At the beginning of April, MSNBC reported that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors have traveled to China to inspect plants that make the chicken jerky treats that we’ve been talking a lot about over the last few months. According to the article:

Staffers for Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, confirmed Wednesday that Food and Drug Administration officials were conducting the inspections.

"Based on our ongoing discussions with the FDA, we are expecting important new information soon," Vic Edgerton, a spokesman for Kucinich said in an email to

It’s not clear exactly how many inspectors are involved or which plants the officials will visit as they attempt to solve the mystery behind at least 600 reports of illnesses including abrupt kidney failure after dogs have been fed chicken jerky treats made in China.

FDA officials declined to comment on the inspections.

Fingers crossed that this trip will be the key that unlocks the mystery behind this tragic and ongoing problem.

Now for some good news…

A veterinary clinic here in Northern Colorado has been named the Accredited Practice of the Year for 2012 by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). In other words, it’s the best of the best.

To earn accreditation from AAHA, veterinary practices have to follow rigorous guidelines regarding more than 900 standards, in categories such as:

  • anesthesia
  • client services
  • contagious diseases
  • continuing education
  • dentistry
  • diagnostic imaging
  • emergency and critical care
  • facilities
  • housekeeping/maintenance
  • human resources
  • laboratory services
  • leadership
  • being eco-friendly
  • medical records
  • pain management
  • all aspects of patient care
  • pharmacy services
  • referral standards
  • safety
  • surgery

AAHA accredited practices are inspected every two to four years to make sure they continue to maintain their high-standards. Only about 15 percent of veterinary practices have achieved AAHA accreditation.

Being named the Accredited Practice of the Year was a huge achievement for the Wellington Veterinary Clinic. What I like best about this story is that Wellington, CO is a small town — population around 5,000 or so. Just goes to show that top-notch veterinary care isn’t limited to big cities; good vets can be found anywhere.

I have heard nothing but rave reviews regarding the veterinarians and staff of the Wellington Veterinary Clinic from the clients and patients I have in common with them. Most recently, I was visiting a rural area about 20 miles or so from Wellington, performing an in-home euthanasia for a dog that had extreme hind-end weakness and difficulty walking. I commented to the owner on how good her dog looked — at a healthy weight, well-groomed, etc. — despite her problems, and she mentioned that one of the clinic’s staff-members had been traveling to her house regularly to trim the dog’s nails, since it was so difficult for her to get the dog into the clinic and she wasn’t able to do it herself. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty.

I hope all of you are lucky enough to have a clinic like this one close to your home.


Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Monika Wisniewska / via Shutterstock