ASK THE VET.
EASTER is fast approaching and most dog owners are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs. As little as 13g of dark chocolate could kill a 10kg dog. It can cause vomiting, excitability, changes to the heart and potentially seizures and kidney dysfunction. Prompt veterinary attention is advised in any instance of chocolate ingestion.
Unfortunately there are also dog treats available from UK high street shops that seem to be causing kidney dysfunction to our canine companions. There is strong evidence linking the consumption of jerky dog treats to a kidney condition known as Fanconi Syndrome.
Prompt diagnosis, elimination of the treats and supportive care is usually curative, however some of these dogs are so badly affected they require hospitalisation. Irreversible kidney damage has been reported and euthanasia can be the end result.
The syndrome has been reported in Australia and the US, with smaller numbers in the UK and Europe since 2007. Although no specific toxin has been identified, a common and recurring finding is the consumption of high levels of jerky treats with meat sources originating from China.
Clinical signs tend to be vague and non-specific such as tiredness, decreased appetite, increased thirst and increased urination. It is an easy syndrome to exclude as affected dogs have a higher than normal level of glucose present in their urine but a normal blood glucose level.
Some studies have found jerky treats containing illegal levels of antibiotics and antiviral medications. Although this is worrying, there is currently no evidence that these contaminants are responsible for the illness in UK dogs.
If your dog gets jerky treats which you suspect may contain imported meat and have noticed these clinical signs, it would be advisable to make an appointment with your vet. I also recommend taking a urine sample for analysis.
Please note that advice in this section is for general guidance, and if your pet is very unwell you should contact your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible as this advice does not replace the need for a clinical examination of your pet.
| Rory Thomson is part of the team at St Clair Veterinary Care in Croft Road, Blyth. If you have a question, fill out the online form at chroniclelive.co.uk/askthevet