Ask Dr. Dolamore: Possible poison contamination of pet treats
April 23, 2012
Despite repeated warnings issued by the FDA, veterinarians are reporting new cases of dogs developing symptoms of kidney failure (Fanconi syndrome) similar to dogs who have been poisoned by Chinese-made chicken jerky treats, but this time they are being poisoned with a whole new class of treats: sweet potato treats imported from China.
The brands veterinarians say are associated with the new cases of unexplained acute kidney failure are: Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (Nestle-Purina), Beefeaters Sweet Potato Treats (16 types of yam-related treats), Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified in the report) and Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality (four types of Veggie Life brands)
It is important to remember that although the type of treat most often mentioned in the press is described as a jerky treat, the treats may also be called by a myriad of other names such as stix, chips, poppers, tenders, drumettes, kabobs, strips, fries, lollipops, twists, wraps, bars, tops and discs.
The report goes on to say that there is speculation the problems may also extend to pork treats and cat treats imported from China.
The FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
The FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike
should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
Most affected dogs have recovered over time with good supportive care.
We strongly recommend that you check the source of all cat or dog treats you may have purchased, and do not give them to your pet if they were made in China. It would be best to avoid any pet food or treat products made in China, and probably a good idea to avoid all dried animal parts, because they are not heated to a temperature that will kill pathogenic bacteria.
Dr. Dolamore is a Summit County veterinarian and real estate broker at Omni Real Estate. Please email your pet questions or topics you would like information on to: firstname.lastname@example.org