More bad greenies (from CNN) Be careful!

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Born to eat
Barked: Tue Feb 14, '06 3:26pm PST 
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) -- At least 13 dogs have died after being fed the top-selling pet treat in the country, owners and veterinarians have told CNN.

The problem comes because the treats, called Greenies, become lodged in a dog's esophagus or intestine and then some veterinarians say they don't break down.

"I know they are marketed in saying that they do digest. Certainly the ones that we've taken out, esophageal or intestinal, that have been in for days are still very hard," Brendan McKiernan, a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist from Denver, Colorado, told CNN.

Greenies recommends owners check that the treats are chewed and Joe Roetheli - who launched the brand as a treat that can freshen a dog's breath and clean its teeth - said it was important to pick the correct chew for a particular dog. There are 7 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the dog.

But most of the dog owners CNN talked to say they did follow package instructions and they still had a problem.

Mike Eastwood and his wife, Jenny Reiff, recently filed a $5 million lawsuit in New York, blaming Greenies for the intestinal blockage that caused the death of their dog Burt.

"I'm mad that their packaging states that the product is 100 percent edible, highly digestible and veterinarian approved, yet our dog died of it," Eastwood told CNN.

S&M NuTec, which manufactures the toothbrush-shaped chew, won't comment on the case but in court papers denied the allegations.

Roetheli said the focus should be on the dental benefits and Greenies are saving dogs' lives by lowering the risk of periodontal disease.

He says feeding Greenies is far safer than putting a dog under anesthesia to clean teeth.

"Dogs really love the product!" he said. "They do a very effective job of cleaning teeth and freshening breath."

Any suggestion that Greenies are defective was rejected by Roetheli, who developed Greenies with his wife, Judy.

"Our product is safe. It is used every day by thousands of dogs, millions a week and it is basically a very safe product."

A CNN investigation uncovered 40 cases since 2003 where a veterinarian had to extract a Greenie from a dog after the treat became lodged either in the animal's esophagus or intestine. In 13 of those cases, the pet died.

One of those was Tyson, Josh Glass and Leah Falls' 8-month-old boxer, who was taken to Brent-Air Animal Hospital in Los Angeles, California, where vet Dr. Kevin Schlanger found the animal had a blocked intestine.

"It was very clear that it was something dense and firm that had caused the obstruction," Schlanger said. He removed a Greenie from the intestine.

McKiernan's says his Denver clinic has seen at least seven cases in the past five years, which he says is an unusually high number. That prompted him to start researching and writing a paper to warn other veterinarians of the problem.

He says his research, which he hopes to get published in a veterinary journal, shows compressed vegetable chew treats, of which Greenies is the most popular, are now the third biggest cause of esophageal obstruction in dogs behind bones and fish hooks.

The federal Food and Drug Administration says it's looking into eight consumer complaints about Greenies but has no formal investigation.

The issue has also been the topic of news reports across the country.

The chews are made of digestible products like wheat gluten and fiber, experts say, but the molding process makes the treat very firm and hard.

Roetheli, who runs S&M NuTec from Kansas City, Missouri, says Greenies do break down when properly chewed and swallowed by a dog.

He told CNN that any product has the potential to cause an obstruction in a dog and that Greenies packaging warns dog owners to monitor their dog to ensure the treat is adequately chewed. "Gulping any item can be harmful or even fatal to a dog," the package says.

The company's Web site addresses the issue in its FAQ section with the question "When giving an animal Greenies, does it affect their digestive system?" The answer "The only time dogs would be unable to digest anything would be if they didn't chew it up before they swallowed it. Canine and Feline Greenies are highly digestible when chewed."

The company says the number of complaints it has received is very low in relation to the vast numbers of treats sold, and CNN spoke with several vets who recommended Greenies.

Introduced in 1998, we found Greenies now selling for about $16 a pound. Last year, 325 million individual treats were sold around the world, nearly three times the sales of its nearest competitor Milk Bone, according to the marketing company Euromonitor International.

"At the end of the day ... literally millions of Greenies are enjoyed by dogs on a weekly basis with absolutely no incidents," company vet Brad Quest told CNN.
Daisy Mae

Barked: Tue Feb 14, '06 3:53pm PST 
Imagine that! A dog not properly chewing his/her bone before swolling it!
I'm sorry, what an idiot! IMO that is.............................

Edited by author Fri Feb 19, '10 10:19am PST

Logan- ♥

You say spoiled- like it's a bad- thing.
Barked: Tue Feb 14, '06 4:53pm PST 
I'm SO glad this is getting national attention! I hope this helps Burt's mom and dad.

Member Since
Other posts by this user
Barked: Tue Feb 14, '06 5:07pm PST 
Everytime an innocent dog dies from these evil Greenies, the company brings up the fact that "choosing" the correct size is crucial.

Ok, here's my problem. I don't care if you went out and purchasesd a 10lb greenie for a 5lb dog.... Its meant to be chewed...!! Hello Mr. Greenie inventor.... Its the chewing off of pieces and swollowing it that causes this damn problem. Errr, sorry. I'm getting angry. I can't believe the company insists on using this as an excuse to blame the owners for their dog's death.
Cosmic- Isabel- Roverandom

To Infinity and- Beyond!
Barked: Tue Feb 14, '06 9:54pm PST 
It's the same old story. They say that since a million dogs eat this thing and only a relative handful have problems and/or die from it that it's really safe. A responsible, caring company would say something like, "Hey, our product has killed dogs. We ought to look into that and see what we can do to change our product so this doesn't happen." Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where a company thought one death was unacceptable? It's a greedy world out there folks. The silver lining in this is that Burt's family is leading the charge against this kind of corporate irresponsibility. I hope they take the company to the cleaners.

The Mighty- Labradorus--Rarr- !
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '06 8:50am PST 
It was a great segment on CNN last night with Paula Zahn. They really made the owner of Greenies look like a moron and a monster for saying that the dental benefit outweighs the deaths and health risk.

The best things- come in little- packages
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '06 10:38am PST 
Here's a link to the article and a video if you want to see the segment on it. Its more than 7 minutes long!

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/14/dangerous.dogtreat/index.h tml

Ich liebe chico
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '06 10:40am PST 
what ARE greenies?!? never even herd of em'
Lucy - 2004-2009

Keep on- Whoooo-in
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '06 12:28pm PST 
Lucy's mom here. That's really cool that you found the Cnn link. I'm going to watch it when I get home from work tonight. Greenies are this little or large, depending on size, green processed bones that are supposed to help prevent tarter and freshen breath. Some even come in the shape of a tooth brush. oh yeah! whatever, I'm also glad this is getting national attention. Maybe we can get them to go out of business! along w/ol roy and alpo and and and....
Mocha Bear- (Mokie),- VGG, KPA,

CEO of Rewarding- Behaviors Dog- Training
Barked: Wed Feb 15, '06 12:34pm PST 
Burt...he's so used to me being on his side, that I'm sure he won't be surprised to hear how proud I am of his two-leggers. Burt, while you're playing across the bridge, your mum and pop are doing everything they can to save other doggies from a similarly horrible fate. Every day you make me proud of you. Keep up the good work, and dog bless you for bringing attention to this obviously serious health matter...you may have saved Mokie from a similar fate, and I will always, always be thankful!
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