Have you heard of Fanconi’s syndrome? If you ever thought of feeding your dog any dehydrated treats or chews, you need to keep reading.
Faconi syndrome is a defect that alters the ability of the kidneys to absorb and retain certain nutrients, electrolytes and water. It can be a hereditary disease that would only affect certain breeds such as Basenji.
However, over the past decade (it was first reported in 2007), the acquired form of the syndrome caused serious problems in many dogs, particularly toy, small and medium-sized ones.
The dogs would start urinating more than usual. They’d loose weight, appetite and become lethargic. About 60% had digestive symptoms, 30% showed signs associated with kidney function, and the remaining 10% developed tremors, convulsions and skin irritation. Some dogs were affected much more than others.
Upon examination, all these dogs had one thing in common. All of them regularly ate jerky treats or chews.
At first, the unsafe treats thought to be from China, but later on it was established that the country of manufacturing did not matter, and the reports on acquired Fanconi’s syndrome came from all over the world including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore.
Additionally, the treats were made from various ingredients – not just the chicken as it was originally thought – and included poultry, beef, glycerine and vegetable base (dried sweet potato chews and certain dental chews).
The root case of the illness is yet to be established, so please think of all the uncertainties and potential problems if you choose to give your dog any chew- and jerky-type treats.
The symptoms are not very easy to spot and if a dog develops them and is taken to the vets, the other causes need to be ruled out first, and the Fanconi’s test may take up to 2 weeks. This means that unless the dog is diagnosed fast, he may not always make it or will be left with chronic kidney problems.
Even thought these cases are rare, a few minutes of chewing bliss aren’t worth the risk. So it’s a good idea to consider a safer and healthier options including dog’s main food, fresh chopped carrots, cucumbers or apples, or even making your own treats at home.