Dog illness detected in at 600 dogs due to chicken jerky treats from China

Dave Masko's picture

A new deadly, mysterious illness has been detected in at least 600 dogs in the U.S., stated federal health officials.

Three brands of chicken jerky dog treats are said to be responsible for - a “mysterious illness in at least 600 dogs in the U.S.” - producing a sometimes deadly canine illness, though the extent of its spread is unknown, state federal health officials in numerous media reports March 13. In turn, an MSNBC TV report Tuesday statedthat “federal health officials have turned to consumers to help investigating problems possibly tied to chicken jerky pet treats made in China." Also, a log of complaints collected from pet owners and veterinarians contains references to at least “three popular brands of jerky treats that may be associated with kidney failure and other serious ailments,” according to internal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents obtained by msnbc.com. In turn, the FDA notes how the extent of the spread of this mystery dog illness is unknown.

Pet products sited and precautions

Also, of 22 “Priority 1” cases listed by the FDA late last year, 13 cited “Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, both produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., the records show," reported msnbc.com.

The symptoms of illness as noted at the FDA from the tainted products include; decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination.

Those with concerns or questions should take their dogs to a veterinarian, states the FDA’s website; while noting if blood tests show increased urea nitrogen and creatinine levels it may well be a sign of kidney failure. If urine tests show increased glucose it may be a signal of other illness, stated the FDA.

Also, the FDA shares views on pet illnesses. For instance, it states that owners should look for “any sudden or unusual changes in the behavior pattern of your dog.” In turn, experts say this will help you to understand that it is ill and requires medical attention.

Also, does your dog seem to be quiet, listless and depressed? Is your dog off its food? Does your dog seem disoriented? Has it been losing its balance while getting up or while walking? Has your dog been displaying any unwarranted or uncharacteristic aggression? The FDA states that if the answer is yes to any one of these, it could indicate any kind of physical, hormonal, and neurological disorder, and it is time to go visit the vet.

Dog treats a continuing problem

Moreover, msnbc.com noted how “another three listed Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. The rest listed single brands or no brand.”

Since 2007, FDA scientists have analyzed jerky treats for evidence of dangerous toxins, including heavy metals, melamine, melamine analogs and diethylene glycol, chemicals used in plastics and resins.

According to the FDA and the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN), experts are still actively working on finding an answer to this mystery illness in dogs. Also, the FDA in their warning does note the lack of definitive answers but also states that the treats should remain as treats and not be used as a meal replacement for pets.

FDA sets up priority cases to protect pets

The mystery illness in at least 600 dogs points to the FDA’s methods for identifying safety and pet product recalls.

For instance, msnbc.com noted March 13 that “Priority 1 cases are those in which the animal is aged 11 or younger and medical records that document illness are available, an FDA spokeswoman said. In many cases, samples of the suspect treats also are collected. The report, obtained through a public records request, is the first agency indication of any brands linked to illnesses that have climbed since the FDA warned pet owners about jerky treats in November. That was the FDA's third caution about the pet products since 2007.”

In turn, the owner of a healthy dog named “Sam” said during a March 13 Huliq interview that he would “never give Sam anything but ‘natural’ treats;” while point to a new trend with pet owners to either buy local organic pet treats or to make the treats themselves.

Manufactures say treats safe

The MSNBC TV report also noted that “Nestle Purina and Del Monte officials said their treats are safe and FDA regulators said repeated tests have shown no absolute tie to any brand or manufacturer.”

“No specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined,” FDA officials said in a statement featured on the msnbc.com website; while also pointing to an “internal FDA report” that prompted this investigation in the dog illness.

This internal report - overseen by the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak and Response Evaluation, or CORE, group – “is one of several ongoing assignments in which FDA regulators are seeking jerky treat samples and medical records of dogs that may have developed kidney failure, liver disease or Fanconi syndrome, which can lead to serious illness and death. The recent complaints were filed from October through December by people in cities from California to New York, but the agency will continue to accept them,” added the msnbc.com report.

“We still invite owners and veterinarians to submit complaints and samples,” said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. “The more information we have, the more likely we can find a link.”

MSNBC stated “the move comes as the FDA is under growing pressure from consumers and lawmakers to address rising numbers of illnesses blamed on the China-made treats.”

For instance, before the warning was issued in November, “the agency had logged 70 reports of illnesses tied to the treats last year. Since then, more than 530 additional complaints of illnesses and some deaths have been filed,” officials said.

Dogs that’ve died due to the treats

“Bella, a 2-year-old pug, died last fall after her owner, Robin Pierre, said she ate Waggin' Trail chicken jerky treats,” reported MSNBC during a March 13 TV report; while also noting how “consumers who say their dogs were sickened or killed have launched at least three petitions demanding recalls of jerky pet treats made in China, including one begun in December that has more than 3,400 signatures from the U.S. and around the world.”

In turn, people have come out against pet products being made in China.

Pet owners worry about China pet treats

“At the slightest doubt, these products should have been recalled, especially knowing there was a link or at the very least a caution/warning label put on the packaging warning the consumers,” said Robin Pierre, a co-founder of “Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China.”

Pierre, 49, of Pine Bush, N.Y., believes Waggin’ Train chicken jerky treats were responsible for the sudden death last fall of her previously health 2-year-old pug, Bella, who developed kidney failure, added the msnbc.com report.

“The last week of her life was nothing but misery and pain, separated from her family, she died all alone, in a cage, despite the fact that she had a family who loved her,” Pierre wrote in an email to msnbc.com. “She meant the world to me and my family.”

Dogs dying due to suspected treats

Moreover, a 14-year-old family dog named Ginger “sparked one of three petitions after she developed kidney failure possibly tied to chicken jerky pet treats. Her owner, Susan Rhodes, 51, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., wants the treats pulled from the market.”

More than 375 people have signed a petition launched last week by Susan Rhodes, 51, of Port St. Lucie, Fla. She believes her 14-year-old dog, Ginger, may have developed life-threatening kidney failure after eating chicken jerky treats. She was stunned to hear that consumer complaints alone can’t force the FDA - or a company - to recall potentially tainted products.

“That is just unreal. I am not happy with that,” Rhodes said.

For their part, FDA officials said the companies are free to enact a voluntary recall at any time.

Since 2007, MSNBC noted how “FDA scientists have analyzed jerky treats for evidence of dangerous toxins, including heavy metals, melamine, melamine analogs and diethylene glycol, chemicals used in plastics and resins.”

Nestle says its pet treats safe

So far, they’ve found nothing convincing, a point emphasized by Keith Schopp, director of communications for Nestle Purina. He noted that FDA officials also suggest that illnesses may be a result of causes other than eating jerky treats.”

At the same time, Schoop told MSNBC TV that: “Our chicken jerky treats are safe to feed as directed. The safety of our products - and the pets who consume them - are our top priorities.”

The company has a comprehensive food safety program in place, he said, including at manufacturing plants in China.

In turn, Pierre - who lost her dog - said she has little faith in pet food manufacturers - or in the FDA.

“Actions speak louder than words and there has been no action from them up until now,” Pierre said. “Waggin’ Train has hid behind the technicality that the FDA cannot find the link and the FDA has let them.”

Consumers can report illnesses to the FDA’s pet food complaint site at http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm

Image source of a Dog named “Sam” enjoying a walk about in the snow along the Oregon coast March 13. Sam’s owner said he never gives his dog treats that are not organic and locally produced. Photo by Dave Masko

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
To reply #18. In your reply, please go to the FDA website, and read the warning. This is NOT a hoax.

Submitted by Trish (not verified) on
Do a Google search for “American Made Pet Treats”. There are many other choices. Yes, the treats from China are always the least expensive, but at what real cost? We are losing our loved ones. If you feel you need to provide chicken treats, please buy American Made. It’s worth the extra cost. My neighbor was one of the first to lose their 5 month old puppy to the treats from China (about 3 years ago) and I don’t think I’ll ever completely get over it. Just heartbreaking.

Submitted by Barbara (not verified) on
Don't be fooled into thinking that a product such as dog treats, dog food is Made in America just because it says so on the package. That's the oldest trick in the deception book. There is no Country of Origin Law that will prove that it is made in America, because the American companies are not required to put Made in China on the package!!! Read C.O.O.P. AND for those of you that think their pet food is safe because you've read the list of ingredients, ALL the vitamins added come from China.!!! There are very few brands that make their own supplements, so please do your research, or make your own food.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Puppy Snaks offers Dehydrated Chicken that has no preservatives added to any of its dog treats. They are made from 100% chicken and shipped within 48 hours. You can visit them at puppysnaks dot com

Submitted by Barbara (not verified) on
Apologies, I meant for you to look up the C.O.O.L.: Country Of Origin Label. At a meat website it states which meat needs to be labeled, (if sold at retail, muscle cut, ground product), BUT IS EXEMPT from COOL labeling if it is: A restaurant ( foodservices - schools), OR The meat product has undergone specific processing resulting in a change of character (e.g. cooking, curing, smoking or restructuring) or has been combined with at least one other covered commodity or other substantive food component. Translation: Pet food, pet treats, cooked products, hot dogs, products in which the meat is an ingredient (e.g., spaghetti sauce with meat), etc., etc. Read and weep. If you go to the Wikipedia site, it explains how and why this law is used, and the devious ways it can be misused. You will see a label titled: An American Company with the American Flag, with Made in China underneath in teeny print. “…Today many products are an outcome of a large number of parts and pieces that come from many different countries, and that may then be assembled together in a third country.” In the case of pet food, it may have ingredients originating from many places, including China. Economically you can be almost sure that a large percentage of the ingredients come from China.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Many companies in the USA are deceptive with their labeling and only care about the profit specifically the larger companies but not all. There are still companies that believe in America and choose to use only American (USA) USDA meats that are processed in their own plants (in the USA) and inspected by the FDA and state agriculture departments under strict inspection guidelines. If it says Made in China don't buy it .Support the USA companies that still exist Such as Colorado naturals and Nature's Deli, which are 100% made in the USA right down to the packaging there in.

Submitted by Faith Wilkisson (not verified) on
I adopted an 8 lb puppy when he was 2 months old 3 1/2 years ago. He is now 85 pounds and until a few weeks ago he was the healthiest mutt on the face of the earth. He threw up his dinner a couple of days in a row so I paniced and raced to the Vet.. He was in Stage 3 Kidney Failure. Since the day I got him I had been giving him Chicken Jerky Treats because I believed the package that claims they are a wholesome chicken snack. I thought they came from South Carolina using cage free chickens...never noticed the tiny print below the upc code that says MADE IN CHINA.. Now that I am not feeding him toxic treats he is out of Kidney failure and only eating prescription dog food.. It was heartbreaking to know he was sick because I made a bad choice and now he keeps expecting a treat and I am afraid to give him anything other than the prescription food until I am sure he will recover.Then I will bake my own treats. I only wish I had known the potential risk involved because the emotional and financial consequence has been overwhelming

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I have 2 chihuahua puppies, almost 6 months old. I have gotten 2 bags of these the chicken jerky treats made by Milo's Kitchen. With this last bag, for the last 2 or 3 days, I've noticed they've had diarrhea. I've only been giving them 1 a day. Today I decided not to give them anymore, thinking maybe it was the treats giving them the diarrhea. I just so happened to see on the news tonight about the problems dogs are having with these treats. I'm definately taking it as a sign not to give them to my babies anymore for sure. I'll be watching them to see if it goes away in a couple days, but this has really scared me. DO NOT GIVE THESE TO YOUR DOGS. I had a feeling the diarrhea was being caused by the treats, but now I know for sure... nothing else has changed recently in their diet, and they have been perfectly fine until I started giving them the chicken jerky treats.

Submitted by dogart1 (not verified) on
Since these chicken jerky treats are my dachshund's favorite, I have tried all the major brands - Waggin’ Train, Milo’s Kitchen, Canyon Creek Ranch, as well as many others that say they are made in America. I've yet to find any that don't give my baby-boy orange diarrhea and cause him to wretch like he has a fur ball in his throat. He has a cast-iron stomach, so it's something much more toxic in these treats than anyone is letting on. It's hard to not love your pet to death, and take away what makes him the most happy - but we must.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
My four year old dog died suddenly two weeks ago. We had no idea why, but now I think its from these treats. She ate one or two a day for the last year or so. I had no idea until today. This is horrible.

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