Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Medical Mystery Potentially Solved in the Little RV

We've been desperate to figure out what is causing Grant to be sick and itchy.  His tummy has been upset and rumbling so badly we can hear it across the room.  He's been itching like crazy and scratching his head until it bleeds again.  It's awful for him but also frustrating for us.  

A couple of weeks ago after discovering his medication contained corn starch, I made many phone calls to find his prescription medication from a manufacturer who produces it without corn starch.  Grant is allergic to corn.  I found Costco carries two brands without corn starch and I purchased a new 60-day supply.  We replaced the old ones that had corn starch in them that day and started using the new ones.  

I recently learned that an ingredient in many medications and and some probiotics/enzyme products called cellulose is most often made out of corn or soy plants so I checked his new prescription for cellulose and discovered we had again been given a brand with corn starch.  I stopped giving him the medication and called Costco to arrange and exchange for the correct product which I picked up yesterday at no charge.  

On Friday morning Grant threw up and the only thing he had eaten was a chicken jerky treat.  He was itching terribly and making his head bleed again.  At my wits end I started digging up information.  

Grant has been eating the same dog treats for several years.  At the time we discovered his allergies they were the only ones he could have.  The treats are Dogswell brand Chicken Jerky.  To my horror I discovered they are made in China and, as you may have seen on the news, jerky treats made in China are responsible for over 600 deaths of dogs since January.  There are many brands of jerky treats made in China and some of those companies have voluntarily recalled their products but many are still available on the market.  

After reading multiple articles I learned the symptoms caused by these treats can be anything from skin irritation, hives, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, kidney or liver failure and death. 

I'm disgusted that the food that we trust and pay so much for and that is touted as natural and healthy is killing our pets. The FDA cannot nail down the actual source of the problem so they are not recalling the products and they are still out there on the store shelves.  
Grant hasn't had anything to eat except freshly cooked chicken since Friday.  No treats, no medications, no probiotics and he seems much better.  He is still itching but not as badly and there has been no more vomiting. His other tummy symptoms are also improving but not completely resolved.  We're starting slowly with his food and will introduce things a little at a time to see if he reacts. I am hopeful we have finally found the source of his itching and perhaps even his digestive problems.  

Last night Grant was feeling well enough that he wanted to play ball.  Things are looking up!


  1. Poor Grant! That is both scary and hopeful at the same time. Now that you have removed the treats from his diet, hopefully his symptoms will clear up. Thank goodness you discovered it when you did.

  2. OMG! Don't get me started on the made in China treats. Tango was very, very sick during the 2012 summer. We later traced all of his symptoms back to a treat we gave him ALL the time that was made in China. So happy Grant is feeling better! We are very diligent about everything we now feed Tango.