Vets Corner-The Trick of Treating

November 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Article by: Dr. Landorf, Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital

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Recently reported illnesses linked to the feeding of jerky treats manufactured in China have reopened the question of what can I give to my dog or cat that I am sure is a safe and reasonable snack.  There are still many questions about what is causing these illnesses, but there is no doubt that a large percentage of the treats given to these pets are made in China and contain chicken, duck, sweet potato, or dried fruit.  Several of these have been recalled as traces of antibiotics have been found in the products, but it is not clear that the antibiotic is the causative agent.

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What is known is that nearly 600 dogs have died since 2007 after having eaten jerky treats made in China.  The treats have been sold under a variety of brand names.  Most illnesses were reported to the Food and Drug Administration by the pet owners, while many others were reported by veterinarians who have seen multiple cases of stomach and intestinal diseases, kidney failure, and a rare kidney disease known as Fanconi syndrome.

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Symptoms of the illness are decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes intestinal bleeding), increased thirst and increased urination.  Many of the symptoms show up within hours of eating the treats.

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The most common scenario is a small breed dog who has consumed a large amount of the treats.  Because the disease etiology is unknown, the FDA is trying to get the word out to pet owners and veterinarians not only to prevent illnesses and deaths, but also to request assistance in gaining more information from owners of pets that have been sickened or have died.  In humans it is the norm to perform autopsies on those that have died from mysterious or unknown cause, while in pets most owners are unlikely to have a post –mortem exam performed for various reasons.

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In the vast majority of cases the symptoms dissipate when the pet stops eating the treats.  This is why it is important to get the word out as continued feeding of the treats can lead to the more serious and life threatening disease.

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At the beginning of 2013 a few of these products were removed from the market after finding residues of 6 drugs at a lab in New York.  The products removed from the market at that time included Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky treats and Chicken Grillers made by Del Monte, and Waggin’ Train and Canyon Ranch dog treats made by Nestle Purina.

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The FDA has been unable to institute a widespread recall on jerky treats made in China as a causative agent has not yet been identified.

You can report complaints about FDA regulated pet food products at

As always, the best thing we can do is to know what is in the food and treats we give to our pets and where it was produced.  That is good advice for ourselves as well.

This article was taken from the Pet Sitters Association Members Newsletter.

Entry filed under: Dogs. Tags: , , , , , .

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