Wingham and Valley vets have recently seen a case of acquired Fanconi syndrome, most likely caused by dog treats purchased at the local supermarket.
A large Australian outbreak of Fanconi syndrome occurred 10 years ago, associated with the feeding of Kramar brand chicken treats made in China. These were subsequently taken off the market and the incidence of cases drastically declined.
However, vets are still seeing cases in dogs that are fed treats made in Thailand, Taiwan or China, with a spike in cases recently that could indicate the start of another outbreak.
What is Fanconi Syndrome?
It is a kidney disease (acquired renal tubulopathy) and is caused by injury to the kidney resulting in glucose in the urine and symptoms of kidney damage including excessive thirst and urination, lethargy and vomiting.
Although many dogs will go on to recover after owners stop feeding the offending treats, some dogs will unfortunately have lifelong renal impairment.
It is very important that it is diagnosed early in the disease course so that exposure to the toxin can stop before the kidneys are damaged irreparably and renal failure results.
What causes Fanconi?
All cases of acquired Fanconi have one thing in common: exposure to chicken treats sourced from Asia. It is suspected that this is due to contamination with melamine, but this hasn’t been proven.
How will you know a specific dog treat is safe?
Only feed treats made in Australia and specifically avoid those manufactured in Asia.
If you are unsure whether your treats are safe, Wingham Valley and Vets say you can bring the packaging in to to them and a vet will look at it for you. Alternatively you can purchase treats from your vet that are known to be safe.