September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Pet Pain1

While we are different species, we all process and feel pain similarly. As advances in modern medicine have increased our lifespan, our animal family members are also reaping the benefits of advances in modern veterinary medicine. More of our beloved pets are undergoing elective surgical procedures to treat a variety of disease processes, from a torn cruciate ligament to extractions of infected teeth.

Pain management has become an important specialty area in veterinary medicine just as it has in human medicine. You want the best for your family members and that includes top-of-the-line treatments for pain management.

Because their pain is our pain

It was once thought that animals did not experience pain in the same way people do. But research supports that if a procedure is thought to be painful to us, it will also be painful to our furry friends as well, even though they may go to great lengths to hide it from us. So proper pain management must be offered to all of our patients.

What you can do

  1. Ask our veterinary team about the customized steps we will take to manage your pet’s pain.
  2. Talk to our veterinary team about common signs of osteoarthritis pain in senior pets, such as reluctance to go up or down stairs, being slow to rise after sleeping and loss of interest in playing, running or jumping.
  3. Request a pain consultation for your pet. Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians offer tailored pain management protocols for patients at risk for chronic pain such as osteoarthritis.
  4. Ask about rehabilitation options and other steps to manage any chronic pain your pet experiences.

Pain management is an important aspect of any surgical or medical procedure.  Together with our veterinary team, you can make your pets as comfortable as possible in the postoperative period or into their senior years.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Ear Infections in Dogs- Causes and Treatments

EarInfection-ImgC

How common are ear infections in dogs?

Infection of the external ear canal (outer ear infection) is called otitis externa and is one of the most common types of infections seen in dogs. Some breeds, particularly those with large, floppy or hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles or Old English Sheepdogs, appear to be more prone to ear infections, but ear infections may occur in any breed.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Ear infections are painful. Many dogs will shake their head and scratch their ears trying to relieve the discomfort. The ears often become red and inflamed and develop an offensive odor. A black or yellowish discharge commonly occurs. In chronic cases the ears may appear crusty or thickened and the ear canals often become narrowed (stenotic) due to the chronic inflammation.

Don’t these symptoms usually indicate ear mites?

Ear mites can cause several of these symptoms, including a black discharge, scratching, and head shaking. However, ear mite infections are more common in puppies and kittens. Adult dogs may occasionally contract ear mites from puppies or cats that are infected. Ear mites create an environment within the ear canal that often leads to a secondary bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection.

Since these symptoms are similar and usually mean an infection, why can’t I just get some ear medication?

There are several kinds of bacteria and at least one type of fungus that commonly cause ear infections. Without knowing EarInfection-ImgAthe specific kind of infection present, we do not know which medication to use. In some cases, the problem is a foreign body, a polyp or a tumor. Treatment with medication alone will not resolve these problems. It is important that your dog be examined to ensure that the eardrum is intact. Administration of certain medications can result in loss of hearing if the eardrum is ruptured. This can only be detected by a thorough ear examination by your veterinarian.

How do you know which drug to use?

First, the ear canal is examined with an otoscope, an instrument that provides magnification and light. This examination allows your veterinarian to determine whether the eardrum is intact and if there is any foreign material in the canal. When a dog is in extreme pain and refuses to allow the examination, it may be necessary to sedate or anesthetize the dog for a thorough examination.

The next step is to examine a sample of the material from the ear canal under a microscope to determine the type of organism causing the infection. Microscopic examination is important in helping the veterinarian choose the right medication to treat the inflamed ear canal. Culture and sensitivity tests are often used in severe or chronic ear infections.

How are ear infections treated?

The results of the otoscopic and microscopic examination usually determine the diagnosis and course of treatment. If there is a foreign body, wax plug or parasite lodged in the ear canal, it will be removed. Some dogs must be sedated for this, or to allow a thorough ear flushing and cleaning. Microscopic study of debris from the ear canal helps determine which drug to use. Many dogs will have more than one type of infection present (e.g., a bacterium and a fungus, or two kinds of bacteria). This situation usually requires the use of multiple medications or a broad-spectrum medication.

“Many dogs with chronic or recurrent ear infections have allergies or
low thyroid function (hypothyroidism).”

An important part of the evaluation of the patient is the identification of underlying disease. Many dogs with chronic or recurrent ear infections have allergies or low thyroid function (hypothyroidism). If underlying disease is suspected, it must be diagnosed and treated or the pet will continue to experience chronic ear problems.

What is the prognosis?

Nearly all ear infections that are properly diagnosed and treated can be successfully managed. However, if an underlying cause remains unidentified and untreated, the outcome will be less favorable. Several recheck examinations may be needed before the outcome is successful.

How important is it to treat an ear infection?

Dogs with ear infections are uncomfortable. Their ears are a source of constant pain and they frequently scratch them and shake their head. This can cause a condition called an “aural hematoma”, in which blood vessels in the ear flap break, causing a painful swelling that requires surgical treatment. Deep ear infections can damage or rupture the eardrum, causing an internal ear infection and even permanent hearing loss.

My dog’s ear canal is nearly closed. Is that a problem?

Closing of the ear canal is another result of a chronic ear infection. This is known as hyperplasia or stenosis If the ear canal is swollen, it is difficult or impossible for medications to penetrate into the horizontal canal. Anti-inflammatory medications can sometimes shrink the swollen tissues and open the canal in some dogs. Most cases of hyperplasia will eventually require surgery.

What is the goal of ear canal surgery?

There are several surgical procedures that are used to treat this problem. The most commonly performed surgery is called a lateral ear resection. The goal of the surgery is to remove the vertical part of the ear canal and to eliminate the swollen tissue from the horizontal canal. It is relatively easy to remove the vertical canal, but removal of large amounts of tissue from the horizontal canal is more difficult. In some cases, it is necessary to remove the entire ear canal (total ear ablation), which may result in permanent impairment of hearing.

Is there anything I need to know about administering medication in the ear?

It is important to get the medication into the horizontal part of the ear canal. Unlike our ear canal, the dog’s external ear canal is “L” shaped. The vertical canal connects with the outside of the ear and is the upper part of the “L”. The horizontal canal lies deeper in the canal and terminates at the eardrum. Our goal is to administer the medication into the lower part of the “L” – the horizontal ear canal.

The ear canal may be medicated by following these steps:

  1. EarInfection-ImgB1Gently pull the earflap straight up and slightly toward the back and hold it with one hand.
  2. Using the other hand, apply a small amount of medication into the vertical part of the ear canal while continuing to keep the earflap elevated. Hold the ear up long enough for the medication to run down to the turn between the vertical and horizontal canal.
  3. Put one finger in front of and at the base of the earflap, and put your thumb behind and at the base.
  4. Massage the ear canal between your fingers and thumb. A “squishing” sound tells you that the medication has gone into the horizontal canal.
  5. Release the ear and let your dog shake its head. Many medications will contain a wax solvent and you may observe debris dissolved in this solvent leaving the ear as your dog shakes its head.

If a second medication is to be used, apply it in the same manner. Typically, you should wait 5-30 minutes before applying additional medications. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for specific directions regarding any ear medication or cleansing agents.

“Do not use cotton tipped applicators to do this, as they tend to push
debris back into the vertical ear canal.”

When all medications have been applied, clean the outer part of the ear canal and the inside of the earflap with a cotton ball soaked in some of the medication. Do not use cotton tipped applicators to do this, as they tend to push debris back into the vertical ear canal.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Pekin Community High School Career Fair

PCHS Career Fair- Participation Certificate Final

Lange Animal Clinic participated in the 2015 Pekin Community High School Career Fair for high school students and it was a great success for everyone involved.  We were very grateful to be a part of such a wonderful community event to help in the guiding of students preparing to take their next steps toward their careers.

Pictured right- Dr. Kourtney Grimm.  Pictured left- Kelly Wilda
Pictured right- Dr. Kourtney Grimm. Pictured left- Kelly Wilda

Representing the clinic were Dr. Kourtney Grimm (DVM), Kelly Wilda (Sr. Veterinary Assistant), and our Practice Manager, Terry Bennett.  Thank you to the support team and staff at Pekin Community High School for making this such a great event. We hope the students took away a lot of valuable information and insights toward preparing them for the next chapters in their lives!

Pictured right- Dr. Kourtney Grimm.  Pictured left- Kelly Wilda
Pictured right- Dr. Kourtney Grimm. Pictured left- Kelly Wilda

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Setup an Appointment

 

Thunderstorms and Easing Your Pets’ Fear

tstorm

It is still relevantly unknown as to why some pets become afraid of noises such as thunderstorms.  This is a common problem in dogs, but less so in cats. The fear can soon become a phobia for a pet causing irrational fear response(s) and behavior issues. In the case of thunderstorms, pets may be fearful of storm-associated events such as a change in barometric pressure, lightning, electrostatic disturbances, and even smells associated with the storms. Noise phobias can include fear of thunder and severe gusts of wind knocking down larger outdoor items.

Some studies suggest that certain breeds of dogs have an above average risk of developing noise phobias. These include such breeds as: Collies, German Shepherds, Beagles, and Basset Hounds. A noise phobia may be traced to a particular bad experience of a noise, but often, no triggering event can be ascertained. In most cases, the fear of noises and storms can progressively worsen. Over time, a pet may become fearful of similar sounds or events associated with the noise.

Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians in Pekin, IL believe that an owner’s attitude can influence the severity of the fear. For instance, if owners themselves are nervous during storms, noise phobias in their pets may occur more often or become more severe. Similarly, if the owner attempts to overly comfort the animal, the animal interprets it as confirming there really is something to be afraid of. The over petting or comforting is really positive reinforcement of an undesirable behavior.

Signs or behaviors to watch for during Thunderstorms

Dogs or cats may display different signs of noise phobias which may include one or more of the following:

  • Hiding (most common sign in cats)
  • Urinating
  • Defecating
  • Chewing
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Trying to escape (digging, jumping through windows or going through walls, running away)
  • Drooling
  • Seeking the owner
  • Expressing anal glands
  • Not eating
  • Not listening to commands
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Vocalizing (barking or meowing)

Consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to help you address any animal behavior problems.  We will assist you in developing the appropriate treatment plan for your pet.

How do you treat noise phobia?

There are no guarantees that a noise phobia can be eliminated completely, but in most cases the fear can be effectively managed. The type of treatment and success levels depend on several factors including the severity of the phobia, how long your pet has had to deal with it, how often it is occurring, seasonality, and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to correcting the behavior.

The first thing to remember is that you should refrain from giving excessive attention or punishment for fearful behavior. Continuous petting or coddling may be perceived by the pet as a reward for the fearful response. In the event of overcompensating comfort a dog during a storm, for example, it may signal to the pet that the storm really is something he should be afraid of. Similarly, the pet should not be punished for showing fear. This will only increase his anxiety level. Instead, emit confidence, and provide your dog attention in the form of playing, grooming, or other activities he or she enjoys.

The following are some techniques to use to help change the phobia of thunderstorms:

Change the surroundings
By changing the surroundings of the animal during the storm or noise, the anxiety level can be reduced. Changing the pet’s surroundings may reduce the volume level of the sound or help make the pet less aware of it.  “White noise,” such as running a fan or air conditioner may aid in blocking out some of the fear-producing noise. Playing a TV or radio can have a similar effect. Allowing the pet access to the basement or a room without outside walls or windows may decrease the noise level

Exercise your pet (and yourself too!)
The pet should receive consistent exercise on a daily basis, and more so on a day when the thunderous noise occur during storms. The exercise will help to wear down your animal, both mentally and physically, and may reduce the pet’s responsive to the noise. In addition, exercise has the effect of increasing natural serotonin levels, which can act as a sedative.

Create a safety zone for your pet
Pets may feel more comfortable and relaxed in a small space such as a crate or a small room like a bathroom (run the fan and leave the lights on). Some pets seek out the safety of the bathtub or shower during a storm. (Some have hypothesized that a pet may feel less static electricity if on tile or porcelain.) If the pet is comfortable in a crate, the crate can be covered with a blanket to add to the feeling of security. The door to the crate should be left open and the pet should not be confined to the crate, which could dramatically increase the stress level.

Maintain calm and composure
Pets can very easily pickup on the mental state of their owners. If you too are nervous because of the storm- this will only add to the dog or cat’s fear. Your pet will look to you for direction, so keep an “upbeat” and “in charge” attitude.

Maintain good health and nutrition
Health problems may increase the stress level of pets, and increase their anxiety. For instance, a dog in pain because of hip dysplasia may be more irritable and prone to other behavior changes. Diets too high in protein have been linked to some behavioral problems. Consult one of the Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians if you would like advice about changing your pet’s diet.

Special techniques can be used to help change the animal’s response to the noise.  We can offer guidance and suggestions to help.  Second level alternatives may include anti-anxiety medications but we strongly encourage following the above techniques first to identify whether or not success can be achieved using those methods before relying on medications.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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How to Clean Your Dog or Cat’s Ears

Ear Cleaning
There are three very important things that you need to know about dogs’ and cats’ ears before reading these guidelines being presented.  If you are not comfortable performing an ear cleaning on your own or wish to see a demonstrations on how to do so- contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian:

–  Pets’ ears are sensitive, so they need regular maintenance to prevent infections.
–  Dogs or cats don’t want their ears cleaned, so you’re going to have to work with them.
–  If you don’t do it the right way, you can cause serious damage.

Regular routine cleaning of your dog or cat’s ears is recommended as part of his grooming protocol. Regular cleaning will help keep your pet’s ears healthy, clean and free of disease.  There are numerous ear cleansing solutions that can be used to clean your dog or cat’s ears that we have in stock. If in doubt, speak to one of our associates to recommend an appropriate cleanser for your pet.

  1. Start the cleaning process by filling your pet’s ear canal with the cleansing solution.
  2. Massage the outside of the ear canal gently to break up any debris within the canal. If you release your dog or cat’s head at this point, he will likely shake his head and send cleansing solution and debris everywhere.
  3. Use a cotton ball and your finger to swab the inside of your pet’s ear to remove the excess cleansing solution and debris from your dog or cat’s ear. Repeat this process until your pet’s ear is clean.
  4. Proceed to the opposite ear. Never use Q-Tips or similar types of products to clean your dog or cat’s ears. These tools can rupture your pet’s ear drum if used incorrectly.

Clean your pet’s ears as often as necessary to keep them free of debris and wax. Some pets may need to have their ears cleaned as often as once or twice a week.

Examine Your Pet’s Ears for Signs of Infection, Inflammation or Other Ear Disease While Cleaning

While you are cleaning your dog or cat’s ears, take a moment to look closely at them.  Healthy ears should have little to no discharge, should not reddened or inflamed, and should not have an unpleasant odor.  These signs may an indication of infection or other disease and should be checked by a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian if present.  Also, check your pet’s ears for lumps and bumps that are not part of the natural contours of the ears, for foreign bodies and other abnormalities.  Spotting the signs of ear disease early, before the disease has become severe, can make management of the disease much simpler and save your pet from needless pain and discomfort as well.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment

Help Prevent and Fight Cruelty to Animals

Cruelty Dog

Lange Animal Clinic is an avid ASPCA supporter with dedicated Agents that perform great work to save the lives of animals across the country. But did you know that you, too, can help crack down on animal cruelty in your community? Read on for simple actions you can take to make the world a safer place for animals.

Here are some other signs and symptoms that we see in many of the cases the ASPCA can investigate:

  • Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal’s death.
  • Wounds on the body.
  • Patches of missing hair.
  • Extremely thin, starving animals.
  • Limping.
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
  • Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed above-and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
  • Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.

Steps you can take

  1. Know who to call to report animal cruelty. Every state and every town are different. In some areas, you may have to rely on the police department to investigate animal cruelty; in others, you may have to contact local animal control or another municipal agency. If you aren’t sure where to report cruelty, please visit the ASPCA Report Animal Cruelty section.
  2. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood. By being aware, you’re more likely to notice, for example, that the dog next door who was once hefty has lost weight rapidly—a possible indicator of abuse.
  3. Make the call. Without phone calls from concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, we wouldn’t know about most instances of animal abuse. It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU—that’s why it’s so important to keep your eyes and ears open.
  4. Provide as much as information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.
  5. Contact your local law enforcement department and let them know that investigating animal cruelty should be a priority. Animal cruelty is a CRIME—and the police MUST investigate these crimes.
  6. Fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. With stronger laws come tougher penalties. As an ASPCA Advocacy Brigade member, you’ll receive emails asking you to write letters encouraging your legislators to pass these laws—and you can send them directly from our website.
  7. Set a good example for others. If you have pets, be sure to always show them the love and good care they deserve. But it’s more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. If you think your animal is sick, bring him to the veterinarian. Be responsible and have your animals spayed or neutered. And give your pets lots of hugs!
  8. Talk to your kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. We regularly see children in homes where animal abuse has been reported. If a parent isn’t treating the family’s pets right, we tell the kids that their dog or cat would really appreciate fresh water every day or some daily playtime. If the animal has been left outside without shelter, we’ll say, ‘You have a nice house, and if you get cold, you can put a coat on. But your dog can’t do that.’ Children understand that animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy and sadness.
  9. Support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. It’s a great way to make a difference. Some of our ASPCA volunteers foster animals who have been abused in their former homes, giving these dogs and cats the chance they deserve to have a good life. You can find a list of shelters and rescue groups in your area in our National Shelter Directory.
  10. Start a Neighborhood Watch Program. Get to know the animals in your neighborhood and invite your friends and neighbors to do the same. Together you can keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviors—abuse and neglect of companion animals, the mistreatment of local wildlife, dogs left in hot cars and other signs of abuse.

AVOID JERKEY STYLE DOG TREATS- American-made jerky tied to illness in dogs

Dog Treats

Dogs fed jerky-style pet treats labeled as made in the United States are turning up with a rare kidney disease that’s been associated with jerky made in China.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the agency is “aware of complaints related to ‘USA’ made products.” Siobhan DeLancey of the FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine said: “We have found some of these products may contain ingredients from outside of the U.S. FDA continues its investigation into these, as well as other, jerky treats potentially linked to illnesses.”

Dr. Urs Giger, director of the Metabolic Genetics Screening Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, said his laboratory has diagnosed recent cases of acquired Fanconi disease in dogs that ate treats that ostensibly were not made in China or with ingredients from China.

Since 2007, the FDA has been receiving complaints of illness in pets, predominantly dogs, that ate jerky treats. The phenomenon became commonly understood as a Chinese-chicken-jerky-treat problem because most of the products were chicken-based and made in China. Until recently, virtually all chicken jerky for pets was imported from China.

FDA and other investigators have been unable to identify a contaminant in the implicated treats or other reason for illness. But public pressure led many companies selling treats to shift or establish manufacturing operations in the United States within the past year or two.

In February, the FDA reported that the rate of complaints it received involving jerky treats slowed between May and Sept. 30, raising hopes that the problem might resolve on its own. Whether that trend has continued since then is unclear; the agency has not posted an updated tally.

One thing is clear: Veterinarians still are seeing cases of jerky-related illnesses. Dr. Bonnie Werner, an internal medicine specialist at Animal Emergency Medical Center in Torrance, California, for example, is treating a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier who was referred by her regular veterinarian. The dog was sick with vomiting and diarrhea for more than a week prior.

According to Werner, tests showed the dog had impaired kidney function and glycosuria — glucose in urine — which are signs that point to acquired Fanconi disease.

Werner said the dog’s owner was aware of the link between jerky treats and illness but thought that products made in the U.S. were safe. As a regular treat, the 5-pound terrier was given Spot Farms “all-natural chicken strips,” Werner said. The strips are described on the product website as made from “antibiotic-free chicken raised on family farms in Kentucky.”

The website also says that “all of the ingredients that we use in our products are certified fit for human consumption. Because all of the ingredients used in our treats are all natural, our treats are free of artificial colors and preservatives. You won’t find things like BHA, BHT, or any other chemical with strange abbreviated names in any of our treats.”

Werner said she called the company’s customer-service line the first day she saw the patient. “The representative just kept repeating that the chicken was raised in Kentucky and that all the other ingredients were sourced from U.S. companies,” Werner said in an interview by email. “She did not have any information on whether those companies use ingredients from overseas.”

A spokeswoman for Spot Farms, contacted by the VIN News Service on Friday, was unaware of the veterinarian’s phone call and the case of illness.

Julie DeYoung, a member of the media-relations staff for the chicken-producing company Perdue Farms Inc., which owns Spot Farms, said in a written statement: “We are deeply saddened to hear of this dog’s illness. We … (do not know) the circumstances regarding the dog’s illness or whether our treats were a factor. What we do know is that we have never received any reports of serious illness since we launched Spot Farms dog treats in 2013.”

DeYoung noted that the treats are not meant to be fed in large quantities. “Because we do not use any fillers in our chicken strips, our treats are very high in protein,” she wrote. “It is always important, especially with smaller dogs, to adhere to the feeding guidelines by dog size printed on the back of each bag.”

In a follow-up telephone conversation Monday, DeYoung said the company is trying to determine why Werner’s call to customer service wasn’t forwarded to managers as called for by the company’s “standard procedure if we receive a call relating to a sickness.”

DeYoung added that the company has since spoken with Werner as well as the dog’s owner. “We’re gathering information that will hopefully allow us to evaluate whether our treats are the cause of this illness. We’re highly motivated to understand what happened here, and what role, if any, our treats played,” she said.

On Friday, Werner said she intended to report the case to the FDA but had not yet done so.

She said the Yorkshire terrier requires intravenous fluids to bring her kidney function near normal. “Her kidneys have not repaired themselves yet,” Werner said, adding that the pet’s future is uncertain because her owners have reached their financial limit for treatment.

Not only are cases continuing to occur in the United States, instances of jerky-associated Fanconi have begun turning up in Europe, as well.

Giger, the metabolic genetics lab director at UPenn, said, “We have recently received samples from Europe where we confirmed an acquired Fanconi syndrome and associated it to jerky-treat consumption, and reversal (of illness) or improvement following withdrawal (of the treats).”

Only two years ago, during a talk with clinical pathologists in Berlin, Giger found that “they had not even heard or seen a case.”

Giger co-authored a report of the first jerky-related case of Fanconi in Europe to be recorded in a scientific journal. Involving a 5-year-old male border terrier, the case was published April 5, 2014, in Veterinary Record, the journal of the British Veterinary Association. Every day, the dog ate various beef and chicken jerky treats, some of which contained ingredients originating in China. His clinical signs improved four weeks after he no longer was given the treats. By 19 weeks after he first took ill, the owner reported that the dog was completely normal.

As a geneticist, Giger encountered the jerky-treat issue through his work on hereditary Fanconi syndrome. His laboratory has provided Fanconi screening for decades, he said. Historically, Fanconi in dogs was a well-recognized genetic disease in basenjis. Around 2007, Giger said, the laboratory began seeing cases of Fanconi-like syndrome in other breeds, mostly small-breed dogs and mostly related to jerky consumption.

Between 2009 and 2012, Giger said his lab identified 400 cases of Fanconi. He said he continues to see new cases weekly, amounting to about 100 per year.

Whether American-made treats are less suspect than or equally suspect as Chinese-made treats is impossible to say, Giger said, because labels tend to tell an incomplete story.

“When you’re looking at pet jerky-treat products, and I’ve checked shelves at stores, the label does not necessarily say where it came from,” Giger said. “It (identifies) the company but not where it was manufactured or where (all) the ingredients came from.”

If a marketer claimed a product was made from ingredients that originated solely in the United States, he said, “one would have to check on that very carefully, as manufacturers may have sourced ingredients through third parties.”

Asked whether jerky inherently might make some dogs sick, Giger said he thinks not, because he’s seen cases in which dogs ate homemade jerky without becoming ill, then became ill when fed commercially manufactured jerkies.

He speculated that homemade jerkies would be softer in texture than mass-produced treats, which he said likely are subject to any of a variety of processes, possibly including marination or irradiation.

Giger added that treats associated with illness aren’t necessarily identified as jerky, but may contain jerky and be called sausages or biscuits or something else.

In light of the ongoing mystery, Giger suggested that pet owners consider refraining from giving any commercial jerky treats to their pets. “While some may think pets cannot be without jerky treats, I do not consider them as part of a healthy diet or treat, even when labeled ‘all natural,’ and thus, currently do not recommend any,” he said.

URL: http://news.vin.com/doc/?id=6699965