Remain vigilant for illness possibly linked to chicken jerky treat consumption

Below is an alert we sent yesterday to approximately 19,000 AVMA members who opted in to receive alerts about animal and public health issues.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association notified the AVMA on Wednesday that several veterinarians in Canada have reported dogs with Fanconi syndrome-like disease that may be associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats manufactured in China. This mirrors the incidents reported in the United States in 2007 and investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The AVMA has not received any recent reports from U.S. veterinarians about potential toxicities from chicken jerky treats, and we cannot determine at this time whether this problem has recurred or is ongoing in the U.S., or if it is isolated to Canada.There have been no recalls of any chicken jerky treat products associated with the Canadian complaints, and we are unaware of the brand names of the products involved.

We advise U.S. veterinarians to remain vigilant and report to the FDA any cases of Fanconi syndrome-like disease that may be associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats. Canadian veterinarians are urged to contact CVMA Member Services to report any suspected cases.

Dogs affected with this syndrome usually have a history of vomiting, lethargy and anorexia. A review by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine of the 2007 cases stated that blood chemistry in many cases revealed hypokalemia and a mild increase in liver enzymes. Blood gas analysis indicated acidosis, and urinalysis consistently showed glucosuria and granular casts. Fanconi screens on urine were positive. At the time, the ACVIM recommended treatment consisting of supportive care, electrolyte supplementation (including liberal potassium supplementation) and blood gas monitoring.

If you’re a member and you’d like to receive alerts like this, you can sign up for newsletters and alerts by going to “My AVMA” and clicking on the “Subscribe to receive veterinary newsletters and updates” link.

23 thoughts on “Remain vigilant for illness possibly linked to chicken jerky treat consumption

  1. Pingback: AVMA Issues Alert for Chicken Jerky Treats from China | The DogSmith

  2. I just read the alert re chicken jerky for dogs on Mercola.com and the AVMA. I have a new dog, a Yorkie, and I purchased dried chicken tenders made in Thailand thinking it would be good for him vs. other treats using additives I knew about the hazards of using dog food made in China. Should I stay away from this product as well?

    • Margurite, we haven’t heard anything about problems with Thailand-origin chicken tenders, so all I can say is if you’re worried about them, don’t feed them. We have no idea if the problem is isolated to Chinese-origin treats or if it’s a regional problem.

  3. Our dog, Charlotte, 6 year old beagle was given Milo’s Chicken Jerky treats for the first time on august 30, 2012. I fed her 1 a day for 4 days. She became ill 3-4 days later and was diagnosed with renal failure. She was hospitalized on IV fluids for 2 days and released to home. She died less than 1 week later. The Vet told me that it was most likely due to the Milo Chicken Jerky and that there was numerous warnings from the FDA on the internet. I did not know about this! I would have never purchased these treats for her. Charlotte died from a preventable cause and it is sickening that the FDA can not do more and fix this problem.

  4. Pingback: More on Chicken Jerky Pet Treat Alert - Food Safety News

  5. @Carolyn Giganti
    Sorry, Carolyn – we don’t have any info on the brands. The pet owners in Ohio implicated Waggin’ Train, but it’s my understanding that there are several brands being implicated by owners and veterinarians. The brands weren’t reported to us.

  6. One of the apparent issues with this product is right in the description:
    “Like all Canyon Creek Ranch products, Chicken Tenders are sterilized through irradiation in accordance with USDA guidelines”

  7. @Spacepawnm
    We agree that there are many things that can make pets sick, but the illness showing up in these pets is very unique – it’s not your average ‘GI upset,’ it’s a kidney condition that’s very uncommon. In fact, that’s how the link was first made – a vet might see one of these cases in their entire career, but there were vets seeing several of them in a one-month period. When they started investigating, the common link was the chicken jerky treats. It’s frustrating that they haven’t found what’s actually causing the problem, but we know they’re trying.

  8. It is also possible that your dog is really sensitive. I have a really sensitive dog turns out she can’t eat milk bones $2500 worth of allergy testing later. But you can’t just say it is because of treat from China that your dog got sick. It is really hard to say what dogs get sick from. They can be out on a walk and grab a chicken bone that somebody tossed out of the car window. That will definately make your dog sick.

  9. Pingback: More on Chicken Jerky Pet Treat Alert

  10. Pingback: Chicken Jerky Pet Treat Alert « eFoodAlert

  11. We need to be viligent about all that we give our pets. In my opinion we give our animal pets to much processed food and cooked food. We can see today many over weight dogs and cats (that’s not normal). As ridiculous as it may sound we almost have an epidemic of animals suffering from obesity ( well maybe not an epidemic), but I’ve seen way to many over weight dogs and cats.

  12. @Judy Judy, I’m so glad to hear that Carmel has recovered. My understanding is that the FDA has tested a number of the treats since this was first reported, and have so far not found the cause of the problem. It’s very frustrating for everyone.

  13. @Dr. Kimberly May
    Dr. May,
    Thank you for responding. I did notify the company that manufactured it, and the company that sold it and the FDA. It seems that small dogs are more affected by the dried chicken from China treats. At this time my dog is well again. I called and emailed the FDA asking for the treat to be tested, but they are not getting back to me. People need to read the fine print “made in China” below the barcode and not give dried chicken treats to their dogs. I have given small milk bone treats for over 50 years to various dogs without problems; and made in the USA.
    Thank you,
    Judy and Carmel(dog)

  14. Pingback: Warning – chicken jerky treats from China | DoggyMom.com

  15. Judy,
    Glad to hear Carmel (I assume that’s your dog’s name) is doing better. Did you or your veterinarian report the problem to the manufacturer and to the FDA? To our knowledge, testing has so far not found a cause for the illnesses. Good luck with her, and I hope you don’t run into any more problems.

  16. My dog ate one Cannon Creek dried chicken treat. She then had severe stomache pain and had to be on the vet’s special food. Finally, after a month of treatment she is better. I wanted to have the treats tested, but the cost is too much. I think there was something in them that made her so sick. Is there any testing that would not cost me too much.
    Judy and Carmel

  17. Pingback: AVMA Issues Alert for Chicken Jerky Treats from China | Body Charge Nutrition

  18. Pingback: DogSmith » AVMA Issues Alert for Chicken Jerky Treats from China

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  20. Pingback: Nasty Treats from China Associated with Severe Illness in Dogs – Again « Poisoned Pets

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