Jerky treats are being linked to the death of more than 1,000 dogs according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The federal agency asserts that approximately 5,000 complaints about pets becoming ill due to the toxic jerky treats have been reported in the last seven years. According to a Fox News report on Monday, the majority of the illnesses’ symptoms from Beef Jerky have included gastrointestinal and liver disease and approximately one-third of the illnesses being linked to urinary and kidney disease.
Additional illnesses include about ten percent of the pets having neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms. Some 15 percent of the kidney and urinary disease cases involved the pets testing positive for Fanconi syndrome. Fanconi is a rare kidney disease that is associated with deaths of pets.
Most of the reported cases of illnesses and deaths in pets after consuming jerky happened after the pets had consumed chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats that were imported from China. Yet, the FDA says it is still not sure of the specific causes of the illnesses and deaths.
Though the FDA has not issued a recall on any specific brands of the jerky treats, it is advised that dog owners read the labels of whatever foods they give pets. Pet owners should always be aware of what they are buying and where it originates from. Of course, also of concern is that even when something is made in the United States, it could still contain ingredients that were sourced from China and other countries throughout the world.
In 2007 when the issue first arose, Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers, made by Del Monte, as well as Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, made by Nestle Purina, were voluntarily taken off the store shelves. However, at that time, the FDA did not issue a recall. The agency said that it didn’t want to recall the products without a definitive cause for the illnesses and deaths.
The FDA is joining forces with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to try to come up with answers to the concerns. They are trying to figure out what foods, specifically, are causing the pets to become diseased. It is hoped that a study which compares foods eaten by sick dogs to foods eaten by dogs that haven’t become ill will determine if the jerky is, in fact, the cause of the illnesses and deaths. For now, the FDA is cautioning pet owners that jerky pet treats are not a necessity for a balanced diet. Also, if a pet has any signs of sickness – including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy – a veterinarian should be informed immediately.