NBC News on Wednesday reported that nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an ongoing, mysterious outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China.
The Food and Drug Administration is asking pet owners for help in solving a mysterious outbreak of illnesses related to jerky treats.The treats in question are sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit. The FDA also issued letters to veterinary clinics across the country urging them to spread the word to pet owners and send in any materials that might help with the investigation.
About 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have been sickened in the U.S. since 2007 with jerky-related illnesses, resulting in the deaths of 580 pets. Brands affected include:
- Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Waggin Train
- Canyon Creek Ranch treats,
- Del Monte Corp.’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and
- Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats
A number of chicken jerky products were removed from the market in January 2013 after a New York State lab reported finding evidence of up to six drugs in certain jerky pet treats made in China, including antibiotics. However, FDA officials don’t think that antibiotic residue is the big problem that has stumped the agency since 2007, when pet owners started reporting their animals were suffering gastrointestinal and kidney problems after eating the popular jerky treats.
The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has run more than 1,200 tests, visited pet treat manufacturing plants in China and worked with researchers, state labs and foreign governments but hasn't determined the exact cause of the illness, the FDA statement said.
"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," Bernadette Dunham, a veterinarian and head of the FDA vet medicine center, said in the statement.
Symptoms observed within hours of eating the treats include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, increased water consumption and increased urination, the agency said. Severe cases have involved kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding, the FDA said.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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