Winston- Montgomery- Churchhill

Barked: Thu Nov 29, '07 9:43pm PST 
Winston’s story:

Winston is my 5.5 pound 6 year old Yorkshire terrier ~ and the love of my life. For his entire life Winston has eaten nothing but home-cooked organic chicken and rice. In late Aug 2007 we began feeding him Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders~ basically chicken jerky treats which we purchased from PetSmart in El Segundo CA.
I only purchased the product because it said “All Natural”, listed chicken breast as the only ingredient and showed that the company was in Sunvalley, California. He initially liked the treats very much. I was amazed because I had never been able to find a treat he liked. I had basically given up looking for one after wasting so much money trying. On average I would feed him ½ a piece (because he is small) a few times a week. With a half a bag left and for no reason that I could understand, he abruptly refused to eat any more chicken treats. I went to PetSmart to see if I could find something else he liked. I decided to try the Smokehouse Duck Breast Tenders treats. Again he loved them. Over several weeks he finished the bag. Soon after he began throwing up yellowish foamy bile and lost his appetite. He then became lethargic, continued to refuse food for several days and his breath began to smell strange. His vet Dr. Jennifer Bailey took blood, stool and urine samples for testing. She asked what he had been eating. I told her about his home-cooked organic diet and the Smokehouse treats. Immediately she mentioned that other dogs were becoming sick on these. He was diagnosed with acute renal failure, and he was hospitalized Nov 15, 2007. At this time there was a sonogram on Winston’s kidneys which showed irregular shaped kidneys. Winston remained hospitalized on IV fluids, Raglan, Sodium Bicarbonate, Carafate, Pepcid AC given both orally and subcutaneously on a timed schedule for the next 6 days. On average I spent 9-11 hours a day in the hospital just holding him and telling him how much we loved him. One day early in the week, we thought we were losing him. He got a lost vacant look in his eyes. My husband and I both saw it but refused to mention it to each other out of fear we might be right. I must say that was the worst night of our lives. As days followed he showed signs of improvement. My husband and I decided to voluntarily check Winston out and take him home Wednesday 21st 2007 to have him home for Thanksgiving since the veterinary hospital would be closed and allowing no visitors. We could not bare the thought of him being scared and alone for even one night.

Since then he has been maintaining on treatments of: SQ fluids (75) 2X day, sodium bicarbonate 3X day, Pepcid AC 1 X day, and raglan as needed. All of his meals are home-cooked and exactly proportioned (protein to carbohydrate ratios) for dogs with kidney damage.

Here is what we have found out about this illness from speaking with our Vet as well as the team at UC Davis Animal Medical Center in San Diego. The condition very closely resembles Fanconi syndrome and many do recover, but slowly and over many months. UC Davis has tracked over 40 cases, and all of them follow a similar pattern. Fanconi is extremely rare, and they went from seeing maybe one a month to 10 and 20 a month. I understand that as of now the FDA has received over 100 complaints regarding chicken jerky treats either causing illness or death in dogs (many of which were Yorkies~ sadly). Cornell Veterinary College is conducting tests to figure out what is in these treats, too. At our pet hospital alone, there were about 7 animals that came down with this affliction. ALL of them ate jerky treats. Unfortunately, two puppies died as a result. The puppies’ owner began some independent tests, and early indications are that the treats may be contaminated with Melamine. What they did not find (thank God) was the additional toxin cyanuric acid. It was this one-two punch of toxins that killed all of those poor animals around March. Many of the pet owners here saved their packages and our vet is sending samples to the FDA.
We are telling everyone we know to avoid any of these types of jerky treats altogether ~made by any brand. Similar products are being marketed under names like Betros, Wagon Train etc. If it is from China, or a jerky treat, it will never get close to our house again. My belief is that it has been difficult to get concrete proof because not all lots have been tainted. There definitely something bad in these products.
I called Smokehouse to tell them what had happened, and that something needed to be done. The woman she spoke with at Smokehouse was an absolute “b&%h” and said something to the effect that "not enough animals have been hurt or killed to warrant pulling them off the shelves!".
I am so thankful our little guy seems to be on the mend. Now we are trying to get Smokehouse products off the shelves . We will be contacting local TV and print media, legal counsel, and every person we know. I hope PetSmart; Wal-Mart , Cost Co etc don’t think they are off the hook . We could have avoided all of this heartache had we known what was happening. …please contact me or 310-259-9163 if you or someone you know has been hurt by ANY type of jerky treat…we are trying to join forces to have the removed from the stores!

Much Love~