Jerky treats are killing dogs
In a new consumer alert, the FDA says 3,600 dogs and 10 cats across the U.S. have been sickened after eating jerky pet treats since 2007. Of those, nearly 600 pets have died.
Experts at the FDA’s for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) suspect the tainted treats have their origin in China and have made onsite visits to manufacturers to run tests in hopes of finding the source of the problem. However, no conclusions have been reached, FDA officials said.
“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. in a statement. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”
To help solve the mystery, the FDA is looking to pet owners to provide helpful information. Fact sheets have been sent to veterinarians so they can alert their patients about the problem. The fact sheets include instructions on how to report jerky-related illnesses and how veterinarians can provide blood and urine samples to aid in the investigation.
After eating the poisonous treats, pets may exhibit lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst. In the worst cases, they may experience kidney failure, internal bleeding and convulsions, FDA officials said.
Consumers should be on the lookout for treats sold as “jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit.” A majority of the suspect treats are made in China. The FDA notes that makers of pet foods are not required by U.S. law to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.
The FDA reminds pet owners that treats are not essential for a pet’s diet and can be avoided altogether. If any symptoms are present after eating treats, owners should see their veterinarian and save the remaining product for FDA testing.
“Our fervent hope as animal lovers,” says Dunham, “is that we will soon find the cause of—and put a stop to—these illnesses.”
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