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Discovery of euthanasia drug prompts dog food recall

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CHICAGO -- An Illinois pet food company is voluntarily recalling one of its products after a powerful sedative found in one of the batches sickened five dogs and killed another.

The company confirmed that pentobarbital, a barbiturate used for anesthesia and euthanasia, was in one of the lots of its Hunk of Beef product. The sedative can cause drowsiness, dizziness, loss of balance and nausea.

The recalled 12-ounce cans were sold in 15 states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin.

The food was manufactured between June 6 and 13.

As a precaution, Evanger's is recalling Hunk of Beef products manufactured in the same week. The lot numbers start with 1816E03HB; 1816E04HB; 1816E06HB; 1816E07HB and 1816E13HB and expire in June 2020.

The dogs that were sickened ate from the 1816E06HB13 lot. This is the first recall the company has issued in the 82 years it has been in business.

"We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers," a company statement read.

Evanger's is fully funding the veterinarian bills of the dogs that got sick. It also made a donation to a local shelter in honor of Talula the pug, who died after eating the contaminated batch.

"Evanger’s will continue its unwavering commitment to pet nutrition and health, and our family greatly values the incredible partnership and continued trust with pet owners in the U.S. and across the world."

According to the company's website, Hunk of Beef is its top selling product. Pets consume more than 1 million cans of Hunk of Beef every year.