Pet Jerky Deaths Baffle FDA; Toll From Chinese Treats Mounts

Image: Pet Jerky Deaths Baffle FDA; Toll From Chinese Treats Mounts Unknown producer batch of jerky strips for dogs.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 08:58 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Pet jerky deaths continue to baffle the Food and Drug Administration which on Friday released an update to its ongoing investigation of the more than 1,000 dog deaths that have occurred since 2007 and been attributed to pet jerky primarily from China.

According to an FDA press release, the agency has received more than 4,800 complaints of illnesses in pets, involving some 5,600 dogs and 24 cats over the past seven years, with approximately 1,800 new complaints having been recorded since last October alone.

Gastrointestinal problems and liver disease are the No. 1 symptoms exhibited by dogs sickened by the pet jerky products, accounting for about 60 percent of cases, while another 30 percent involve kidney or urinary diseases and the remaining 10 percent involve various complaints including neurological and skin conditions, NBC News reported.

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"The agency continues to caution pet owners that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet and encourage them to consult with their veterinarians, both prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets," the FDA said in their statement.

Among the products the FDA warns against are those made with chicken, duck or sweet potato.

In addition to affecting dogs, three people who consumed the treats also became ill, two of whom were toddlers who reportedly consumed the pet treat by accident.

According to FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey, one child was subsequently diagnosed with a salmonella infection while the other suffered from a fever and gastrointestinal illness similar to symptoms exhibited by canines that ate the toxic treats. The adult had a headache and nausea after eating the treat, NBC News reported.

While the source of the illnesses stems from jerky products made in China, U.S. companies that use Chinese-made products are also potentially dangerous to one's pet even though such products are labeled "Made in the USA," Fox News noted.

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