December 19, 2008

Last week, we reported on a mysterious kidney ailment occurring in Australian dogs, which appeared to be linked to Kramar brand chicken jerky dog treats. Kramar announced a precautionary recall of the treats, even though no one has yet been able to determine the exact cause of the ailment.

The chicken jerky treats were manufactured in China.

In our report, we mentioned that a similar problem had arisen in the United States in 2007, and that FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine had issued a warning to pet owners. As in the Australian situation, the treats were imported from China, and the contaminant that triggered the kidney symptoms could not be found.

Today, the Center for Veterinary Medicine has issued a new Preliminary Animal Health Notification on this same problem. According to CVM, the agency has continued to receive complaints about pet illnesses linked to chicken jerky treats. Unfortunately, CVM appears to be no closer to solving the mystery.

CVM has issued this new warning to alert pet owners who choose to give these treats to their dogs to watch for the development of any of the following symptoms, which may appear hours or days after a dog has eaten these treats. Small dogs appear to be especially susceptible.

  • decreased appetite (dog may continue to eat the treat but refuse usual food)
  • decreased activity level
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea – sometimes with blood
  • increased water consumption and/or increased urination

A dog that displays any of these symptoms after having eaten chicken jerky treats should be seen by a veterinarian if the symptoms are severe or if they persist longer than 24 hours.

FDA is continuing its investigation into possible chemical or microbiological contaminants in the chicken jerky treats. The agency urges dog owners and veterinarians to report any pet food- associated illnesses to the FDA Consumer Coordinator in their state.