Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Chinese Jerky Treat Toxicity – What is this all about?

A very hot topic in the veterinary world is the reported toxicity caused by jerky treats manufactured in China.  While no one has been able to prove the link between these treats and the cause of illness, dogs (and some cats) have been showing clinical signs of gastroenteritis and kidney disease, specifically a condition called Fanconi Syndrome.  Fanconi Syndrome is a disease where the proximal tubules in the kidneys aren’t functioning properly and glucose and other substances in the body are lost through the kidneys.

The FDA has been investigating this issue for many years, although it has gained media attention just recently as the number of reported deaths continues to rise.   Approximately 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have been reportedly affected since 2007; Over 500 of these pets have died.  The jerky treats have been evaluated for residues and toxins although nothing definitive has been detected to explain the reported clinical signs.  It is therefore impossible to predict which treats are affected and which dogs will develop clinical disease.  Over 1200 different jerky pet treat samples have been tested and many different companies have been named as culprits, but once again there is no definitive link to any of them.

In January 2013 a number of jerky treats were removed from the market due to the detection of up to six drugs in the treats that, although at low levels and unlikely to cause illness, were not supposed to be present.  Many other companies have placed voluntary recalls for their treats in wake of the uproar.  These recalls are voluntary – don’t assume that just because your dog ate some of these treats he or she is doomed.  Thankfully, many companies are willing to temporarily take their product off of the market to allow for the necessary research to help determine the cause of this issue.

If you are worried that your dog may be affected by Chinese Jerky Treats please don’t hesitate to contact us or the FDA.  A simple urine test (urinalysis) will be able to show if your pet has Fanconi Syndrome.  In all honesty though, if your pet is not showing any change in clinical signs you shouldn’t worry.  Just try to avoid jerky treats manufactured in China moving forward if possible until this ordeal is worked out.

Welcome to the West Hills Animal Hospital & Emergency Center blog!!

The world of veterinary medicine has changed drastically over the years in many ways.  With the launch of our new website, I am going to start with something that has altered the field of veterinary medicine for both the better and worse; the internet.

Yes, I know this isn’t unique to veterinarians.  Everyone feels the effects of the internet, both good and bad.  What do most people do when they or a family member is diagnosed with a condition? Go to the internet to read about it.  How about when we are showing certain signs or notice a change in the way we feel?  We look up those symptoms up on the internet (The “Self Diagnostician”).

The same thing occurs in the veterinary world; as I know most of you know since many of you reading do the same thing :).  I don’t blame you – I am one of those “Self Diagnosticians” myself.  The internet has so many wonderful sources with a lot of great information; Unfortunately, it also has a lot of faulty information as well.  Be careful with the sources that you read when looking up medical things for both yourself and your pets.  As a client of West Hills, we are always available to discuss your pet’s condition and can give you information from a doctor, not someone who thinks they know about medicine but has no medical training.

The internet has also altered the way we grow our practice.  Remember the days of the Yellow Pages? If you didn’t have an ad in the Yellow Pages, your practice was looked at as being subpar or broke.  Nowadays it’s all about the internet.  A website is one of the most important sources of marketing, as well as online advertising through Google and other search sites.  We are really excited to have worked with an excellent website development company in the veterinary industry to build a customized website that we will be modifying and updating regularly.

Another important thing for us, that I am hoping you could all help out with, is online reviews.  Everyone reads online reviews when searching for anything.  These reviews could have been made up by anyone, but we still go ahead and read them, and allow them to impact our decision on a place.  That being said, I am hoping that you will post an “honest” – and by honest I am hoping positive 🙂 – review about West Hills Animal Hospital & Emergency Center on the internet.  The most visited review sites are:


Google Plus  

City Search 


Insider Pages

Angie’s List 

Lastly, when it comes to marketing, the most important way to grow is good old “Word of Mouth”.  I want to thank you all for helping with that over the years and allowing us to be the practice that we are today.  It is because of you that we are able to be open 24hrs with doctors around the clock, have the most cutting edge technology, and provide the care that we are able to for you and your pet.

Keep your eye out for future posts and feel free to let us know what you think about the website!


Jared Coren, DVM
West Hills Animal Hospital & Emergency Center