Jerky Treats Causing Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

Fanconi syndrome is a disorder in which the proximal renal tubules of the kidney do not properly reabsorb electrolytes and nutrients back into the body, but instead “spill” them in the urine. Symptoms include excessive drinking (polydipsia), excessive urination (polyuria), and glucose in the urine (glucosuria.) If Fanconi is left untreated, muscle wasting, acidosis, and poor condition will also occur.

Jerky Treats Causing Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

Background
The American Veterinary Medical Association recently has posted a Media Alert warning veterinarians that multiple brands of jerky treats manufactured in China have been making dogs sick. (http://www.avma.org/press/media_alerts/070914_jerky_treats.asp)

Presenting Signs and Laboratory Findings

The dogs appear to be developing an acquired Fanconi’s syndrome which appears to be transient. Small dogs with a history of ingesting jerky treats (mostly chicken jerky) are typically affected. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

Physical examination findings have been unremarkable. In addition to mildly elevated liver enzymes, the most common blood abnormalities include severe decrease in Potassium, called hypokalemia, along with acidosis and glucose (sugar) in the urine and granular casts on urinalysis. Elevated kidney enzymes; Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine
may or may not be consistently found.

Testing Recommendations

For dogs with apparent Fanconi’s syndrome, we recommend a CBC, chemistry panel including electrolytes, urinalysis and urine culture. Blood gas analysis, if available, is ideal. Additional testing for other causes of acute kidney damage including Leptospirosis blood testing is also recommended. Kidney x-rays, and Fanconi screens on urine may be warranted in some cases.

This veterinarian is seeing dogs with apparent acute liver failure problems assciated with canine treats made by Delmonte.

For more information, veterinarian, Dr. Carol Osborne can be reached toll free
at 1-866-372-2765.

No cats have been reported to be affected. A contaminant has yet to be identified. At this time there is no list of specific brands affected and there is no recall in effect, so these products are still being sold to consumers.

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