Pet jerky is under FDA investigation for causing illnesses and deaths in various animals, Food Poisoning Bulletin reports. The FDA is working closely with the CDC in a case control study. Exact reasons for the illnesses has escaped any conclusive evidence for the government to come up with.
1,800 deaths and illnesses have been reported since October 22, 2013. Over 4,800 complaints are currently in agency databases dealing mostly with chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats that were imported from China. Pet jerky treats have affected 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and three people. Over 1,000 dogs have died from the incidences.
Symptoms from the report include: "60% gastrointestinal/liver disease, 30% kidney or urinary disease, and the remaining 10% neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms. About 15% of the kidney and urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, which is a rare kidney disease associated with this investigation."
Pet jerky has been investigated by the FDA in several autopsies. 13 out of 26 cases didn't show supporting evidence of deaths resulting from consuming pet jerky treats. The other half isn't ruling out the treats in question; 11 of the dogs had kidney disease and two had GI disease.
In 2012, lower levels of antibiotics were detected in the treats. Jerky treats from China had a presence of the drug amantadine in some of the chicken-flavored products. The FDA approves amantadine, an anti-viral drug safe for use in people. The drug can also be used as a pain reliever in dogs. The FDA doesn't feel, however, that amantadine had anything to do with the illnesses.