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Probe goes on in dog deaths

LAWRENCEVILLE - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says at least 76 dogs nationwide may have died from eating contaminated pet food, and another 21 have become sick.

The FDA said the reports are unconfirmed and its investigation continues, but the deaths could be linked to products from Diamond Pet Foods.

The Meta, Mo.-based company has recalled certain dog food made at its Gaston, S.C., plant. The corn-based products contained a toxin that, once ingested, caused severe internal bleeding and death.

How many dogs may have fallen ill or died remains uncertain. Although the recall began Dec. 20, Cornell University veterinarians say some kennels and consumers in the United States and elsewhere remain unaware of the tainted food and may be unknowingly feeding it to dogs.

About two-thirds of dogs that eat the contaminated food and show symptoms die, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Cornell has treated 17 poisoned dogs.

Cornell recently developed a new test to verify which dogs have been sickened by the food.

At least one dog in Gwinnett may have died from the toxin in the food. Denise Newlon - a Gwinnett Daily Post employee - bought the product from Honey Do Hardware in Dacula and fed it to her dog. Her Australian Shepherd, Panda, died Dec. 3.

Diamond Pet Foods has pledged to pay damages to pet owners.

For more information call 1-866-214-6945 or visit www.diamondpet.com