Acquired proximal renal tubulopathy in dogs exposed to a common dried chicken treat: retrospective study of 108 cases (2007–2009)

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Proximal renal tubulopathy was reported in Australian dogs with markedly increased frequency from September 2007.


Two veterinarian-completed surveys were launched in response to an increased incidence of acquired proximal renal tubulopathy in dogs. The selection criterion for inclusion was glucosuria with blood glucose <10 mmol/L. Data collected included signalment, presenting signs, history of feeding treats, results of urinalysis and blood tests, treatment and time to resolution of clinical signs.


A total of 108 affected dogs were studied. All had been fed the same brand of dried chicken treats, made in China, for a median of 12 weeks (range, 0.3–78 weeks). Small breeds (<10 kg) accounted for 88% of cases. Common presenting signs included polyuria/polydipsia (76%), lethargy (73%), inappetence (65%) and vomiting (54%). Common biochemical findings included euglycaemia (74%; 71/96), hypoglycaemia (23%; 22/96), acidosis (77%; 20/26), hypokalaemia (45%; 38/84), hypophosphataemia (37%; 28/75) and azotaemia (27%; 23/85). In addition to discontinuation of treats, 64 dogs received medical treatment, including intravenous fluids (52%) and oral electrolyte, amino acid or vitamin supplements. Six dogs died or were euthanased. Two dogs were necropsied. Histopathological findings consisted of proximal tubular necrosis accompanied by regeneration. Time to resolution of clinical signs in 35 survivors available for follow-up was <2 weeks (n = 8), 2–4 weeks (n = 2), 5–7 weeks (n = 5) and 2–6 months (n = 10).


Of the 108 dogs with acquired proximal renal tubulopathy contemporaneous with chicken treat consumption, most survived but many required aggressive supportive care. The treats likely contained a toxin targeting the proximal renal tubules. Diet history and urinalysis were vital for diagnosis.

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