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Pet Jerky Treats Could Cause Illness or Death

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is issuing a Consumer Update alerting about jerky pet treats making pets sick or even killing them.  As of September 24, 2013,  the FDA has received reports about jerky pet-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. Approximately 580 of these pets have died. The treats are sold as jerky tenders or strips and are made with chicken. duck, sweet potato, dried fruit, and in combinations of the above.  Most of the implicated jerky treats have been made in China.  U. S. law does not require manufacturers of pet food to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their product.
Within hours of eating jerky treats, some pets have exhibited decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption, and/or increased urination.  Other symptoms involve collapse, convulsions, and skin issues. Severe cases involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder.
The FDA has conducted more than 1,200 tests, inspected manufacturers in China, and collaborated  with others. However, the exact cause of the illnesses is not yet known.  So now the FDA is reaching out to veterinarians and pet owners for additional data.
In January 2013, a number of jerky pet treat products were removed from the market after a New York State lab reported finding evidence of up to six (6) drugs in certain jerky pet treats made in China. While the levels of these drugs were low and  the FDA thought it unlikely that the drugs caused the illnesses, the FDA noted a decrease in reports of jerky-suspected illnesses after the products were removed from the market. The FDA believes that the number of reports decreased simply because fewer jerky treats were available on the market.
The FDA has advised pet owners to be cautious about providing jerky treats.  Treats are just that and are not essential to a balanced diet for your pet.
If you do provide  jerky treats to your pet and they  become sick, stop the treats immediately, take your pet to the  veterinarian, and save any remaining treats and the packaging for possible testing. The FDA in conjunction with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation Response Network are testing samples of jerky pet treats. The  FDA recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating jerky treats hold on to any remaining portions of the product in its original container for at least 60 days, in case FDA calls to request samples for testing. Owners should place the container inside a sealable plastic bag, if possible. For a summary of the test results, click here.

FDA says jerky treats making pets sick


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About The Author

Picture of Leslie A. Goller

Leslie A. Goller

Leslie has dedicated her career to championing consumers – whether they were harmed by big corporations, dangerous products, medical mistakes, accidents, or an unsafe environment – no issue is too big for her to tackle. She successfully prevented an incinerator from being built at University Hospital (now UF-Jacksonville), which would have polluted the air with toxic chemicals and obtained significant restrictions of other Jacksonville hospital incinerators resulting in cleaner air.