Don't buy anything made from Chinese meat (especially the Chinese-sourced jerky) and throw away what you have from this our other suspect brands, but there is no need to panic. As far as renal failure goes, a change in urination habits is the first sign (accidents in the house, whining to go outside more than usual, drinking a lot) and frankly, something that you should always see a vet for anyway.
And to people worrying about the nutritional profile of Milkbones and the like: unless your dog has a pre-existing condition like diabetes or a gluten allergy, don't worry about it. Just like having chips now and again isn't going to make you sick, neither is a few treats every so often. They have ingredients like sugar, salt, and spices (none of which are bad on their own in moderation) to make them tasty and something a little "different" than their regular food. They're not horrible for them, but they're not meant to be nutritionally balanced, they're meant to be tasty-- just like your own snacks. Moderation is the key here! Lots of calories and few nutrients, so only an occasional thing
The FDA's position is they will not implicate nor recall products until a specific contaminant has been identified. The agency maintains chicken jerky treat samples have been tested for drugs, poisons, mycotoxins, heavy metals and certain chemicals, yet the problem remains a mystery.
But while the FDA seems content to remain clueless about what's causing the problem, pet owners and veterinarians in the U.S., Canada and Australia have their own suspicions. These include:
Ongoing melamine contamination
Irradiation of ingredients in jerky treats
An as-yet unidentified chemical preservative
Diethyelene glycol (a toxin)
Symptoms to look for:
Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), increased thirst and/or urination, and decreased activity.
Symptoms appear within a few hours to days after a dog eats the chicken jerky treats. Pets who become severely ill or have symptoms lasting more than 24 hours should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Blood tests may show markers for kidney failure. Urinalysis may point to acquired Fanconi syndrome.
Fortunately, most sick dogs have fully recovered, however, an increasing number of deaths are also being reported.