cat-book.gif (137497 bytes)cat-book-l.jpg (4482 bytes)

Greenies: A safe or deadly treat?
From Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

Action Alerts

           
Join the compassion parade to help stop cruelty to our fellow beings. 
Your letters and calls do help!

Greenies: A safe or deadly treat?

Denise Flaim
Animal House

December 19, 2005

It is the nation's top-selling dog treat, with $315 million in domestic retail sales last year.

It is so beloved by dogs that amused owners have a nickname for it - doggie crack.

And it is the reason, contend Michael Eastwood and Jennifer Reiff of Manhattan, that their miniature dachshund, Burt, is no longer alive.

On July 22, as she'd done regularly for the past year and a half, Reiff gave the 4-year-old rescue dog his Greenies treat. The next day, Burt was on an operating table, where vets removed three feet of necrotic intestine and what looked like a soft foamy green mass.

Two days later, Burt was dead.

The couple says S&M NuTec of North Kansas City, Mo., the manufacturer of Greenies, sent an e-mail expressing sadness for their loss, and offered to pay the almost $6,600 in medical bills as well as $2,000, the estimated purchase price for a mini-dachsie like Burt. In return, Eastwood and Reiff would have to sign a confidentiality agreement and agree not to pursue legal action.

"That incensed us even more," says Eastwood, who along with Reiff has filed a $5 million lawsuit, charging that Greenies are "unsafe, inadequately labeled" and ultimately caused Burt's death.

Invented by a couple plagued by their dog's chronic bad breath, toothbrush-shaped Greenies are marketed as "multifunctional dental treats" that, when used daily, reduce tartar by 62 percent and gingivitis by 33 percent. The company stresses that owners feed the correct size Greenies for their dog's weight and follow the feeding guidelines, which say the treats should not be fed to dogs who "gulp."

(For toy breeds, young puppies and the chew-averse, the company developed Greenies Lil' Bits. It also recently unveiled Feline Greenies for cats.)

Eastwood counters that Burt did not choke on his Greenie and was always supervised when consuming the treat. "The Greenie was a foreign object in his intestines."

S&M NuTec declined to comment on the litigation but disputes there is any problem with the treat's digestibility.

"The digestibility testing that we have with Greenies shows them to be more digestible than the average dry dog food when adequately chewed ... " reads the company's e-mailed statement. "If a dog swallows a large piece of Greenies, or a whole treat, the digestion process will be extended because of the decrease of treat surface area to digestive liquids and stomach action."

Veterinarian Brendan McKiernan of Wheat Ridge, Colo., a board-certified internist, disagrees. "They don't dissolve in the stomach," he says. "When we take them out, they're not digested. And they are causing both esophageal and intestinal problems in dogs to an extent that is concerning."

S&M NuTec says Greenies obstructions are "rare," with most caused by improperly following feeding instructions.

But McKiernan believes incidents are underreported. Earlier this year, at a meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a group of gastroenterologists discussed obstructions caused by "compressed vegetable chew treats" such as Greenies. By an informal show of hands, he says, "a significant number said, 'Hey, we have problems.'"

Concerned about such cases in his own practice, McKiernan set out to study reports of obstructions from 1999 to 2004 in the Veterinary Medical Database, which records cases from two dozen vet schools.

The results, outlined in a multi-authored article soon to be submitted to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that, after bones and fish hooks, compressed vegetable chew treats were the third-most-common culprit in obstructions.

McKiernan notes that the cases mostly involved small dogs.

But big dogs have their issues with compressed vegetable chew treats, too. Elaine Gewirtz of Westlake Village, Calif., says she fed Greenies to her Dalmatians and "never had problems" - until Jimmy went to live with her daughter and started getting more than his usual ration.

The 5-year-old Dal had three bouts of unexplained vomiting. As Gerwirtz walked him outside the vet's office that last time, "he vomited, and there was all this green stuff.

"I really think it's hit or miss," Gerwirtz says, noting that voracious chewers like Jimmy may be prone to problems. Still, she no longer gives her dogs Greenies.

It's a decision that Eastwood wishes he had been given the opportunity to make.

"We always felt if this product had fair warning and fair labeling," he concludes, "we would never have put our dog in harm's way."

WRITE TO Denise Flaim, c/o Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250, or e-mail
denise.flaim@newsday.com . For previous columns, www.newsday.com/animalhouse

Copyright (c) 2005, Newsday, Inc.
 

| Home Page |
| Newsletter Directory |
| Action Alerts |
| Poetry |
| Subscription Information |
| Links |

Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane Ljbeane1@aol.com


If you do not normally receive this e-mail newsletter and would like to in the future, send email to Ljbeane1@aol.com  and write SUBSCRIBE in the subject.

dog_beg_md_blk.gif (2916 bytes)dog_bark_md_blk.gif (5011 bytes)If you would like to be removed from the email list, write UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject and mail to Ljbeane1@aol.com

Animals In Print provides a free newsletter for responsible animal rights advocacy.  There is no expressed or implied endorsement by Animals In Print staff of articles, stories, petitions or reported activities.  We exist to educate and motivate you to do all within your power to help end animal abuse and spread compassion.

dog_hydrant_md_blk.gif (16964 bytes)dog_drinking_toilet_sm_blk.gif (7103 bytes)Permission granted to post, reprint, forward or use any or all contents of newsletter, Animals In Print. Credit Animals In Print, http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/  

**COPYRIGHT NOTICE** In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html ]

All of the beliefs, ideas, and actions presented in this publication may not necessarily represent all those held by The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation, who host and maintain this site, and who seek only peaceful means of achieving a cruelty free society and unconditional love and compassion toward the whole of God's creation.

catrun.gif (9101 bytes)

Animals in Print - A Newsletter concerned with: advances, alerts, animal, animals, attitude, attitudes, beef, cat, cats, chicken, chickens, compassion, consciousness, cows, cruelty, dairy, dog, dogs, ecology, egg, eggs, education, empathy, empathize, empathise, environment, ethics, experiment, experiments, factory, farm, farms, fish, fishing, flesh, food, foods, fur, gentleness, health, human, humans, non-human, hunting, indifference, intelligent, intelligence, kindness, lamb, lambs, liberation, medical, milk, natural, nature, newsletters, pain, pig, pigs, plant, plants, poetry, pork, poultry, research, rights, science, scientific, society, societies, species, stories, study, studies, suffering, test, testing, trapping, vegetable, vegetables, vegan, veganism, vegetarian, vegetarianism, water, welfare (d-17)


This site is hosted and maintained by:
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.
Since date.gif (991 bytes)