01 Kidney Transplants for Cats and Dogs - VeterinaryPartner.com

By Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP
Educational Director, VeterinaryPartner.com

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Kidney transplantation is something everyone has heard of for human patients, but may not have considered possible for pets. In fact, while transplantations are confined to specialized facilities with experienced surgeons, successful kidney transplants in cats have been going on since the mid-1980s. Canine programs have been less successful but are also available in limited facilities.

To the uninitiated, the impression may be that once someone receives a new kidney, life is renewed and all the kidney problems are solved. In fact, this is hardly the case. There are immune-suppressive medications needed to prevent rejection of the new organ, not to mention potential for infection and other issues. A kidney transplant is a very big deal regardless of the species of the recipient. What should be considered when deciding about a new kidney for a pet?

Where Do the Donors Come from & What Happens to them Afterwards?

This is an important ethical question for everyone involved in the transplantation program. No one wishes to harm the donor animal who cannot voluntarily become an organ donor in the way a human can, nor is there a mechanism to harvest organs from comatose brain-damaged patients as might be done for humans.


Feline kidney donors usually come from research facilities. These cats are classified as “specific pathogen free,” which means they are free from infectious diseases. They are matched by blood typing and possibly blood cross-matching to the recipient cat (no other tissue-typing is necessary). A research cat is selected and a kidney removed for the recipient. After the procedure, the owner of the recipient cat must adopt the donor.

Some transplantation programs allow the owner of the recipient cat to provide the donor. Donors must be young adults, generally at least 10 pounds in size, be free of infectious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus, and toxoplasmosis, and must have excellent kidney function. Basic blood testing and urine cultures must be normal.

You enter the program with one cat and leave with two cats.

For dogs, the owner of the recipient is generally responsible for finding the donor. The University of California transplant program has been on hold since 2007, but as an example, their former donor guidelines were that  the donor must be less than 6 years of age, of similar size as the recipient (and preferably of the same breed), and, if the donor is related to the recipient, tissue matching is needed. Screening tests for the canine donor are similar to those for the feline donor but also include heartworm testing.

Is Your Cat a Candidate?

Kidney transplantation is not a procedure that is left until all medical therapies have been exhausted. The best candidate is free from other medical problems besides the kidney disease. Typical screening includes:

  • Basic blood panel (including thyroid level) and urinalysis

  • Urine culture (elimination of latent infection is crucial and often a trial of immune-suppressive drugs is used after an infection has been cleared to ensure that the infection does not come back)

  • Feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus screening

  • Ultrasound examination of the heart (heart diseases that involve high blood pressure development can damage the new kidney)

  • Screening for toxoplasmosis (the immune suppressive drugs needed to maintain the new kidney could reactivate a latent infection with this parasite).

  • Blood typing

  • Blood pressure monitoring

  • Urine protein to creatinine ratio to evaluate /renal protein loss.

  • Teeth cleaning (performed under anesthesia)

Different programs may have additional required screening tests such as kidney biopsy, intestinal biopsy to rule out inflammatory bowel disease, test doses of immune-suppressive medications, etc. Obviously the details would be provided by the specific program being considered.

If the cause of the kidney failure is felt to be something that would lead the new kidney to fail as well, this may disqualify the patient from the program. Such conditions would include: renal lymphoma or other cancer, amyloidosis (a malignant protein deposition), and pyelonephritis (a deep kidney infection, although if the infection is truly felt to have been eliminated, the patient might still qualify). Again, each program will indicate what conditions might serve to automatically disqualify a recipient.


Cats with relatively early kidney failure are not yet candidates for transplantation. Cats with advanced kidney failure are not good candidates either, although dialysis (available at advanced critical care facilities such as those that perform kidney transplants) may improve the values.

The best candidates are those with an acute cause of kidney failure (such as a poisoning), cats who do not respond well to the usual medical management, or cats with a creatinine greater than 4.0 mg/dl. The cat should have a decent appetite and be as strong as possible prior to this major surgery.  Again, each transplant center will have its own criteria.

Prior to surgery, the recipient cat should be made as stable as possible.
Usually a blood transfusion is needed to correct the renal failure-associated anemia.
Sometimes dialysis is also needed.

Is Your Dog a Candidate?

Recipient screening is similar to that for the feline patient though heartworm testing is needed. Blood clotting tests are also needed for dogs. Similar conditions will also rule a patient out as a candidate (no cancer, heart disease, amyloidosis, or inflammatory bowel disease.) The adrenal hormone excess known as Cushing’s disease also precludes participation in the kidney transplant program.

What Kind of Home Care Will the Recipient Require?

The recipient is going to require suppression of his immune system for the rest of his life. This not only requires a substantial financial commitment for the medication but also the ability to give the cat oral medication at least twice a day for the rest of his life. The heart of this therapy is a medication called cyclosporine, a medication that has revolutionized organ transplantation for humans. Prednisone, a commonly used cortisone derivative, is typically used as well, at least to start.

Cyclosporine is typically given twice a day with the lowest blood level of the day being approximately 500 ng/ml around the time of surgery and lowering to 250 ng/ml after a month or so of recovery after surgery. (Rejection of the new kidney occurs when levels dip below 200 ng/ml.)

Cyclosporine has some disadvantages that include:

  • Expense
    Cyclosporine is expensive. Concurrent administration of ketaconazole, a medication normally used to treat fungal infection, has an added benefit of “potentiating” cyclosporine. This means that less cyclosporine is needed to achieve the desired effect. As long as ketoconazole is well tolerated, a substantial financial savings can be realized. Additionally, if ketoconazole is used, it may become possible to dose the patient only once a day rather than twice. Approximately 30% of transplant patients will not be able to utilize this protocol due to the development of excessive cyclosporine levels or liver enzyme elevations from the ketoconazole.

    • Expenses for Monitoring
    Periodic blood level monitoring is needed to check that the right dosage is being used. For most drugs, “what you swallow is what your body gets.” For other drugs, there are individual variations in how the medication is absorbed, and cyclosporine is one. When two patients take the same amount of cyclosporine, they may not achieve the same serum levels; some individual fine-tuning is needed.

    • Long-term use of cyclosporine increases the risk for the development of cancer, specifically lymphoma. At the University of Wisconsin Renal Transplant Center, a 14% incidence of malignant tumor development is reported for cats with post-transplant time (and thus cyclosporine use time) of greater than one year.

In dogs, the chemotherapy agentazathioprine is also regularly used for its immuno-suppressive properties. It’s usually given every other day long term. Medication costs for dogs can vary from $ 150 per month to $ 2000 per month depending on the dog’s size.

What are Potential Complications to the Recipient?

There are basically three main complications:

  • Rejection of the new kidney, which can occur at any point after transplantation. When a kidney is rejected, the cat will go back into kidney failure and suffer all the toxic symptoms that accompany that diagnosis (nausea, malaise etc.) If more aggressive immune suppression is initiated quickly, the kidney can be saved. Rejection can also be a more chronic and insidious process, gradually destroying the new kidney over years. This phenomenon is not well understood and it’s not known how commonly this occurs.

    • Infection from the immune-suppressive therapy, which seems to be the major complication in dogs.

    • Stricture (narrow scarring) of the ureter, which is the tiny tube that carries urine from the new kidney to the urinary bladder. If this occurs, another surgery is needed to trim the scarred area and re-attach the ureter to the urinary bladder.

What Kind of Survival Time can you Expect?

In a recent study of feline kidney transplants, 59% of renal transplant patients were still alive 6 months after surgery and 41% were still alive 3 years afterwards. Apparently the first 6 months is a somewhat crucial time in determining long-term survival.

The University of Wisconsin Renal Transplant Center reports 70% survival at 6 months for cats and 50% survival at 3 years. Of the cats that survived to be discharged from the hospital (i.e. they did not succumb to problems directly related to the surgery), 96% survived to 6 months.

In dogs, the picture is not nearly as bright. The University of California at Davis program was seeing about a 40% success rate. 

Kidney transplantation is an expensive undertaking. The University of California at Davis program, for example, required a deposit of $ 11,000 for cats and $ 13,000 for dogs. Their surgeon has since moved to private practice where expense is typically greater. Transplantation involves the adoption of a donor and long-term medication and blood testing for the recipient. If this is something you are seriously considering, be sure to discuss the procedure with the transplant center closest to you as well as with your regular veterinarian.

The Feline CRF Information Center has a list of renal transplantation centers for both dogs and cats, including contact information.

Date Published: 12/23/2002 3:21:00 PM

Date Reviewed/Revised: 01/10/2012

Copyright 2012 – 2013 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

Permanent Link: http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1349

Food that are lethal to dogs

Few people realize the danger in giving grapes or raisins to their pet dogs. According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, as few as 7 raisins or grapes can prove toxic.

No one knows exactly why grapes, raisins and dogs are such a lethal combination. Indeed, these foods are not harmful to every dog in every situation; but for some unlucky dogs, these foods can cause acute kidney failure, which may lead to their eventual death.

In the article, Raisins and Grapes Can Be Harmful to Dogs, Dr Laurinda Morris DVM, an Danville,Ohio vet, recounts a tale of a patient who lost her male Labrador mix after eating half a canister of raisins. After Dr Laurinda struggled to treat the dog , he had to be euthanized due to acute renal failure, caused by consuming such a large quantity of raisins.

Dangerous foods for dogs,like grapes or raisins are often given innocently as treats, without their owners being aware of the risks. Whilst many dog owners these days are better informed about the potential dangers of feeding chocolate to their pets (Theobromine found in coco beans is toxic to dogs, cats and horses), many do not realize the problems that a few grapes or raisins may cause. Linda Bonney of bestanimalloves.com, states in her article,Your Pet Versus Raisins and Grapes (09/20/07), “Many people I know give their dogs grapes and raisins as treats, including our ex-handlers.”

Why Raisins and Grapes are Toxic Foods to Dogs

Grape or raisin toxicity can cause acute kidney failure. Dogs are unable to pass urine, which means their systems cannot filter the toxins from their bodies.

However, what is puzzling is that some dogs are affected, whilst others do not experience any problems. In 140 such cases handled by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, one third of the dogs developed toxic poisoning from eating grapes or raisins; of which 7 died.

Read more: http://dog-care.suite101.com/article.cfm/danger_of_grapes_raisins_in_dogs#ixzz0M40mg1OP

The following foods are considered to be dangerous to your dog and should not be fed:

  • chocolate

  • grapes

  • raisins

  • onions

  • garlic (in large quantities)

  • macadamia nuts

  • walnuts

  • dairy and dairy products

  • coffee or coffee grounds

  • tea or tea bags

  • bones from poultry, fish or other meat sources

  • fat trimmings

  • citrus oil extracts

  • cat food

  • hops

  • supplements containing iron

  • yeast or yeast dough

  • moldy or spoiled food

  • pits or seeds from apples, cherries, pears, persimmons and other fruits

  • mushrooms (some varieties)

  • potato, rhubarb or tomato leaves

  • potato or tomato stems

  • raw eggs

  • raw fish

  • liver

  • sugary foods

  • salt (in large quantities)

  • xylitol-containing foods

Read more: http://pet-nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/dangerous_foods_foods_to_avoid_feeding_to_dogs#ixzz0M41G2LP5

There are also a few other items which you should avoid feeding your dog or allowing your dog to eat and these include:

  • alcohol

  • tobacco, cigarettes, cigars

  • marijuana

  • string

  • cat food

  • plants (many types of plants are toxic)

  • prescriptions issued for people or other pets

Some of these items can be threatening for your dog in the short-term, causing symptoms ranging from mild digestive upset to life-threatening, potentially fatal reactions. Others can cause more long-term problems with your dog’s health. None are safe to offer to your dog.

Read more: http://pet-nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/dangerous_foods_foods_to_avoid_feeding_to_dogs#ixzz0M41Q9bSZ

Kidney Disease In Dogs & Cats, Using Calcitriol

Canine Kidney Disease & Feline Kidney Disease
Kidney disease affects about 1/3 of our pets. In previous Caring for Pet blog entries we covered the difference between kidney disease and kidney failure, signs a pet has kidney disease, causes of kidney disease. We covered treatments, including holistic therapies and conventional medications. Now, let’s discuss Calcitriol, a new conventional medication used for cats & dogs with kidney disease.

Role of Calcitriol
Calcitriol helps prevent calcium from increasing in the blood. High calcium levels shorten pets’ lives because organs stop functioning when their cells are full of gritty calcium deposits. To make it worse, pets with high calcium levels are uncomfortable.

Signs of High Levels of Calcium in the Blood or Hypercalcemia
Calcitriol is a drug given to pets with kidney disease to help prevent calcium from increasing in the blood to levels that make pets sick. Dogs & cats with high calcium may have these symptoms:
• anorexia
• lethargy
• vomiting & stomach upset
• increased drinking and urination ( polyuria/polydipsia)
• bladder stones (calcium oxylates)
• strange behaviour (neurologic signs).

Other Causes of Hypercalcemia–Cancer
Cats and dogs with cancer of skin, lymph nodes, bones and bone marrow (lymphosarcomas, squamous cell carcinomas, leukemias, multiple myeloma, osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, sarcoma, and bronchogenic carcinoma) can also have increased calcium and these pets would benefit from treatment for cancer but not from calcitriol.

Deciding Whether or Not to Use Calcitrol
The first step in using calcitriol is to confirm the pet’s elevated calcium is from kidney disease. The second step is to prevent phosperous from increasing through diet and aluminum hydroxide (covered in previous Caring for Pets discussion).

Deciding How Much Calcitriol to Give, and When to Give Calcitriol
We look at the blood to decide how much calcitriol to give. If serum creatinine is higher than normal (>3 mg/dl) but phosphorus is controlled (<6 mg/dl) calcitriol is started at 3.5 ng/kg/day. The best time to give calcitriol is at bedtime on an empty stomach. This is especially true for pets on high doses. For pets on low doses of calcitriol, the drug can be given with food in the morning. Calcitriol can be given every day, and this schedule is best for those of us with poor memories who can remember to give the same medication every day. However, the safest way to give calcitrion is to give ½ the week’s dose th twice a week, such as Wednesday night and Sunday morning.

Blood Tests Required to Prevent Calcitrol From Causing Harm
Calcitriol can help pets with kidney disease, but it can also cause harm because it affects the amount of calcium in the blood. Blood tests measuring calcium help us adjust the dose so that the potential for harm is minimized. Blood tests are done one week, two weeks and six months after starting the medication.

For pets that have had kidney disease long enough that the parathyroid gland was affected, blood tests to measure parathyroid hormone (PTH) should be done in addition to tests measuring calcium. If the pet is responding to calcitriol as hoped, parathyroid hormone (PTH) will be in the normal range. If PTH is elevated, the pet can have increased dose of calcitriol (1-2 ng/kg increase). If your pet needs a dose of calcitriol that is 6.6 ng/kg/day or higher, then it needs blood tests that measure both total calcium and ionized calcium. Pets on these high doses of calcitriol also need to be off the daily dosage schedule and on the twice a week schedule (3.5 times the daily dose).

What Will You See if Your Pet Benefits from Calcitriol?
How will your pet benefit from calcitriol? You should see improved appetite, more energy, and slowing of the kidney disease. Blood tests with BUN and creatinine livels should hold steady. Urine specific gravity should hold steady. Amount of protein lost in the urine should improve or hold steady.

My Recommendations for Pets With Kidney Disease
Do I recommend Calcitriol for all pets with kidney disease? NO. Whether you have a dog with kidney disease or a cat with kidney disease, always start with supplements and herbs that benefit without causing harm. Then, consider drugs. My recommendations are:
• Omega 3 fatty acids from either fish (Nordic Naturals) or ground flax (Missing Link)
• Herbal fromulas with Rehmannia such as Rehmannia Eight ( Ba Wei Di Huang Wan)
• Home cooked diet or raw diet that controls phosphorus by decreasing organ meats and high phosphorus foods, yet maintains healthy protein levels
• Acupuncture (BL 23, K 3, K 7, ST 36)
• Injectable Vitamin B 12
• Subcutaneous fluids

After doing all these, consider medications: aluminum hydroxide, potassium, calcitriol.

Kidney Disease Isn’t A Death Sentence
Dogs & cats with kidney disease can live long happy lives with our help. Do not despair when your vet says your pet has kidney disease, instead get help from a holistic veterinarian. Every pet can benefit from these suggestions so that it continues to have a life with joy and comfort.

Growing danger: Toxic plants pose pet threat

Some common shrubs and plants can cause heart, liver and kidney failure.

deadlyplant 1

Bacon, a French bulldog, likes to munch on the rhododendron bushes in the front yard of his Washington, D.C. home. His owner, Susan Rosenau, had heard that rhododendron might be toxic to dogs, but Bacon never seemed to suffer any ill effects, so she didn’t worry too much about his snack habit.

She was shocked, then, to learn that the showy shrub had the potential to cause vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, and even to affect Bacon’s heart rate and rhythm. 

“Many people aren’t aware of just how toxic some of these really common plants are,” says Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, a veterinarian and board-certified toxicologist who is vice president of the Animal Poison Control Center, based in Urbana, Ill. “A rule of thumb is that the prettier it is, the more likely it is to be toxic.”

Besides rhododendrons, some of the other common ornamental plants that can be toxic, and even deadly, to pets are azaleas, cycad palms, oleander, foxglove, lily of the valley and castor bean.

The APCC, which is the only 24-hour-a-day animal poison control center in North America, received nearly 8,000 calls about potentially toxic plants in 2008. Actual poisonings are most commonly caused by Easter lilies in cats and cycad palms in dogs, Gwaltney-Brown says. Easter lilies are ubiquitous in floral arrangements, and miniature versions of cycad palms have become popular over the past five years in many parts of the country. A cat that chews on a single petal or leaf of an Easter lily can go into severe kidney failure and die without rapid, aggressive treatment. Cycad palms cause liver failure, and dogs may die within 24 to 48 hours after ingestion.

What does a pet-loving gardener need to know? Here are 10 expert tips to help keep your animals safe.

  • Don’t assume that pets won’t eat a particular plant.

“Pets investigate things with their mouths,” Gwaltney-Brant says. “That’s why we see so many plant exposures. When you bring that new plant into the household, the cats are all going to go over and nibble on it, and ditto with the dogs.”

  • Know the scientific names of plants in your home and yard so you can be specific when talking to poison control.

“The problem with common names is that jasmine in California is a totally different plant than what they call jasmine on the East Coast,” Gwaltney-Brant says. “Find out the scientific name and jot it down so you have it in case there is an exposure.”

  • Be aware of regional plants that may not appear on poisonous plant lists.

Toxic plant lists don’t always include regional plants, says Dr. John Tegzes, a veterinarian and professor of toxicology at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, Calif. For instance, some varieties of hibiscus flowers are highly neurologically toxic while others are safe.

“Most hibiscus are fine, but there are a couple of varieties that are poisonous to dogs in particular, and unless you know which one that is, it can be dangerous,” Tegzes says.

  • Use nontoxic gardening products. Slug and snail bait is highly attractive to dogs, but it causes tremors and seizures that can be severe and life-threatening within minutes to hours after they’ve eaten it. Instead, use Sluggo or Sluggo Plus, which uses iron phosphate and is non-toxic to dogs, cats and birds, recommends Cheryl S. Smith, author of “Dog Friendly Gardens, Garden Friendly Dogs.”

To kill insects and fungi, Smith suggests a product called Phyta-Guard EC, which contains rosemary oil and clove oil rather than chemicals.

  • If you do use chemical pesticides, restrict your pet’s access to the yard immediately after applying them. They are most dangerous when still wet. It takes a few hours for pesticides to dry in the sun and be absorbed by plants and soil, Tegzes says. To be on the safe side, wait 24 hours before letting your pet back into the yard.

  • Avoid cocoa mulch. The concentration of theobromine — the active ingredient in chocolate that’s toxic to pets — varies depending on the processes companies use to create cocoa mulches. Because there isn’t any consistency from product to product, it’s safest not to use cocoa mulch, Tegzes says.

  • Look beyond the plant itself to products made from it. People make jewelry out of all kinds of seeds, seed pods and beans.

“When I was in a clinical setting, the cases I would see with castor bean were jewelry: necklaces and bracelets that were made out of the castor beans themselves,” Tegzes says. “People would go to Mexico and buy these bracelets and dogs would chew on them and get poisoned.”

  • If your pet has eaten a plant that may be toxic, don’t waste time trying to induce vomiting. Get veterinary advice immediately. People commonly overtreat pets or try to induce vomiting when it’s unnecessary or counterproductive, Gwaltney-Brant says. They also spend too much time trying to induce vomiting, especially in cats.

 “We get calls from people who have spent the last two hours trying to get their pet to throw up, but the reality is, if it’s a true poisoning, we need to do something quickly. If they’ve been unsuccessful for more than half an hour, then generally I suggest they contact or take the animal in to a veterinarian.”

  • Get rid of that old bottle of ipecac in your medicine cabinet. If you are advised to induce vomiting, ipecac isn’t the way to go about it. Instead, call your veterinarian to find out the correct dosage of hydrogen peroxide for your pet’s size.

“Ipecac is actually quite dangerous if we use it in dogs and cats,” Gwaltney-Brant says. “Only about a third of dogs or cats will vomit from the ipecac, and if they don’t throw it up they will absorb it into their system where it can cause serious heart problems.”

  • Don’t assume that after one bad experience, your pet will “learn his lesson.”

Tegzes once treated a dog poisoned by snail bait. After 11 days in the hospital, nine of them on a respirator, the dog recovered. The next day, he was back again, with the same type of poisoning. “We thought he would have learned his lesson,” the owners told Tegzes.

“Dogs love to eat that stuff once they’ve tasted it, so you have to be very careful of re-exposure,” he warns.


See also: 

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants



Full article and photo: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31130769/

Nasty Chicken Jerky Treats from China Associated with Severe Illness in Dogs - Again - Poisoned Pets

dogs eating in noisy restaurant humanimal anthropomorphic

The Gruesome History of Icky Poopie Dog Treats from China

photo_of_dog_beggingIn September 2007, the  American Veterinary Medical Association issued an alert that stated they had been receiving calls from veterinarians reporting Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs that appeared to be associated with the consumption of Chicken_Jerkychicken jerky treats made in China. These products are also labeled as chicken tenders, strips or treats.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was alerted and investigated the complaints, but testing of the products (surprise, surprise) did not identify any toxins or contaminants. The AVMA continued to receive occasional reports of suspected cases through February 2009.

September 2009, in Australia an outbreak in dogs of acquired proximal renal tubulopathy,  were associated with the feeding of chicken jerky treats from China.  The kidney conditions, also known as Fanconi-like syndrome caused the fatality of a number of dogs.

On June 15, 2011, the AVMA received notification from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) that they have received reports that mirror the cases reported in 2007. The AVMA issued an alert to its members on June 16, informing them of the situation in Canada and recommending vigilance for any suspected cases in the U.S. The AVMA also issued an alert on June 17 to the state veterinary medical associations and allied organizations represented in the AVMA House of Delegates. These products may also labeled as chicken tenders, strips or treats.

What, Me Worry?

headless-animal-jerky-chinaThe type of kidney failure associated with chicken jerky strips is called acquired Fanconi syndrome. Urine test results consistently show glucose and granular casts. Blood tests may show hypokalemia (low potassium), mildly increased liver enzymes, and acidosis.

Fanconi’s syndrome is a progressive disease, which, if not treated, ultimately results in Dried-Rat-Jerky-Chinatransport system failure to the point where solute losses are significant enough to overwhelm other compensatory mechanisms and the dog can no longer maintain homeostasis. The most significant of these is the loss of bicarbonate (HCO3-). Proximal renal tubular acidosis subsequently develops and, if left uncorrected, will ultimately lead to death.

What the Experts are Saying About the Nasty Treats

  • Several cases in Canada have been reported to the CVMA and they have notified the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

  • The FDA has been made aware of the cases in Canada and their resemblance to the earlier cases in the U.S.

  • Based on very preliminary information, it appears that this problem is more likely to occur in small-breed dogs that are fed these treats regularly and/or in amounts exceeding the label-recommended frequency or amount.

  • Dogs affected with this syndrome usually have a history of vomiting, lethargy and anorexia. A review by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine of the 2007 cases stated that blood chemistry in many cases revealed hypokalemia and a mild increase in liver enzymes. Blood gas analysis indicated acidosis, and glucosuria and granular casts may be seen. Fanconi screens on urine were positive. At the time, the ACVIM recommended treatment consisting of supportive care, electrolyte supplementation (including potassium supplementation) and blood gas monitoring.

  • No recalls have been issued for any chicken jerky treat product (not surprising. And don’t expect one either).

I dunt know nuthing, I jus work here

  • The brand(s) of chicken jerky treats that may be affected by this alert is unknown. The treats may involve flavors or meats other than chicken. The treats may also be sold as strips, tenders, chews, bites, pulls, sticks or whatever name they usually give that crap.

  • The cause (contaminant, toxin or otherwise) of the problem and the exact mechanism by which it causes the illness (they have a pretty good idea, they’re just not talking, yet), is unknown.

  • Whether or not the current situation is limited to Canada or is also occurring in the U.S. and if it is occurring in the U.S., if it is a recurrence or if the problem has been going on (but potentially unrecognized) since 2007.

  • The toxic treats may not indicate on the package they were “Made in China”. If the imported product or ingredient undergoes any substantive changes after it is in the USA, the manufacturer is not required to label the actual country of origin on the package.

So, Just What the Hell Do I Do Now?

  • Veterinarians who suspect a pet illness associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats should report the case to the FDA. Canadian veterinarians should report cases to CVMA Member Services unless directed otherwise by the CVMA.

  • For more information about diagnosing and treating the condition, please refer to the ACVIM’s recommendations, which will be updated as needed.

  • If a dog presents with a history of vomiting, lethargy and anorexia, coupled with a history of consumption of chicken jerky treats, the following tests may be indicated to indicate Fanconi syndrome-like disease: complete blood chemistry, blood gas analysis and urinalysis. A review by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine of the 2007 cases stated that blood chemistry in many cases revealed hypokalemia and a mild increase in liver enzymes. Blood gas analysis indicated acidosis, and urinalysis consistently showed glucosuria and granular casts. Fanconi screens on urine were positive.

  • During the 2007 cases, the ACVIM recommended treatment consisting of supportive care, electrolyte supplementation (including liberal potassium supplementation) and blood gas monitoring.

Common Sense for Dummies

  • It is up to you to decide whether or not you will feed your dog chicken jerky treats. If you choose to do so, we recommend that you feed them in small quantities and only on occasion. This is especially important for small-breed dogs. (Personally, I wouldn’t touch the crap with a ten-foot pole)

  • If your pet is vomiting, lethargic, or does not want to eat, consult your veterinarian, especially if there is a history of chicken jerky treat consumption. If your pet is showing these signs, it does not necessarily mean that your pet has been made ill by chicken jerky treats (don’t take any chances, don’t walk – run to the vet ASAP) – your veterinarian will likely need to perform tests to determine the cause of the problem.

  • If your pet becomes ill and you and/or your veterinarian suspect the illness may be associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats, discontinue feeding the treats and save the treats and packaging (storing them out of your pet’s reach and in a place where a family member will not mistakenly feed them to your pet) in case they are needed for testing.

Mollie’s Crazy Cat Lady Activist Advice

  • Call the FDA and tell them to get their shit together. Not that it will do any good, but they still need to know, never-the-less. Report a problem here.

  • Call the store you bought the crap from and give ‘em Hell.

  • Call the store’s HQ and tell them you are going to boycott their store, tell everybody and his brother they suck, start an I hate _____ big box pet store Facebook campaign, write about it in your blog, picket the store, e-mail the store, go to their FB and Twitter pages and tell them they suck (just be sure to unlike yourself afterwards)

  • Call & e-mail the manufacturer and give them a piece-o-yer-mind, that you’ve hired a lawyer and are going to bankrupt them for making your dog sick. Do not let the customer service person bullshit you – ask to speak to senior management or you’re gonna keep calling till Doomsday or until Hell freezes over, which ever comes first. Hopefully they speak enough English to understand you.

I Wanna Know More, Dangit!

Dog Treat Warning Snopes report: Yup, it’s TRUE (Snopes)

Remain vigilant for illness linked to chicken jerky treat consumption (ACVIM)

Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs (vet.uga.edu)

Jerky Treats Imported from China Reportedly Causing Kidney Failure in Dogs (DogAware)

How Dog Jerky is Made in China (WARNING: GRAPHIC)

Canadian VMA Cautions About Chicken Jerkey Treats (June 2011)

FDA Continues To Receive Complaints about Chicken Jerky Products for Dogs and Cautions Consumers (FDA December 2008)


National Poison Prevention Week 2011



ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 ($ 65 Consultation Fee)

Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 ($ 35 Consultation Fee)

Nationwide Standard Human Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 (FREE)

All 3 numbers are available 24/7 year round.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 61 Poison Control Centers (PCCs) across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.

In 2010, the ASPCA Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products.

Below are the 10 most common pet toxins of 2010 as outlined by the ASPCA and PetPoisonHelpLine.com

1. Human Medications are once again at the top of the list of pet toxins for 2010. Almost 25 percent of ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (AAPC) calls concerned human medications accidentally ingested by pets. The most common culprits include over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, acetaminophen), antidepressants and ADHD medications. Other common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include: Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, vitamins and diet pills. PetPoisonHelpLine.com warns against Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin®; acetaminophen as found in Tylenol® and antidepressants like Effexor®, Cymbalta® and Prozac® that can cause serious harm to your pets when ingested. NSAIDs can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. Acetaminophen can damage red blood cells in cats, limiting their ability to carry oxygen, and in dogs, it can lead to severe liver failure. Ingestion of antidepressants, which, of all human medications account for the highest number of calls to Pet Poison Helpline, can lead to neurological problems like sedation, in coordination, agitation, tremors and seizures.
For the Top 10 Drugs that can poison your pet click here.

2. Insecticides. About 20% of the calls to the APCC were about insecticides. Insecticides are commonly used on our pets for flea control and around our houses to control crawling and flying bugs. The most serious poisonings occurred when products not labeled for use in cats were applied to them. Always follow label directions.

3. Rodenticides are baits used to kill mice and rats, mostly grain based. Not only does this attract rodents, but it attracts dogs and cats. There are several different types of rodenticides that can cause seizures, internal bleeding or kidney failure. Rodent baits typically can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling or kidney failure, while snail and slug baits can result in severe tremors or seizures. Always make sure these items are placed in areas that pets cannot access.

4. People Food. Xylitol, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are commonly ingested by our pets. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic can cause anemia if enough is ingested. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used to sweeten sugar free gums and mints, can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Many sugarless gums, including some Tridentâ„¢, Orbitâ„¢, and Ice Breakerâ„¢ brands, contain xylitol. Candies, flavored multi-vitamins, desserts and baked goods may also be made with xylitol. Even small amounts when ingested can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, or with large amounts of ingestion, liver failure. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, tremors and seizures.
To read more about the risks of xylitol click here.

5. Veterinary Medications although made for our pets are flavored for ease of giving. Unfortunately, that means that animals may ingest the entire bottle of medication if they find it tasty. Common chewable medications include arthritis and incontinence medications. Contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests more than his proper dose of medication.

6. Chocolate contains methylxanthines(a relative of caffeine), which act as stimulants to our pets. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains. Methylxanthines can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate,hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, muscle tremors, seizures and death. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to our pets.

7. Household Toxins such as cleaning supplies (bleach, acids, alkalis and other detergents), can cause corrosive injury to the mouth and stomach. Other household items such as batteries and liquid potpourri can cause similar problems. Always keep these toxins behind securely locked doors. Rule of thumb: If it has a warning label on it keep out of the reach of children and pets. Other toxic household items include; Fabric softener sheets, mothballs, post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

8. Plants. Both house plants and outdoor plants can be ingested by our pets. Certain types of lilies including tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese lilies, are highly toxic to cats, while sago palms can cause liver failure in dogs and cats. Severe kidney failure can result from ingestion of even a few petals, leaves, or even the pollen. In addition, ingestion of certain spring bulbs (e.g. daffodils, tulips) can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. More serious reactions include abnormal heart rate or changes in breathing. Keep house plants and bouquets away from your pets.  
For a full list of plants poisonous to dogs and cats click here.

9. Many herbicides have a salty taste, and our pets will commonly ingest them. Always follow label directions and keep pets off treated areas until they are dry.

10. Outdoor toxins such as antifreeze, fertilizers and ice melts are all substances that animals can find outdoors. Keep these items in securely locked sheds or on high shelves where pets cannot get to them. Fertilizers are basic gastrointestinal irritants. However, some are often combined with dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful or deadly to pets. Ingestion can result in drooling, watery eyes, urination, defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, fever and even death.

What information will I need when I call poison control?
Whether you call your regular, emergency veterinarian or any any of the suggested poison control centers always have the following information available:
– the species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
– the animal’s signs (Animals can’t tell us symptoms. Tell them what you notice)
– information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known),
– the amount of the agent involved
– the time elapsed since the time of exposure.
Have the product container/packaging available for reference.
Collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
Use extreme caution when handling some of the chemicals. Wear non-latex gloves if at all possible.

I think my pet has ingested something potentially dangerous, but she seems normal. What should I do first: call the poison control centers or rush it to my local emergency veterinarian?
If you suspect that your pet may have become exposed to a harmful substance, but is not showing signs of illness, stay calm! Contact your local veterinarian or any of the above mentioned Poison Control Centers first. Not all exposure situations require an immediate trip to the clinic. Remain calm. Pets can sense your agitation and may become excited, which will raise their blood pressure and may contribute to spreading the poison through the bloodstream faster.

What should I do if I think my pet ate something poisonous?
Remain calm and composed. If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic. If necessary, he or she may call the Poison Control Center. Bring the suspected substance with you.

Additional Resources:
PetEducation.com – First Aid for ingestion of toxic products by pets. Click here (GREAT RESOURCE)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Household Hazards (PDF File here)


- Your cell phone directory

- Home  and Office phonebook

- In black & white hard copy in your car, kitchen and in the garage.

Why in black and white? Electronics fail, batteries die, phones don’t like liquids, people forget to plug the phone, etc. If you have a hardcopy you can use any phone at any time and still make the call.

ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 ($ 65 Consultation Fee)

Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 ($ 35 Consultation Fee)

Nationwide Standard Human Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 (FREE)

All 3 numbers are available 24/7 year round.



No matter what article you find on the internet and no matter who wrote it that provides advise on what to do in case of poisoning – human or animal


Peroxide CANNOT be used for ALL cases of poisoning in cats and dogs. 
Some chemicals and toxins may counteract negatively with the ingested substance. 
In other cases some poisons should not be coming back up by forcing the animal to vomit. 
Poisons can be ingested, inhaled and injected. 
If you have a doubt, there is no doubt. Call Poison Control! 
Even the human line can help in most pet cases.

Dogs with Kidney Failure- How to Treat and Advoid It!

When healthy, the kidney system execute several key features and remove spend materials from our bodies in the form of pee. Renal failing, also known as kidney failing, is the inability of the kidney system to operate properly.

Kidney failing is described as “chronic” or “acute”. Serious failing indicates that the kidney system can no longer execute their crucial features of removing spend materials, managing the chemical structure of liquids, and producing hormones. Renal operate reduces slowly, which indicates the actual symptoms and symptoms of failing may appear progressively.

Acute is recognized by an unexpected or rapid decrease in kidney operate that leads to changes in body system, including modifications in liquid and mineral account balances. These changes adversely affect almost every system in our bodies. The actual symptoms are more extraordinary because kidney operate reduces quickly.

What are the causes of this failing in dogs?

There are many causes that may include:

* Age

* Popular, yeast, or bacterial infections

* Parasites

* Cancer

* Amyloidosis (cause by irregular remains of a certain kind of aminoacids in the kidney)

* Inflamation

* Trauma

* Toxic reaction to toxins or medications

* Genetic and passed down disorders

What kind of pet is most vulnerable to such disease?

Older animals are more likely to have kidney situation than younger animals. Pet kittens and kitties and little animals display beginning symptoms and symptoms of chronic failing at 10 to 14 decades of age, while large animals may encounter much earlier.

Cats have this situation more regularly than animals. Certain varieties of animals (such as the soft-coated wheaten terrier, Lhasa apso, shih tzu, basenji, and Norwegian elkhound) and kittens and kitties (such as the Nearby, Himalayan, Siamese, and Abyssinian) are more vulnerable to developing kidney issues. But all varieties of animals can be affected, and at any age.

What are the actual symptoms my pet might experience?

Any of the following symptoms may indicate:

*Excessive drinking of water *Increased peeing *Lethargy *Vomiting *Bad Breath *Not eating for a day or more *Weakness *Lack of sychronisation when walking *Depression *Weight Loss of wasting of muscle tissue

How can I avoid this in my pet? 
Most commonly, animals develop this kind of situation as they age because their kidney system “wear out”. In this situation, it is not possible to avoid the failing, although it is possible to treat it.
Outdoor animals are at probabilities because they are exposed to antifreeze more regularly. Heartburn of even a bit of antifreeze can lead to serious failing and death.

Dog and cat varieties that are more likely to have genetic kidney situation should not be used for reproduction if they display symptoms and symptoms of kidney situation. These varieties should be supervised for changes in their kidney system at an beginning age.

How is this treated?

Tests are necessary to identify chronic and serious failing and rule out other illnesses. System and pee samples are used to test various kidney features and make sure that infection is not the cause of the actual symptoms and symptoms of situation.

Your animal medical practitioner can distinguish between chronic and serious failing based on your dog’s history, actual exams, and clinical examining. A kidney biopsy may be necessary in some cases. Serious kidney failing is not undoable, but the vet can manage the actual symptoms and symptoms of the situation. Pets may not reply to therapy at all or may live another few months or even decades.

Acute is potentially reversible with aggressive therapy. Both chronic and serious can be life-threatening conditions demanding medical center stay. Treatment may include:

*Intravenous liquids *A special eating plan to decrease aminoacids and salt intake *Medication for hypertension *Hospitalization and encouraging care *Control of throwing up and stomach issues with eating plan and medicines *Medications for anemia (decreased red-blood-cell production) *Potassium supplements *Medications to reduce phosphorus levels in the blood

After your pet simply leaves the medical center, the vet will do it again blood assessments and urinalyses to observe your dog’s situation. Be sure to manage any prescribed medicines and nourish your pet as instructed. You may need to manage liquids under your dog’s skin at home. Your animal medical practitioner can provide guidelines if this become necessary. Following guidelines and working carefully with the vet will give your pet a better total well being and may help extend his lifestyle.
This is a serious medical problem. Whether the situation is serious or chronic, it is typically related to the cause. Cooperate with the vet and follow guidelines for your dog’s eating plan and medications.W