact with Technical Services. Liquid KMR products have exhibited no impact from heat stress.  

Rest assured, PetAg uses standards of the highest quality when producing KMR. We are currently exploring different manufacturing processes for KMR powder to eliminate this sensitivity to heat." "

When we contacted the company just last week they stated that only a few people had complained about the product. Not so according to kitten rescuers across the country. Here are but a few quotes:

"I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that I have spoken to them about a million times over the last few months. I have gotten more bad then good I swear!!"

"SMELL YOUR KMR!!! It should always smell really really sweet. Not oily or
slightly rancid. In the last 3 months I have purchased more than 12 containers
of powdered KMR that were rancid. And one 5lb bag that was bad. I went to
PETCO to replace one and opened every container on the shelf and they were ALL
rancid. I had the manager smell them all before leaving the store. PetAg said
the trucks sometimes sit in the heat in the desert during transport and the
warmth turns the formula. Duh, refrigerated trucks maybe??? This is
unacceptable and I have switched to Just Born. I asked them just how many
babies had to get sick or die from rancid formula before they did something
about it. John Q Public that finds a kittens and decides to save it won't know
that it is not supposed to smell this way. Even my friends who are bottlers
didn't notice it. I am absolutely paranoid about
this now. SMELL YOUR KMR before you use it."

“We just found out (the hard way) that a good amount of KMR has apparently been exposed to too hot of temperatures and has gone bad. The formula does not expire until 2011 but is not safe to feed to kittens. The company is not planning on a recall as far as I know and the only way to tell which formula has gone bad is by smelling it. It has a very distinctive “chemically” smell. The company will replace any bad cans with a new one if you encounter this. Please let any other organizations, foster homes, etc… that may be bottle feeding kittens know about this. We have had four kittens die from the formula and don’t want to see the number increase!”

Currently the FDA is investigating Petag's Esbilac puppy milk, report filed September 15, 2009. Contact Frank Lee with the FDA if you've had a problem with the formula. Frank.Lee [at] Petag has recommended Esbilac to wildlife rehabiliators for years even going to their conferences and placing ads in their magazines. There used to be a photo of a squirrel and opossum on the label until recently. On their own website they currently show photos of endangered Giant Pandas, Red Pandas, manatees, raccoons all drinking Esbilac. October 5 they released news that Esbilac is now all of a sudden not made for wildlife. They suggest their 33/40 product which should have the exact same amount of fat, protein yet costs more.

Baby squirrels, opossums, raccoons, bears and other wildlife have been getting sick and dying from Esbilac in the last few months. Independent lab tests show that the actual formula contains much less fat, protein, calories than the minimums promised on the label. The label states minimums are protein 33%, fat 40% when it actually contains 24% protein, 31% fat. It also contains high amount of fiber 17.6% when it should have zero % as per the label. And, it contains the toxic heavy metal copper.
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by Raccoon Lover
I feed my raccoons KMR. Petag recommends KMR for raccoon kits. I lost all 24 babies! Now I know why. This happened during the summer. They wait until the winter to say it's bad? I bet all the bad KMR is already sold and they're just covering their butts. I called and called. They kept telling me I was crazy. I will never use any of their products again. We can try Just Born, Fox Valley or make it ourselves from scratch.
by Honest Abe
I contacted Petag in the beginning of the raccoon season with problems with KMR. They told me to send my formula back to them to test. One, they didn't give me any good formula in exchange. Two, they didn't refund my money. Three, they didn't give me the results of their tests. I now realize that they just wanted to get the bad formula out of the hands of people who would report them. They now have the evidence which I bet they destroyed. And they still made money off of the bad product that killed babies. This company has no ethics or morals. They sit on information which could have prevented the deaths of thousands of babies.
by Mr. Biz
Notice how they bury that news deep in the news section. Generally most recent news is on top. You can see it's the most recent news by the asp number which is 14. It's 3/4 of the way down the page. They also didn't release news about it themselves. They didn't tell the pet stores to pull the items. They only care about money, not animals.
by Honesty
Petag has since deleted the information about KMR powder being bad. They no longer care that kittens are dying from it? Irresponsible! They also deleted the news about Esbilac not being made for wildlife. If you click on "wildlife," they now carry no products for wildlife.
by item
Copies of the deleted items are here.
by Kitty Kat
Rocky Mountain Siamese Rescue wroteon October 7, 2009 at 7:40am

There has been some buzz on some of the rescue lists I belong to about kitten death/illness after ingesting KMR (the powdered kind). The company who manufactures and sells the product, Pet Ag was contacted by the individuals that had issues. Below are the responses they received. Just wanted to pass this along so anyone out there who uses KMR powder knows to pay attention to the odor of the product and to NOT use anything that smells the least bit sour.

Rocky Mountain Siamese Rescue

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Darlene Frudakis
Date: Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 9:50 AM
Subject: KMR powder
To: jerimi [at]

Dear Jerimi,
Below is an email sent to Denise Sinico at Westfield Animal Homeless Cat Project on 9/29 regarding this topic from our CEO George Gill. She was also sent 6 oz KMR powder replacement product that she reported in an email this weekend to me that she opened and stated was fine.

There is absolutely no melamine in our product. Our product is completely natural and made in the USA. Every batch produced is thoroughly tested prior to release into the market. If you should experience any cans of off odor product please contact our technical Service hotline and we will replace the product. A souring may occur if power product is exposed to extreme heat conditions. It seems to have happened with certain cans/bags of the powder in distribution over the summer months. We are gathering more data. Denise specifically mentions receiving cans from batch # E1139K 08:46 1619 BEST BY 04/2011. The complaints on KMR product were less than 1 % of what was used and sold. As a matter of fact we have also received positive remarks. We are gathering more information on this. We have a new production process that was trialed this weekend that should reduce the impact of severe heat stress. The samples of this production were sent in for testing and
results should be know within 2 weeks. We are actively working on solving this issue. We are contacting our distributors today to see if there is any product in their possession that has been exposed to excessive heat. We will ask them to send it back to us for further testing.

Thanks so very much for inquiring about this. Your suggestions as a valued customer of KMR are important as well. We care deeply about kittens /cats and want to do all possible to quickly resolve this. KMR has been saving the lives of millions of kittens worldwide. We would never put product out into the market that would have the potential of harming kittens. If you would like to pass along this email to others, please feel free to do so.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Thank you,

From: George Gill [mailto:ggill@petag. com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:53 PM
To: 'denisesinico@'
Cc: 'Debbie Ward'; 'judi polanowski'; 'jheidker@petag. com'; 'Darlene Frudakis'
Subject: KMR

Dear Ms. Sinico:
Debbie Ward informed me that you called today with other concerns about KMR. Perhaps there is something I did not cover. On two occasions this afternoon I called your phone and left brief messages.
Based on tracking information it appears that FedEx delivered to your door the samples PetAg sent to you on September 23rd. It is hoped you find this KMR powder fully meets the needs of your kittens. We are completely confident that it will, assuming the directions on the can are followed. Again, it was very disappointing to learn about the loss of kittens you experienced.
As previously indicated there have been instances, particularly over this summer, of KMR users opening a new, unopened KMR powder container and finding the powder to have an off odor. It is very likely that KMR powder with an off odor has been exposed to excessive heat somewhere in the distribution channel or from other sources.

If you ever encounter KMR that has an off odor, please do not feed it. We will replace it. As you know, KMR powder should have a faint `milky' smell. We have reviewed all the production data for product manufactured this year. Initial tests results from these productions completely meet our specifications. These tests also confirm that there has been no contamination of the KMR powder.

All of our ingredients are from U.S. sources. None-the-less, we routinely random test for melamine in our milk powders. Those test results show absolutely no presence of melamine. The FDA also tested our products and did not report any melamine contamination.

In some KMR product we have been able to re-create conditions that resulted in off odor product. In other KMR product we have not. This is done by heating the KMR powder to 45°C for two weeks. Unfortunately, this has not been a reliable method to be able to predict rancidity, or off odor product.
Liquid KMR products have exhibited no impact from heat stress. This reflects the retort method of commercial sterilization used to produce liquid KMR products.

While PetAg has used the current manufacturing process successfully for some time, we are currently exploring different manufacturing processes for KMR powder to eliminate this sensitivity to heat. This effort is expected to be completed before year end. It is part of an ongoing product enhancement program. We certainly will want to tell you about it when this work is completed.

Thanks for your continued support of KMR. If there are other questions I have not covered, even though I will be in the field Thursday and Friday, please contact me.


George K. Gill
Chairman & C.E.O.
PetAg, Inc.
255 Keyes Ave.
Hampshire, IL 60140
847-683-2288 Ext. 2216
Fax: 847-683-2343
by KMR killed me

I represent an animal rescue in Westfield, Mass. called the Westfield Homeless Cat Project. It had come to our attention after many many illnesses and fatalities, that there was a problem with the KMR formula. All of our foster parents, including myself, were losing litter after litter with a very low survival rate. As you know, the odds are already stacked against us in neo natal work, but the losses were excessive and with all the same symptoms. I ran across your "blog" and wanted to contact you concerning this. Our shelter is trying to get Fox News to investigate this as PetAg does not seem to want to recall any of the batches (expiration 5/2011 as far as we know). This is a terrible matter and the only answer we got was the "heat" problem. I had asked them about contamination of Melamine, as they procure their vitamin powder from China. I have not received an answer on that question.

If you have any other information pertinent to this matter or if you wish to contact our rescue, please do so at 413-568-6964. The Director is Denise Sinico. Do you know of any other shelters, fosters, etc. with this issue? We need all the contact we can get.

Thanks for your anticipated help and our sincere sympathy for those little lives lost needlessly. >>
by Dina Bernichio
One of my friends fosters all the newborn kitties for an Animal Shelter she volunteers at She lost 10 little babies in a matter of 2 weeks.She has fostered kittens for the last 5 years and never had this problem.The kittens got very sick and died.I received an email from DuPage Animal Welfare explaining they had the same problem and the problem was the KMR. I called PET AG myself in September 2009.I was told by them that when the KMR left their facility there was nothing wrong with it.All you have to do is smell it.Basically I was told this was not important to them and there was nothing they were going to do about it.I contacted the FDA,the TV STATIONS and the NEWSPAPERS in my area which is ILLINOIS.I could not get a response from any of them.This is really a sad situation that this was ignored for so long and so many little innocent babies were literally poisioned by this garbage.Thanks to the people that were able to get this resolved.I HOPE ALL the people that take care of Animals will NEVER use this product again.I REALLY HOPE WE CAN GET THIS INFORMATION TO EVERYONE.THIS PRODUCT IS SOLD NATIONWIDE.
by Kitten Lover
The bad formula is still out there killing kittens. Petag is very unethical for refusing to recall their killer crap. Darlene the COO should be forced to drink her own formula.
by Mary
Oh my gosh... I got here by searching google to try to find out if the "milk" in PetAg KMR was cow's milk or what animal it comes from in case I could find directions on how to make a similar product myself. My cat is pregnant and I bought some of the liquid just in case. I had some of the powder a few years ago because one of my cats was underweight and I thought it might help. It smelled gross when I mixed it and looked yellow. The skinny cat wouldn't drink it, and neither would the other cat. I kept the can for a while just in case I found a kitten or baby animal but eventually threw it away. I'm glad I never had to use it, and that my cats wouldn't drink it! If anyone knows a recipe, I've heard about the canned milk, water, egg yolk, and karo syrup one. One vet told me it's a good recipe, one told me it's bad because canned milk is cow's milk. Does anyone know? Would powdered goat's milk + the egg yolk and syrup work? I'm afraid to use PetAg KMR now. I know the liquid is probably safe but Jeez! I bought expensive powder that would have killed my cats if they would have drank it.
by Renae
In May 2010 I reported to PetAg that the kitten formula I had bought was rancid. They apologized and explained it was an old process, yadda yadda yadda. They said they didn't know which stores had been sent the "old" formula. I gave them my local feed store's number and they promised to contact them immediately and tell them to pull the formula. PetAg never called the store. I also requested they send a large can of KMR for the kitten rescue I work with. They did send an extra can, but only a small one. Since it was the only formula available locally, I raised the kitten on a home made formula. She had quite sensibly refused the KMR.

Fast forward to May 2012. I was called in to rescue two new born abandoned feral kittens. I bought a brand of powdered milk that was recommended by the vet at PetSmart. I noticed right away that it mixed up much better than the KMR had and smelled better than the KMR (the non rancid KMR). However when I turned the kittens over to their new owner, they bought KMR, again because it was available locally. I get the kittens back weekly, as they have one day a week or more they cannot feed them. The kittens are 4 weeks old now, and a new can of KMR 2nd step for weaning kittens was provided.

The babies refused anything to do with it and cried in hunger. Unfortunately I had run out of basic formula. I wasn't able to bring myself to taste the mix myself, so I offered it to my cat who loves anything milk flavored (the kitten that KMR almost killed two years before). I can give this cat a teaspoon of milk in a quart of water and she loves it. However, she tried to bury the KMR 2nd step. None of my cats are the least bit picky, so when they decline food, I take it seriously. PetAg lied to me two years ago, and are still lying it seems. Other rescuers I know will not use any PetAg products for the same reason. I'm sitting here listening to hungry kittens cry while I wait for the store to open.
by Andy (Squirrel Dad) (asakers [at]
Hello everyone. This Easter weekend has been terribly tragic for me. KMR is directly responsible for the deaths of my two baby squirrels that I was rehabilitating. My squirrels were healthy 4 week old babies when I had discovered them after they were abandoned by their mother. This was not my first go-around with squirrel parenting. My first squirrel is just over a year old and is very healthy (he lives with me to this day and roams outside daily). He was rescued as an orphan at approximately 7 weeks old.

Due to my first squirrel having his eyesight, as well as having the ability to eat solid foods, he did not use KMR when I was raising him from a baby. In fact, he rejected the formula when I attempted to feed it to him. However, he thrived on pedialyte, and still drinks it to this day from time-to-time. At the time of him rejecting the formula, I thought nothing of it, but perhaps he knew that it would be poison to ingest.

I initially read on forums when I first got him to use KMR formula as a dietary supplement to replace the mother's natural milk. I believe that if he would have been on the KMR formula, he would not be here today.

Unfortunately at 4 weeks of age, the two baby squirrels that just passed could not open their eyes nor eat solid foods. I initially used pedialyte as a means to rehydrate them, and started a feeding schedule of pedialyte and KMR every 4 hours. I would feed the squirrels pedialyte from a bottle and KMR from an eyedropper. One feeding rotation would be pedialyte, and the next would be KMR.

After the feeding sessions with KMR, my squirrels would act lethargic. Their health rapidly decreased and they deceased within one week of using the formula. The formula was not expired nor smelled rancid. It came in a can form, and was refrigerated after opening. Cans were replaced after 3 days of use with fresh cans...

Upon giving the squirrels CPR after death, KMR fluid came out of both squirrels' lungs. The formula is too viscous and caused for my babies to aspirate which led to their lungs being filled with fluid which they could not push out. Both squirrels have accidentally choked on the pedialyte and were able to push excess fluid out their little noses with a sneeze. However, the KMR was a death sentence for my poor baby squirrels.

As it pains me to write about my experience, if my tragedy can help you save your pet by not using KMR, I am willing to painfully write about this to spare a potential life in the future.

Perhaps the formula can be cut down to be less thick? If someone can provide me commentary and feedback, that would be appreciated. I am curious if there are anyone here who had success stories with KMR, or if there are others with tragic stories such as mine.

Please feel free to e-mail me as well.

- Andy (Squirrel Dad)
by Leah Perry
PetAg "fixed" the spoiling issue by adding vegetable oil as a preservative...but now no matter how much you mix it, it chunks up and presents a choking hazard. Just a heads up.
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