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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Problems With Broth?

Here's a letter from reader "M",

First I will apologize for the long email, as my husband tells me frequently that I have alot to say.
We have 3 wonderful Boston Terriers, ages 5, 4, and approximately 3 years old (this one is a guesstimate, he's a rescue!).  All 3 are on Banfield's wellness program and have been since 8 weeks of age for my 5 and 4 year old, and since we have had our rescue, almost 2 years.  Their diet consist of Nutro Natural Small Breed and for the past couple of months, adding Blue Buffalo Small Breed, for variety. I use a little canned food (same brands) on their kibble as well.  I decided about a month ago to stop giving them store bought treats (pupperoni, beggin strips, dingo dental sticks and chicken sticks) after scaring myself to pieces reading internet reviews on different treats.  We still do the dentastix as our Banfield vet recommended them for their teeth. What I have done once a week for the past month is purchased SAMs boneless chicken breast (they are very large breast) in about a 5 lb pack, cut all the "ooey" out, cooked them for about 3 hours on 375 then in the food dehydrator for an hour or so to make homemade jerky.  They love it!  Poops have been normal, no other problems.
I just realized the package says the breast are injected or enhanced with broth.
Now I am concerned about the ingredients in the broth. I don't have the package but I would imagine it contains salt.  My 4 year old baby girl weighs 12 pounds and today she has not eaten and vomited white foam (empty tummy?).  My other 2 are boys, 27 pounds and 24 pounds.  They have not had any problems. We are out of town but I will get to SAMs immediately when we get home to check the ingredients.  I am concerned this might be related to the chicken jerky.  She hasn't had any today but it has been their main source for treats for the past month.  Of course I will continue to watch her and get her to a local vet if an emergency arises and the nearest Banfield is a little over an our away from where we are now.  My question is could I have made my babies sick using chicken breast enhanced with broth?   I understand without knowing the contents of the broth, you may not want to comment, but I would appreciate any help!

Yes, without knowing the contents of the broth it is a bit difficult to make an assessment.  However, if there was a real problem with the home-made jerky I would expect it to affect all of your pets relatively equally, despite the size difference.  It would also be more likely to have caused vomiting or diarrhea shortly after using it rather than after a month or more.  With your cooking method I wouldn't expect any bacteria to still be present, but salmonella contamination is a reason why mass-produced chicken jerky has been recalled a few times.  If this is something that persists, absolutely have your girl examined by a vet right away.  If the other dogs become affected, I would recommend talking to your vet about having the jerky tested for bacteria.

In general this kind of treat isn't a concern to me.  However, anything made at home needs to be processed carefully and all of the ingredients analyzed.  Humans and dogs have somewhat similar physiologies, but there are also significant differences.  Some things that are safe for one species aren't safe for another, and without proper knowledge you can't easily make that assumption.  When in doubt about something be sure to check with your own vet.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Our Pets See Us

I saw this on Facebook a few days ago, and felt that it was very appropriate.  While humorous, I think it does illustrate (no pun intended) the differences between dogs and cats.  We like different pets for different reasons.  My family has two dogs, three cats, a bearded dragon, a Guinea pig, a rat, and a betta.  So we have quite a variety of perceptions and experiences!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

Has it really been three weeks since I posted?  Yikes!  No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, and yes, I'm doing just fine, thanks.  Chalk it up to lots of events and activities over the last few weeks combined with a bit of a lack of motivation to blog.  But let's try to get back on track!

Recently an email came through my inbox about a new study on Golden Retrievers in the US.  The study is open to just about anyone with a dog of this breed and is interesting because it will follow the participants for their entire lives.  Here's a description of the reasoning for the study....

More than half of Golden Retrievers die from cancer, and it is the leading cause of death in all dogs over the age of 2. By participating, you will help scientists:
  • Identify ways in which genetics, environment and diet may affect a dog's risk for cancer
  • Determine risk factors for other major health disorders in Golden Retrievers
  • Learn how to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and other canine diseases
  • Improve the health of future generations of Golden Retrievers and help create a healthier tomorrow for all dogs

The study is being supported by the Morris Animal Foundation, a well-known non-profit organization.

If you'd like more details, click below.

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study