Winter 2012 Newsletter
Chicken Jerky Treats Associated with Illness in Dogs
By Dr. Christina Wilson and Kimberly Meyerholtz

Chicken JerkyThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a cautionary warning to pet owners regarding concerns that imported chicken jerky products may be associated with illness in dogs. The chicken jerky products in question include those sold as chicken tenders, chicken strips or treats. The clinical signs observed in affected dogs can occur within hours to days after feeding these products and may include anorexia, dehydration, vomiting/diarrhea (sometimes with blood), weakness, polydipsia, and/or polyuria. Serum biochemistries and venous blood gas analyses may reveal elevated BUN or creatinine, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, and/or metabolic acidosis. Urinalysis may indicate an acquired form of Fanconi syndrome as supported by glucosuria (with normoglycemia or hypoglycemia), ketonuria, and proteinuria/aminoaciduria in the affected dog.

The FDA is advising pet owners who feed their dogs chicken jerky products to stop feeding the product if any of the aforementioned clinical signs are observed in their pet. In suspect cases, veterinarians should report illnesses associated with chicken jerky products to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in Indiana by telephone at (313) 393-8189 or access the online FDA pet food complaint portal at http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints. The practitioner can also notify the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory or contact the Indiana Board of Animal Health.

To date, the definitive cause of the reported illnesses has not been determined; therefore, in suspect cases, the veterinarian should retain as much of the suspect pet food product as possible, as well as saving all ante-mortem or post-mortem samples from affected dogs. Any questions regarding sample collection and retention should be directed to the FDA, the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, or the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

References:
  1. Hooper AN and Roberts BK:2011. Fanconi Syndrome in Four Non-Basenji Dogs Exposed to Chicken Jerky Treats. JAAHA 47(6):e178-e186.
  2. http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm280586htm. (18 November 2011). FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products.
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