The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) today released a progress report on their look at pet jerky treats - primarily from China.
Numerous complaints have been turned into the FDA over recent years about pet health problems associated with jerky treats. Most of these treats have been chicken meat and many with a Chinese origin. Over 3000 illness complaints had been turned in by September 24 of this year. This complaints covered chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats. while most cases touched on pet illnesses, more than 580 deaths were also included. Most of the cases involved dogs but a few cats were included.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found low levels of antibiotic residues in jerky treats back in January 2013. This led to a recall of many products and reduced the number of complaints - due to the decreased availability of the treats. The FDA will continue to look at antibiotic residues as well as other factors for the ongoing problem with these treats.
In a letter to veterinarians, the FDA encourages veterinarians to report any illnesses that may be associated with jerky treats. They emphasize looking at liver and kidney values as well as checking urinalyses on affected pets. Research is looking at chemical, compositional, microbial and radiation possibilities as the cause of the illnesses. Pet owners are also encouraged to report any signs of illness in their pets who have eaten jerky treats. Signs of illness may include vomiting, diarrhea or kidney problems. It is important that you have package information such as lot numbers when you report a problem. Treat samples may also be requested for testing.
Ideally, most pet owners should simply stop feeding jerky treats unless they are home made. Once a definitive report is done and research identifies the culprit, leading to resolution of the problem, these popular treats may be fed again.