VeggieDent Chews Recalled in Australia
Another chew linked to kidney disease in dogs, irradiation suspected of causing problem.
News item written by Mary Straus, published in the Whole Dog Journal, August 2009.
In June 2009, Virbac recalled VeggieDent Chews for Dogs in Australia as a precautionary measure after veterinary researchers noticed a possible link between dogs developing kidney disease and consumption of these chews. No reason has been found and there is as yet no proof that the chews are causing the Fanconi-like syndrome. The chews were introduced to Australia in March of this year. They are manufactured in Vietnam, and are made of corn, starch, glycerin, soy, rice, yeast, sorbitol, corn derivatives and water.
The Fanconi-like syndrome linked to VeggieDent Chews is similar to that associated with consumption of chicken jerky strips made in China. In fact, it was researchers looking into that problem who first noticed the correlation with VeggieDent chews, when a few dogs who had not consumed chicken jerky treats developed the same form of kidney disease. Possible problems with chicken jerky treats have been reported in the U.S. and elsewhere since 2007. Symptoms include excess drinking and urination, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and glucose in the urine. Despite investigation by the FDA and others, the cause is still unknown.
VeggieDent chews have been marketed in the U.S. since September 2008, and in Europe and Japan for two years, but Virbac claims it has not received reports of problems anywhere except Australia – the only country that required some imported pet foods to be irradiated. Virbac blames the irradiation for the problem.
Neurological problems were found in cats consuming irradiated food in Australia last year, and after this problem, that country dropped the requirement for irradiation of those foods. While researchers are not yet certain what exactly has been responsible for the health problems caused by these irradiated foods, it is suspected that irradiation-induced changes in the food can cause toxicity.
Update 9/24/09: Incidence of Fanconi-like kidney disease in dogs in Australia appears to have ended after two products were removed from the market. The products were Supa Naturals Chicken Breast Strips, made by KraMar in China, and VeggieDent dental treats, made by Virbac. See Following product recalls, Fanconi-like syndrome outbreak abates in Australia for more information.
- Virbac Animal Health, (800) 338-3659
- Virbac recalls VeggieDent chews in Australia
- New mystery arises in cases of Fanconi-like syndrome