Vet clinics post warning about dog treats

Barb Sweet
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Veterinarians are keeping track of any adverse reactions dogs and cats may have to chicken jerky products made in China.

Dr. Erin Wilson stands next to an advisory posted in the Torbay Road veterinary clinic. The notice warns pet owners about possible dangers of certain jerky treats. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

The request to log such cases came at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), said Dr. Erin Wilson of the Torbay Road Animal Hospital.

The clinic has posted a notice about jerky products, warning pet owners of concerns. Wilson told the The Telegram she hasn’t had a case yet of adverse health effects.

Symptoms to watch for include severe diarrhea, bloody discharge, and increased urination or water consumption after the treats are eaten, all of which would be red flags. The main concern is that some jerky treats could potentially cause Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disease, but FDA tests have not confirmed a cause.

“They have been trying to do a bunch of tests on these treats, but they haven’t been able to determine a cause of the illness,” Wilson said.

“If veterinarians get a case that they believe has been caused by these jerky treats, we should contact the Canadian Veterinary Association.”

Wilson recommends that if pet owners are going to feed such treats to their pets, they should watch for warning signs.

“I guess I would be cautious until the root of the cause of the illness can be identified. … Veterinarians will have to report these incidents. Clients can be cautious. I would recommend avoiding for now until we have a clearer picture.”

The FDA has cautioned in the past that it has received a number of complaints about the treats.

“Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities,” the FDA said in one of its cautionary notices.

The FDA notice continued: “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 treats may also be sold as chicken tenders or strips.

One company that manufactures them — Celebrity Products Inc. —  has posted a safety guarantee on its website.

“There is not now, nor has there ever been a recall of a CHEWMASTERS pet treat. The owners of CHEWMASTERS visit the manufacturing factory on an annual basis and can attest that this facility in China has higher standards than most, if not all, the facilities they’ve visited in North America,” the company stated.

“To date, after extensive chemical and microbial testing, the FDA has not been able to identify a contaminant or ingredient as the cause of any illness, or a direct link to chicken jerky.”

Organizations: FDA, U.S. Food, Torbay Road Animal Hospital The Telegram Canadian Veterinary Association Products

Geographic location: China, North America

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Recent comments

  • ami joon
    July 21, 2016 - 19:55

    It is a well known fact that facilities in china clean up their act for inspection time and then as soon as inspectors have left he building they go back to business as usual. We see this over and over again. There seems to be no conscience with the outcomes of cutting corners and poisoning animals, children etc. I will not buy anything from china period. Oh and by the way Celebrity, makers of Chewmasters have changed their labeling from saying made in China to made in Mexico. I put money on it that this is a straight up lie because if you go on their website they go on and on about a swiss company that is doing there quality testing. I say if it is made in China (even if they misrepresent by labeling made in Mexico, with no mention of this anywhere on their website - bald face lie obviously) DO NOT BUY IT. In china Money beats out honesty and ethics, and just plain humanity hands down.

  • Kate
    January 21, 2015 - 12:28

    We just went through both our dogs getting sick off these treats. What are the odds of having both dogs get this severley sick after ingejesting these "treats". We know it was the treats because it was the only thing our dogs had in common when it came to consumption. 24 hours after eating the recommended amount for their weights, my one dog Emma, stopped eating, was vomitting and began having really bad diarrhea. The next day our 50 lb dog Tucker began having extremely horrible diarrhea. His got to the point of blood in his stool. Two vet bills later they are both on medication. Emma is starting to recover thankfully and has her appetite back. After figuring out what we beleived to be the cause, we googled reviews on these strips.... low and behold there are MANY cases of dogs becoming severly ill and even death after injesting this product. Petco took it upon themselves to stop carrying this product due to consumer concern. If only Walmart and Costco would do the same. I think they can afford not to sell this line and still do just fine with their business. If they won't pull it, there should at the very least be a warning on the shelf next to it. Not everyone can be so lucky to cover extensive vet costs and catch this in time. If anyone has lost their beloved to this stupid product, my deepest condolences. I even had a local tv station do a story on what happened to our pups just so we could bring a little more light to the situation and warn people. Now they are afraid to run the story incase they get sued... heartbreaking.

  • Erin Rose
    January 27, 2014 - 14:09

    This has been a problem long before now!! My dog had those same symptoms about 2 years ago and we did not know what was causing it. I took my dog to the vet and she was checked over and the vet at the time assumed it was a stomach upset but deep down I knew it had to be something else because stomach upset don't cause bloody diarrhea. The only thing I could figure it to be was the chicken jerky treats that I purchased at costco so I stopped them and to this day the symptoms never returned. When I read the reports on the FDA website I knew then that I made the right choice in stopping the treats.

  • Vanessa Kelly
    January 27, 2014 - 12:05

    This was on Market Place over a year ago. I stopped giving my pupper anything that had "GLYCERIN" into it. Vegetable glycerin is a natural ingredient put into treats to keep them moist, however, most companies have the glycerin imported from China. In which case, TO MAKE MONEY, the glycerin is made up of old DIESEL FUEL, YES DIESEL FUEL!! If the package doesn't tell you what the glycerin is made up of, don't buy it. It has not been checked by any food agencies and apparently doesn't have to be because it is not for human consumption. I was feeding my dog a new treat, that he just loved I might add. Very shortly, after a few weeks, I noticed him consuming huge amount of water at one time. I remarked on it quite often. The brand name of that treat was "Waggin Tails". And to my horror, that was the top treat named with a warning to stay away from and a list of countless others. I immediately cleaned out my treat shelf and rid it of ANYTHING with the ingredient "glycerin". I was taking NO chances!!.. I was absolutely shocked when I ended up keeping, I think, two, yes two, packages. I think I threw out about 6 - 8 packages. I know it was around 50 to 60 dollars worth, into the garbage. It was around Christmas time, and there were quite a few bags that we not even opened. Again.....I was taking NO chances. This episode told of dogs that had died of Kidney failure. Before their deaths, their owners noticed increases in their water intake. All along, they were slowly killing their own beloved pets without even being aware of it. Please people......DO NOT buy treats with glycerin as one of the ingredients. At the very least, with so much publicity as this has gotten, you will find some treats with it clearly marked on the front of the bag, "Made with 100% vegetable glycerin". Or "Vegetable glycerin made in our own countries". I hope this helps some pet owners and some poor defenseless pouches. Take my advise: I take no chances now. If it says Glycerin at all, I LEAVE IT ON THE SHELF!!

    • Mark
      January 27, 2014 - 22:41

      My dog is having similar syptoms. I am bringing her to the vet in the morning. She has reddish brown and some blood in her loose stool. is it the treats?