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More Pet Jerky Recalls - Toxic Antibiotic Residues Found

This article originally appeared on my ongoing series of articles for Flexcin International, Inc as More Pet Jerky Recalls - Toxic Antibiotic Residues Found Finally, something is being done about the toxic chicken jerky treat situation. If you are not yet aware, some pets are being sickened or even dying after eating chicken jerky treats made in China. The exact toxic mechanism associated with the treats has not yet been discovered. According to recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Report Regarding Jerky Pet Treats and Illnesses, the products have caused the death of over 500 dogs and nine cats.  An updated tally of reports filed with the FDA indicates 2,674 reports of illness affecting 3,243 dogs and 501 deaths.  Nine cats have also been sickened and there has been one feline death. In the summer of 2012, an estimated 2,200 bouts of illness were reported, including 360 canine and one feline death. So far, though, FDA has not been able to confirm a link between the treats and the ailments.

Why has there recently been a recall?

Because the toxic mechanism is unknown, the FDA has not been able to institute a recall of the treats in question.  Pet owners worldwide recently were given some hope, as the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found antibiotic residues in Nestlé Purina PetCare Company’s Waggin Train and Milo’s Kitchen products.  A recall  of treats having UPC code 41415-18527 has pulled the products from store shelves and on line sales.

How antibiotic residues were found

Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) tests discovered four antibiotics not approved for use in poultry in the United States.  Additionally, one that is approved was found.  The antibiotics include Enrofloxacin, Sulfaclozine, Sulfaquinoxaline, Tilmicosin, Trimethoprim.  The antibiotic residues themselves are not necessarily toxic, yet their discovery violates FDA law and subsequently requires them to be removed.

Health Consequences Associated with Sulfonamides

In both cats and dogs, there are well documented adverse reactions to five antibiotics found in the treats, especially to products considered to be sulfonamindes (“sulfa drugs”). veterinary information indicates the potential for sulfonamides to:
  1. Cause hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions
  2. Be carcinogenic (cancer causing)
  3. Have negative interactions with other drugs
Additionally, sulfonamides should not be used with patients having known hypersensitivity to the drugs (the Doberman is a breed known to for such reactions) or kidney or liver impairment.
Considering the chicken jerky treats clinically cause an unusual form of kidney failure (Fanconi Syndrome), one has to think that if a dog or cat consumed enough of these treats containing sulfonamide antibiotics - a correlation could be established.
In my own dog having Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, I avoid sulfa drugs, as they can leave residues on the outer surface of red blood cell membranes which then triggers the immune system to destroy the cell.

What Can Pet Owners Do to Keep Their Pets Safe?

In general, my recommendation is to not feed your pets any food products coming from other countries (but for Canada).  Carefully examine your pets’ food labels for “Made in the USA”.  Additionally, look for ingredients that you would be willing to eat yourself. If you are not willing to eat the food or treats your pets are eating, then you should be questioning be the health value in serving that style of canine or feline cuisine. Additionally, consider a treat for your pet is not a processed dog or cat food treat. There are plenty ofnutritioushuman grade options that can be given to both dogs and cats as snacks.  See These Foods Make Great Pet Treats.
Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook. Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.
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