Sick Poodle Leads to Revelation of Pet Food Recall That Should Have Been–But Wasn’t

A few days ago I treated a five-year-old Toy Poodle who had been vomiting and hadn't eaten for nearly a week. Blood and urine tests...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Dec 13th 2008


A few days ago I treated a five-year-old Toy Poodle who had been vomiting and hadn’t eaten for nearly a week. Blood and urine tests were normal. X-rays did not show any irregularities.

The poor dog clearly felt terrible. I wanted him to undergo an ultrasound examination immediately. The facility where I was working did not have an ultrasound machine or an intensive care unit, so I referred him to a specialist.

Fortunately, the ultrasound examination was normal, and the dog made a complete recovery after two days of nursing care. But the specialist’s assessment of the case was disturbing. Here is a quote from a letter that she wrote to me.

In a phone discussion with the owners . . . they reported that their other small breed dogs at home were showing similar clinical signs . . . [at the time the Poodle was discharged from the hospital, the] owners brought with them the chicken jerky treats that they had been feeding prior to onset of [the Poodle’s] illness. The treats are manufactured in China and are supposed to be made up of 100% chicken breast. Last year, I saw a number of small breed dogs that ate similar treats (though a different brand), that presented with the same clinical signs of vomiting and prolonged [refusal to eat] after the vomiting resolved . . . A number of veterinarians at other hospitals had seen similar cases as well, presumed to have resulted from ingestion of a variety of brands of chicken jerky treats manufactured in China. Investigation of the products was not successful in identifying the offending substance and, unfortunately, removal of theses products from the market was not made mandatory.

If you have any canine chicken jerky treats at home, I’d recommend throwing them away.

About the photo: Dolly, fortunately, has no reported health problems.