2009-03-03-Jerky Treats-Article by Veterinarian-Australia

US pet owners have been hit with another pet food contamination scare after multiple brands of chicken-jerky treats were associated with acute illness in dogs last month.

This article has been written by ANNE FAWCETT who is a veterinarian in Australia. It is posted with permission.

US pet owners have been hit with another pet food contamination scare after multiple brands of chicken-jerky treats were associated with acute illness in dogs last month.

The AVMA confirmed that all reports of illness were associated with jerky treats manufactured in China. Affected dogs presented with acute episodes of vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy. No deaths were reported at the time of going to press.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively investigating the situation. Thus far analysis of samples for multiple microbiologic and chemical contaminants has failed to isolate the cause of the problem. A single report of one sample found 20ppm of melamine, one of the contaminants that sparked the massive pet food recall earlier this year, however the FDA had been unable to verify the finding. A spokesperson for the FDA said that such a low concentration of melamine would not be expected to cause clinical signs.

Supermarket chain Wal-Mart withdrew a brand of chicken jerky pet treats from sale in July following complaints about the product.

Diplomates in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) have advised veterinarians to question owners about treats given in dogs presenting with gastrointestinal signs and/or polyuria/polydipsia, as contaminated treats lead to a renal tubular and gastrointestinal toxicity.

The ACVIM confirmed that diplomates had been alerted to an unusual number of dogs with a history of lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and anorexia that have consumed chicken jerky within weeks of becoming ill. While physical examination of these dogs was typically unremarkable, biochemistry revealed hypokalaemia and mildly increased liver enzymes. Some dogs were azotaemic. Affected dogs were acidotic. Urinalysis consistently revealed glucosuria and granular casts, suggestive of an acquired Fanconi syndrome.

Treatment consisted of potassium supplementation, bicarbonate supplementation if required, and supportive care. Most dogs recovered within a matter of weeks.

Richard Goldstein, Associate Professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, is currently compiling data on these cases. Illness has not been reported in cats to date.

The AVMA stopped short of advising owners against purchasing Chinese-manufactured treats, cautioning owners to “use their best judgement in this matter and continue to consult www.avma.org

for updates”. A list of affected brands and products is not currently available. As no particular brands have been singled out it is not known whether jerky-type treats available within Australia could be contaminated.

This is not the first time treats have been tainted. In March this year, Eight in One, a Division of United Pet Group, recalled Dingo Chick’n Jerky treats amid concerns that some products may be contaminated with salmonella.

Meanwhile a Connecticut-based manufacturer, Bravo!, has issued a nationwide recall of three poultry products for dogs and cats amid concerns that the products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. According to a statement released by the company, the voluntary recall is the result of detection of the bacteria in samples during routine tests by the FDA. There are no confirmed reports of animal illness associated with the contamination, however manufacturers are also concerned that owners may become infected through handling food or contacting pets or surfaces exposed to the foods.

The Veterinarian (Sydney Magazine Publishers Pty Ltd). All rights reserved.
PO Box 5068 South Turramurra


One response to “2009-03-03-Jerky Treats-Article by Veterinarian-Australia

  1. Bought a bos of pre-packaged servings of Pet Pride”with ocean whitefish & tuna in sauce.
    One house cat and one ferell “visitor” neither of which would eat it. They would lap up the sauce but nibbled at the strips and left it, one threw-up several times.
    This stuff is not very appealing to cats.

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