Here is the latest update we have from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association on the melamine issue:
Follow-up notice: Chicken Jerky Treats Suspected of Causing Toxic Reaction in Dogs
Several weeks ago, OVMA posted a notice in Newshound regarding a call we received from a member concerning three small dogs that had been exhibiting symptoms similar to Fanconi syndrome and that had been fed jerky treats. Each dog belonged to a different owner. The clinic confirmed that all of the dogs had been fed some form of chicken jerky treat. One owner was able to verify that the treats they had been feeding were from China.
Since then, OVMA has received calls from several members who reported that they had treated animals exhibiting the same symptoms after consuming chicken jerky treats, including one severe case that resulted in the dog being euthanized. The autopsy of the euthanized dog revealed a toxic substance in the dog. The products in question appear to be manufactured in Canada, but imported from China or Thailand. Multiple brand names have been indicated.
If you have treated otherwise healthy pets that are showing signs of renal failure or something similar to Fanconi syndrome, please contact OVMA with the details. In the meantime, we would caution members to advise their clients to avoid chicken jerky treats, especially those imported from China or Thailand, until more information can be found as to whether they are responsible for these potentially life threatening reactions.
This is the original notice we received a few weeks ago:
2. Have You Seen Similar Cases in your Practice Involving Jerky Treats?
OVMA received a call from a member concerning three small dogs (over the last few weeks) that have been exhibiting symptoms similar to Fanconi syndrome and that had been fed jerky treats. Each dog belonged to a different owner. The clinic confirmed that all of the dogs had been fed some form of jerky treat. One owner verified that the treats they had been feeding were from China.
In the spring of 2007 “Jerky Treats dog snacks beef flavour” were voluntarily recalled after their North American distributor learned that a plant in China had been adding melamine to the product. The FDA and CFIA issued a recall on that particular product. Shortly after this, the American Veterinary Medical Association posted an alert that, “multiple brands of jerky treats made in China were making pets sick” based on complaints from pet owners and veterinarians. The symptoms exhibited in some of the pets that ate the jerky treats were like those seen in animals with Fanconi Syndrome; the same symptoms reported more recently by an OVMA member. Symptoms such as, but not limited to: decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, and increased water consumption and/or increased urination have been observed. Blood tests may show increased urea nitrogen and creatinine. Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose).
For those of you who remember back 3 years ago there was a huge international scandal that involved a Chinese manufacturer of rice protein (called rice gluten) adding a toxin called melamine to their product. These people are paid based on the protein content of their product. Adding melamine to the rice gluten creates a false high reading on the tests used to detect protein. Some pet food manufacturers source their ingredients from suppliers that offer the lowest prices. Too often these suppliers are from countries like China. When these pet food manufacturers made foods with the “contaminated” rice product, many animals in North America became sick and died from eating it.
Clients of ours are well-aware that we only recommend feeding rawhide products SOURCED and MANUFACTURED in North America. Melamine poisoning isn’t the only thing you avoid by buying North American rawhide products. Many countries in the world still allow the use of toxic chemicals in the “tanning” process used in creating “edible” rawhide products for animals. These can obviously be harmful to your dog as well. If you have any rawhide products that you are not absolutely certain have a North American source and producer, please dispose of them.