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Long term effects from chicken jerky?

Species: Dog
Breed: German Shepherd / Bo
Age: 2-5 years
Hello Marie,

I have been feeding my dog Wagon Wheel Chicken Strips for the better part of 2 years now. I was just recently informed of all of the issues with it! For the most part Whiskey has been a healthy, happy, active dog. There have been a few issues that I have had issues with, especially this past year..

He tends to vomit quite often. It is normally when he is really excited and has just had a lot of water. So it is normally just water with a few kibbles, sometimes whitish frothy. I have heard that this can be common in dogs though so had written it off.

He has had loose stools off and on for the past year. I have been working on changing his dog food and diet, but I don't know why I never thought it could be the chicken strips.

I think he has been losing some weight lately and his appetite has been down. But his appetite tends to come in waves as well. The past few days his energy has been down, but i might be over thinking it now.

I guess my main question is what is the damage that might be done to his kidneys or liver with such a long exposure to the chicken strips and what can I do to reverse it or make him better?

I love him. He is my best friend. I can't imagine that I have been slowly poisoning him with these treats. I will take him to the vet to get him checked out, but I am a worrier, I just want to know if he has gotten Fanconi Syndrome that he can get better...

I have read so many of those comments form your article. He has not had any sever reactions compared to most.Most sound like they had immediate responses to the strips... I have already thrown the latest bag out. I am just worried that damage has been done.

Any advice will be so much appreciated. Thank you.

Mary & Whiskey

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Mary. I'm glad that people are finding out about the problems with chicken strips.

The good news is that once you stop feeding tainted chicken jerky, for most dogs there are no lasting effects. Most people have found that within 1-3 weeks their dogs are 100% better. The exception are the poor dogs that went into renal failure because of the treats. However, renal failure sounds unlikely with what you have described.

I think it's a great idea to have your vet have a look at him and do a general blood and urine panel to see if there is anything to worry about.

If the problems continue then there are a great number of possibilities. I would definitely recommend having a fecal sample checked for parasites as this can definitely cause chronic diarrhea.

Because Whiskey has German Shepherd in him I'd ask your vet abou the possibility of something called EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency). It is not very common but can cause some serious issues.

I hope things work out ok! Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie,

So even though he has been exposed to these treats for a long, steady amount of time(1 to 2 treats a day for the past few years) there could be no internal damage? Just by removing these form his diet all could be well?

Sorry, this is just confusing to me. Why are some dogs so effected by these and others not?

Thank you!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I wish I knew the answer to this!

It seems to be that dogs are getting something called Fanconi's syndrome. It causes glucose to leak out of the kidneys which causes more urine to go into the bladder and then causes a dog to need to drink more. But we don't know what is causing the gastrointestinal issues.

If the kidneys are damaged enough to cause severe damage then the changes could be irreversible. But if this were the case then the dog would be very very sick.

It does seem like a lot of the dogs that got really sick were little dogs so it may be a dose related thing.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.