Toxic jerky treats linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths

Toxic jerky treats linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths

Published May 19, 2014·
FoxNews.com

Reuters

More than 1,000 dog deaths may now be linked to toxic jerky treats, according to a recent update from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The agency said that since 2007, there have been almost 5,000 complaints of pet illnesses related to the treats. The majority of the symptoms reported include gastrointestinal or liver disease, and about a third were linked to kidney and urinary disease.

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About 10 percent of the illnesses included other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms, and about 15 percent of the kidney and urinary disease cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome – a rare kidney disease also associated with the pet deaths.

The FDA is still unsure of the specific cause for the reported illnesses and deaths, but most cases reportedly occurred after the pets had eaten chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China. No specific brands were recalled in the FDA’s latest release, but Dr. Jonathan Levine, an associate veterinarian at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in New York City, said owners should always check the labels of whatever foods they give their pets.

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“Always be aware of what you’re buying and where it’s coming from,” Levine said.

Yet that may not always be enough to keep pets safe; products stamped “Made in the USA” could still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries, the FDA warned.

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In 2007, some pet food companies voluntarily removed some jerky treats from the market. But, at the time, the FDA said it didn’t want to issue a recall without a definitive cause. Those products included Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers, made by Del Monte, and Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, made by Nestle Purina.

The FDA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to figure out what foods may be contributing to pet disease. The study will compare the foods eaten by sick dogs to those eaten by dogs who haven’t gotten sick, in order to determine if the jerky is really the culprit.

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So far, testing of jerky pet treats from China revealed low levels of antibiotics as well as the antiviral drug amantadine in some chicken samples. Although FDA-approved for pain-control applications in humans and in dogs, the agency prohibited its use in poultry in 2006 to help preserve its effectiveness.

The FDA does not believe amantadine contributed to the illnesses, as the side effects of the drug do not correlate with the symptoms seen in the pets; however, amantadine should not be present at all in jerky treats.

Chinese authorities have agreed to conduct additional screenings and follow up with jerky treat manufacturers, and the FDA has notified U.S. treat makers of the presence of amantadine in some jerky products. The agency will also continue testing these products for drugs and other antivirals.

The FDA cautioned pet owners that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet. If your pet experiences any sign of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, contact your veterinarian right away.

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Healthy Pet, Happy Pet: Tips for Owners

Healthy Pet, Happy Pet: Tips for Owners

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD’s editorial staff and is brought to you by the makers of Frontline® Plus.
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Best Dog Food Choices

WebMD Pet Health Feature

By Matt McMillen

Reviewed By Amy Flowers, DVM

When it comes to nutrition, dogs are a lot like people. They’re omnivores, meaning they can live healthy lives while eating a variety of food. Meats, vegetables, and grains all can be a part of a dog’s diet.

But also like us, dogs need balanced, moderately-sized meals that fuel their activities, not an overindulgent diet that will expand their waistlines and put them at risk of diseases like diabetes.

Know Your Dog’s Needs

How much you feed your dog mainly depends on three factors:

  1. Age
  2. Activity level
  3. Ideal weight

A young Australian shepherd, for example, needs a lot of exercise, and that means a lot of food to keep him going. A tiny, 10-year-old Chihuahua, though, may be more accustomed to spending her day in your lap rather than building up a big appetite.

Dog food labels often provide some guidance on portion size, but your vet will know best how much food your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight, says veterinarian Louise Murray, DVM. She’s vice president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York.

“Diet should be based on a dog’s condition, and it should be very tailored to the dog,” Murray says. “Talk to your vet.”

Your vet can also recommend foods that may help protect your dog against disease, says veterinarian Chea Hall, DVM, of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Large dogs may be more likely than smaller dogs to develop arthritis, for instance. Proper nutrition may help protect your dog’s joints and build up joint strength.

Know Your Dog’s Food

Your vet can calculate how many calories your dog should get each day, but most dog food labels don’t tell you how many calories the food provides.

“One cup could be 200 calories or it could be 400, and that’s a huge difference,” says Hall, who recommends a mostly dry food diet because dry is generally lower in calories than canned food.

Hall’s advice: Contact the food’s maker for calorie and other nutritional information. You should also look for a statement on the package that says the food meets at least the minimum requirements for a healthy diet set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog’s life stage.

Food labels often use terms like “gourmet,” “natural,” and “premium,” Murray notes. Those words may sound appealing, but they have no standard definition when it comes to dog food — so they tell you nothing about what’s in the food.

“They are not something to go by,” Murray says.

Your vet can be a good guide to selecting an appropriate dog food both for your dog’s health and your budget. Hall often recommends the foods sold by animal clinics, but since that’s not always a convenient or affordable option, she works with people to pick out a food that works for both owner and dog. Your vet can do the same.

Would you rather make your dog’s meals yourself? It’s crucial that you talk to your vet first to learn how to meet your dog’s nutritional needs, Hall says.

Pet Health Information

At VeterinaryPartner.com they have an extensive listing of various pet ailments and information on each at this site:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=SRC&S=1&SourceID=42

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Please, always take time to care for your furry, scaly and feathered friends who share your life with you.  🙂

 

Foods that Can Hurt Your Pets

People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

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Chocolate, Macadamia nuts, avocados…these foods may sound delicious to you, but they’re actually quite dangerous for our animal companions. Our nutrition experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Avocado

The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Grapes & Raisins

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones

Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

Xylitol

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Onions, Garlic, Chives

These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.

Milk

Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Salt

Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. In other words, keep those salty chips to yourself!

Dog Health Care Links from WebMD

These are links to give you advice on preventive care and other important health topics for your dogs.  I hope they prove helpful to my fellow pet owners.

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Healthy Dogs

Preventive Care

It’s your job to keep your dog healthy and safe. Get the facts about grooming, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and first aid.

Grooming

10 tips for keeping your dog’s eyes clean and healthy.

A few basic maintenance tips should keep his ears in good shape.

Brushing your dog’s teeth and more tips.

Veterinarian Petting Dog

Tips for getting “dog breath” in check.

Clipping a dog’s nails can be tricky: Here’s what you need to know.

It might be easier than you think.

Fleas, Ticks and Heartworm

Spot medications, shampoos, collars: How flea and tick treatments work.

Here’s what to look for on your pet or in your home.

How to keep your dog free of this devastating parasite.

Use extra care when removing ticks from your pet.

Vaccinations

Core vaccinations are recommended for all dogs. Find out what your dog needs and when.

Some vaccinations may be needed only in certain circumstances, such as boarding.

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Other Care

10 tips to help your dog have a great time on the road.

10 tips to ease the stress of flying with your dog.

Could you have a toxin in your home and not even know it?

Knowing what to do in an emergency could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

9 Things Your Dog Wants to Tell You

9 Things Your Dog Wants to Tell You

Learn what your pooch’s behavior is really saying about you, your home and more

By Alexandra Gekas

We like to ascribe all sorts of emotions to our dogs, but, truth be told, they are much simpler than humans. They’re motivated by the basics: food, activity and companionship. That said, a dog’s behavior around his owners does have meaning. From the desire to protect you to an intuition about your health and happiness, read on to discover what your dog would tell you if he could speak.

“I want to protect you.”

You may think your dog belongs to you, but you belong to your dog, as well. That means he is going to claim you and protect you. “When he’s sitting on your foot, it’s an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he’s marking your foot,” says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the L.A.-based non profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals. “It’s not just that he wants to be close to you, he’s saying, ‘This is mine; now it smells like me, don’t go near it.’ He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you.” To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. “There’s a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there,” Brent says. Photo: Thinkstock

“I can sense when you’re in a bad mood.”

Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel—and feel it, too. “It goes without saying, when you’re stressed, they’re more stressed; when you’re happier, they’re happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner,” says Marty Becker, DVM, pet expert at Vetstreet.com. “They sit there and study you.” This relationship works the other way, too: If you want to make your pooch relax, you know just where to scratch; if you want to be more playful, you know how to pet him. “You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog,” Dr. Becker says. Photo: Matthew Williams-Ellis/Thinkstock

“I need more exercise!”

If she’s eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. “That’s where we see a lot of behavioral issues with dogs in households,” Brent says. This is particularly true for active breeds, such as herding or hunting dogs. “The Dalmatian was trained to be a hunting dog. You can’t take an animal that’s used to running eight miles a day, put it in an apartment, and expect it to be OK. If your dog’s destroying stuff, he’s saying, ‘I’m bored, you need to give me something to do.'” While exercise is important—dogs should receive 45 to 60 minutes of physical exercise and 15 minutes of behavioral training per day—Dr. Becker says you can also play mental games to keep your pooch entertained. Make her play search-and-seek games for her food or even use food puzzles that she has to solve before her meal is dispensed. Photo: Shutterstock

“I’m scared you won’t come back.”

While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house—just to let you know you’re forgetting someone—some dogs have a much more serious reaction. “If you watch a video of a dog with separation anxiety, it’ll tear your heart out. It’s like the kid lost at the mall without his parents,” Dr. Becker says. “They freak out. They think you’re not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they’ll tear up the doorframe, they’re destructive. If you come home and they’ve had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action.” Dr. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try these training intervals: Put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds. Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It’s also helpful to give your dog a treat before you leave, or feed him using an interactive food puzzle to keep him distracted. Photo: Shutterstock

“I can tell when you’re not feeling well.”

It’s a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. And new evidence has found that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including cancer, as well as seizures related to epilepsy. “We know that there’s a chemical marker that a few dogs are detecting, just like they can detect bed bugs, mold, peanuts, drugs and explosives,” Dr. Becker says. “They can smell the ketones on a diabetic’s breath when their sugar is low. For epileptics [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm’s way.” Some canines are even more naturally empathetic to humans. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs, providing affection to those in need, while also sensing—and being able to react to—health problems. “Some people just need a dog to lay still with them; others need a reason to get out of the bed. It’s the weirdest thing how therapy dogs know when to [move] close or far away,” says Dr. Becker. Photo: Shutterstock

“Pay attention when I’m not myself.” 

It’s important to pay attention to your pooch’s behavior because if something seems amiss, he’s probably not feeling well. “You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain or worse,” says Dr. Becker. “I call it ‘Dog-ter Mom,’ because 80% of caregivers for pets are women. You just need to pay attention to your intuition.” That means noticing behavior that’s out of the norm: he’s not as playful as usual, he’s acting aggressively, he has trouble getting up or isn’t eating properly. “You want to pay particular attention to eating habits,” Dr. Becker says. “Food is their currency. If he isn’t eating enough or is eating too much, if he’s drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that’s losing weight, then something’s wrong.” Photo: Adam Wasilewski/Thinkstock

“I need a routine, but with a little variety.”

They say that a dog’s mental capacity is that of a toddler; and just like a toddler, dogs thrive on routine. “Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don’t know how to react,” Brent says. A general routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run, says Dr. Becker. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show. “You don’t want them to force how the clock works,” he says. If they do, it’s likely that your dog will “insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. Vary it up. If you control their food, you control them—in a good way.” Photo: Thinkstock

“Be clear when I’m doing something wrong.”

Correcting your dog is important—and how you do it is key. Avoid explaining your dog’s behavior to him, or using a calm voice. Take a firm (not mean) tone and be direct. “Dogs respond to tone. If you say, ‘No!’ while a bad action is happening, you’re going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards,” Brent says. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action, and in the same way every time. “If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you can’t wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You can’t wait until you get home,” Brent says. “That says putting down the leash means a treat, instead of the action [you’re trying to reinforce].” Photo: Shutterstock

“I’m not a human.”

There’s no doubt your dog is part of the family—but that doesn’t mean she should be treated like a person. “Thinking your dog has the motivation of a person is the number one problem I see,” says Gina Spadafori, pet columnist and executive editor of the PetConnection.com. Whether your dog eliminates in the house or chews up the remote, the cause has nothing to do with revenge. “It’s not an emotional or rational response. It’s either a lack of training, illness or a stress reaction that can be triggered by a change in the house,” Spadafori says. So if your dog is acting out, start by trying to find the root cause. Is she sick, improperly trained or has there been a recent change in routine? Once you locate the cause, understanding and correcting her behavior will be much easier. Photo: Chris Amaral/Thinkstock

Read more: Dog Language – Understanding Dog Behavior at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day

How to evaluate online pet health articles

How to evaluate online pet health articles

by THERESE on JANUARY 31, 2010

in CATSDOGSPET HEALTH

If you’re like me, when one of my pets is diagnosed with a major illness, one of the first places I turn is to the Internet. Type any pet related health condition into your favorite search engine and you’ll find something – probably a lot of somethings! The question is, how accurate is the information you find? A savvy pet owner will not only read what’s online, but will evaluate the source of that information. Here are a few tips to help you decide whether or not the articles you find online are worth the time it takes to read them.

Consider the source
Look for articles written by researchers and other experts at veterinary schools, organizations that do research on animal health, and well-known websites. Cornell University College of Veterinary MedicinePet ConnectionDogAware.com, and VeterinaryPartner.com are just a few of the many highly respected websites that cover pet health.

If you see an article on a website that doesn’t seem to have any credentials, look on some of the websites that do offer credentials to see if they have any corroborating info. As the old saying goes, “don’t believe everything you read.”

Look for current articles
While older articles are definitely worth reading, if you’re doing research on something like feline cancer (which I’m in the midst of learning about with Tequila), also try to find articles that are as up-to-date as possible. The newer articles will likely cite recent studies and/or advancements made about the condition you’re dealing with in your pet.

Look for articles by respected authors
Writers like Christie Keith and Gina Spadafori(from Pet Connection) Dr. Patty Khuly (from Doolittler)Lew Olson (from B-Naturals), and Mary Strauss (from DogAware.com) are all well respected pet health writers. Anything you see written by them is going to be well-researched and based on facts. On the other hand, not every Joe Blow who sets up a website and posts his theory on how to heal dogs of cancer is going to be worth your time. Some of the information you find, will be written by people who mean well, but just aren’t qualified to be offering medical advice. And of course, be wary of the scammers who have the miracle cure you’re looking for. Chances are, the only thing you’ll be making healthier by sending them your money is their bank account!

Evaluate personal accounts carefully
Regardless of what type of illness your pet has, you’re probably going to want to hear from others who have gone through the same thing with their pets. I know I did when when Lydia was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 (and I do now that Tequlia’s been diagnosed with cancer). I wanted to hear from others who have dealt with the same type of cancer. I wanted to know how the pets were treated, what they fed them, what supplements they gave their pet, how the disease progressed. And of course, I wanted to hear from people who had dogs who survived! I found happy and sad stories, but every time I read something I reminded myself that Lydia’s situation was unique, and that her story wouldn’t be identical to any other. It’s important to keep this fact in mind no matter what type of problem you’re facing with your pet. Not every disease in every pet is going to progress in the exact same way. Get input from others, but don’t get too hung up on exactly how things progressed in their pets.

Being faced with a major illness in one of your pets is stressful enough without wasting time reading articles that prove to be harmful, or inaccurate at best. Finding information online about your pet’s condition is the easy part – evaluating it can sometimes be a bit tricky. So, before going too far into what you’re reading take the time to decide whether it’s worth reading. It could save you a lot of time and heartache.