It has recently been alerted to Veterinarians of Australia that there has been a surge in cases of significant kidney injury known as proximal renal tubulopathy or fanconi like syndrome associated with the feeding of imported commercial dehydrated ‘treats’ to dogs. The condition seems to be particularly associated with the feeding of treats made in Asia. At this time, and despite extensive investigation, the actual toxin that causes the disease is unknown.
You may be thinking, how does this happen? Well it’s quite simple actually; there is no official regulatory body for the pet meat industry in Australia. Currently the pet food industry in Australia is ‘self-regulated’ and ‘voluntary’ through one main body, PFIAA (Pet Food Industry Association of Australia). Interestingly, there is no mandatory recall system for pet food, coupled with a lack of mechanisms for consumers to report adverse events. This makes it difficult for us to be confident in the safety of the food we feed our much loved pets.
The hallmark signs of these cases for you to look out for include increased thirst, increased urination, decreased appetite and vomiting. While many pets have recovered with treat withdrawal and necessary supportive care, severe renal failure and death have occurred in some instances.
So which treats are safe? We bet if you questioned vets across Australia, you’d find very few using preserved meat type treats at all. If you want to use them, here are some guidelines: feed ‘treat’ quantities only, try making dog treats yourself with vet advice and choose carefully avoiding Asian manufactured products (at least for now, until the exact problem is identified). If you are unsure whether your treats are safe, you can bring in the packing to your local vet who can look at it for you. Alternatively, you can purchase treats from your vet that are known to be safe.