The first thing that I do when looking at a bag of pet treats is turn it over and look for the country of origin. I’m not alone–and not paranoid, as it turns out. A few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration reminded American pet owners about unexplained and sometimes fatal illnesses related to chicken jerky treats imported from China. The FDA and its counterparts around the world have been warning consumers to be alert about jerky-related illnesses since 2007.
While the illness’s cause can be traced to chicken jerky products, scientists can’t figure out why the jerky makes them sick.
Here’s the text of the alert:
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
Remember, no matter what your pet tells you, no treat should ever be a major part of its diet.
FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products [FDA] (via Food Safety News – Thanks, Karter!)