Once thought to be a problem only when using jerky treats made in China, there have now been reports linking American made jerky treats to a rare kidney disease called acquired Fanconi. One case in particular involves a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier being treated at Animal Emergency Medical Center in Torrance, California. This dog had been vomiting and experiencing diarrhea for over a week before she was referred to the Center by her regular vet.
Dr. Bonnie Werner, an internal medicine specialist at the center said that tests indicated the dog had impaired kidney function and glycosuria (glucose in urine), bot of which are signs that point to acquired Fanconi disease. Werner said the dog’s owner was aware of the link between jerky treats and illness but thought that products made in the U.S. were safe.
The jerky treats being used were made by Spot Farms, owned by Purdue Farms. Spot Farms website contains this claim:
We partner with farm families across the country to bring you the very best regionally grown, antibiotic-free chicken, turkey and pork. We cook our treats using wholesome all natural, human grade ingredients* that are sourced in the US. We take a lot of pride in the treats we make and think your dogs will taste the difference!
That asterisk after ingredients is clarified at the bottom with “Made for your pet to eat, not for you!” And while it states that the ingredients are sourced in the US, it does not state where the sources got the ingredients in the first place, so the China connection may still be there… investigation will tell. The FDA states on their website:
Pet owners should be aware that manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products, and thus may still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries that export to the U.S.
The FDA website continues with some advice about feeding jerky treats:
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs jerky pet treats to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:
- decreased appetite;
- decreased activity;
- diarrhea, sometimes with blood;
- increased water consumption; and/or
- increased urination.
If the dog shows any of these signs, consumer should immediately stop feeding the jerky pet treat. In addition, owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.
It is probably best to stop using jerky as a treat for our dogs, but if you must consider, why not make your own jerky? At leas then you will know where all the ingredients come from!